Saturday, March 23, 2019

Blogging From A to Z Challenge April 2019 - Theme Reveal

This is the grand theme reveal everyone! This year, the Blogging from A to Z Challenge April 2019 is a commemoration of my love for the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yesss! I am doing the Potterific A to Z this year. I have a feeling this theme is going to be somewhat permanent. 
So basically I'd be doing an alphabet a day and the blog entry will be a tribute, discussion, show and tell, or another take on a person, phenomenon, creature, or object from the wizarding world. I intend to run this on Instagram and Twitter as well and catch the attention of Potterheads in the cybersphere.
Joining me is my partner in crime, sister dearest --- Sara. Her blog's Sara Writes.
And --- as Sara puts it:
"It'll be POTTERIFIC!!! It'll be FANTABULOUS!!! It'll be MAGICAL!!!"
Me ---
I am doing Potterific A to Z to keep my sanity afloat (whatever is left of it, I must say).
The index down below will populate and links will come to life as I take one day at a time at the A to Z Challenge. Topics may change as we march onward, but the theme remains magical! 

A for Accio Potterheads
B for Butterbeer
C for 
D for Deathly Hallows
E for Expecto Patronum
F for Felix Felicis
G for Gellert Grindelwald
H for Hogwarts
I for 
J for 
K for Knight Bus
L for 
M for Marauders
N for Newt Scamander
O for 
P for 
Q for Quidditch
R for Room of Requirements
S for Severus Snape
T for Time Turner
U for Ukrainian Ironbelly
V for Voldemort
W for Weasleys Wizard Wheezes
X for 
Y for 
Z for

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring Mayhem: A State of Mind, Riding With Unicorns, & Spring Bucket List

Welcome Spring! I am not sure what I feel about this season this year. Chaos is king at the moment. Dementors are at loose. I am at Azkaban! The mania of daily life's rut is just incredible. The Spring forward did me some good and spared me a wee bit of time to attend to bathroom needs at the very least. I am surely being driven insane.
Annnnnnnnnnyway --- Tis the time to tackle the outdoors. Oh, and time to send my tenants Spring care notices. Why? Because somebody might nuke the grass if they put fertilizer in at the wrong time, someone might be alien to garden hose leaks, and someone may ignore a clogged rain gutter. *FACEPALM.


First things first ... let's look at that ensemble I put together. I am a hardcore Potterhead, and this year I am incorporating that into all aspects of my blog. It's a lifestyle now, hope you get the picture. So I started with my most loved accessory - the Quidditch watch. I cannot talk enough about it! --- must do a review on this note ---  The hydrangea in the photo is artificial a.k.a. FAKE! I have no green thumb, I killed a hydrangea last year! I have this tiny little doubt that I should not have listened to the gardner when he said 'plant it in the ground'. I should have kept it potted. The ground KILLED it! --- Then, I am showing off my Time Turner in the ensemble. That's from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter itself. It has to do with the Spring Forward. There's a chocolate there because I keep eating, and the Honeydukes Sherbet Lemons of course in spirit of the season. 


The way life's been ... I do not wish to make heavy duty plans because I am that little hamster going bonkers in a crazy hamster wheel. The wheel's pretty much out of control at the moment. Keeping the bucket list simple then ... 


Explaining the bucket list a little bit. I do not intend to make any sense this season. I'd be riding with the unicorns. The idea is to attempt and do a lighter take on life. Currently, I have to figure out how. I'd consult the Nargles on this one. National Poetry Writing Month is April and I'd be doing my Letters & Pieces poetry collection again this year. Potterific A to Z is another blogging project Sara and I are doing together. We'd be blogging daily, A through Z, on topics from Harry Potter of course. Ramadan is right ahead, starting in May. I'd be writing some crafty Ramadan Diaries. Chalkboard art is another little Spring-y project on the artsy menu. There's a whole lot more I wanted to do but I'd rather not put it on a bucket list in case it stays incomplete. 

Wishing happy Spring vibes. 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Introducing Potterhead Chronicles #PotterChron


Let us begin by talking about the Harry Potter fandom and how I was pulled into the wizarding world. I officially became a Potterhead in 1999, exactly 20 years from now, when the Prisoner of Azkaban was published. Of course, little did the world know that the wizarding world would evolve as a parallel universe for fans around the globe (now called Potterheads!). The third book had taken bookstores in London by a storm and my father happened to run into the bestseller phenomenon while on a work trip. He bought The Philosopher's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, and The Prisoner of Azkaban, and the young adult world's most brilliant literary masterpiece made it to my hands in Karachi city where I lived at the time. 

In 1999, the literature scene in Karachi was beginning to prosper, but the gems of the book world were limited to exclusive book stores. We were still alien to book launches and literary fandoms like today's times. So, only true booklovers got a whiff of J.K. Rowling's magic. I lived in a painfully Muggle world with no friends to share the joy of being a witch! Yes, I had converted to one and carried a Hogwarts crest sketch in my wallet. *Salute* I was a nerdy thirteen year old that found everything in Rowling's magical fantasy world. There was friendship, acceptance, adventure, bravery, and a sense of belongingness in every volume.

Most certainly I was front and center when the cinematic debut Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) was announced in 2000. Nobody among my friends knew about the books and the "crazy cornerstone" of the class became "the girl who knew" Harry Potter.


Life hit me square in the face --- "Dementor! Dementor!" --- with academic and personal complications! I left off my reading after getting through with The Order of the Phoenix as I dived with all blood and guts to find the right career choice, fight a very corrupt education system (one too many Dolores Umbridges!), change some major life goals, and deal with body issues and emotional catastrophes (social bullying, family drama, dishonest relationships). I remained true to the fandom though and watched all the movies as they hit the CDs. Sara, my sister, read through the rest of the books and kept me updated with the progression of the story. 

And then, as if I found my Patronus! Life changed as quick as the flip of a coin! I finished business school and finally moved to my home on the East Coast (Maryland) in the United States in 2010. It was a golden strike of fate because Universal opened the gates to the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter right there on the East Coast in Orlando, Florida! I took it as a sign of sheer good luck! But it was not until the Thanksgiving break of next year (2011) when we finally set foot into the place of our dreams. I embarked on a 'Business school MBA degree' rollercoaster ride meanwhile.


Sara and I began the Potterhead adventures in our new lives with The Harry Potter Exhibition in New York City! Memories were made. We knew this was the life that had been waiting for us! Finally, for Sara's 21st birthday we headed to the Wizarding World together for the first time and cried magical, emotional tears upon seeing the Hogwarts Express (engine only! at Hogsmeade's entrance). Ever since then we returned every year to the cobbled stone streets, the towering Hogwarts castle, and (adding to the magic) the Diagon Alley and the majestic, fiery Ukranian Ironbelly breathing fire on top of Gringotts Bank! As we grew, the parks grew, the fandom grew, and the Wizarding World became the utopian parallel universe every Potterhead became proud of co-existing in.


By 2016, we had both graduated - Sara from business school and me from my MBA - and we had settled into our professional lives as newbie business ladies as well. It was time to embrace the Potterhead madness full on, with nothing pulling me! It was time to embrace the Potterhead phenomenon and incorporate it into every aspect of our lives. We went on a mad shopping spree and Potter-ified our lifestyles.

Today, Sara and I call ourselves the female equivalent of the Weasley twins. Hand in hand, we have visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter more than 4 times already! We've shared numerous frozen Butterbeers, cried insane tears upon revisiting our magical universe, and continue to collect the Harry Potter merch. Our rooms are Wizarding World shrines, our wearables boast HP pride, and our only dream now is to own an independent home that we can decorate along Potterhead madness (eyes on the Pottery Barn home decor line!). Today, those who know us know that we are serious Potterheads! We make heads turn with our HP outfits and wearables at Universal! Potterheads approach us often, in malls and grocery stores, because we wear our pride.


Sara and I have decided to take our madness a step forward and add to the creative expression. Potterhead Chronicles are now being tweeted at @PotterChron. It is a profile separate from our individual accounts as bloggers: @theabbies and @sara_allie We're both hobby bloggers and we blog about Harry Potter a lot. 

POTTERCHRON GOALS

  • Engage with Potterheads anywhere, and everywhere on social media, and make friends.
  • Share Wizarding World news, and stay up to date with it as well.
  • Share our Potterhead lifestyle and celebrate our love for the Wizarding World.
  • Introduce blogging / social media prompts, trends, and tags.
Follow @PotterChron on Twitter!
Follow #PotterheadChronicles on Instagram!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

POTTERHEAD CHRONICLES: New Year, New Tradition, New Loot, New Ride! Oh My Owl!

♫ Dun-Dun Dun-Dun Cha!♫ --- that is the BEST way to bring in 2019. The magnificent entry. The video is hilarious by the way. Check out Eddie Redmayne flunk James Cordan in the Wizarding Test. Ha! It went as great as the MVA driving tests! Sara and I can't get over the ♫ Dun-Dun Dun-Dun Cha!♫ --- It's become our official musical score! 

The New Year Tradition was honored. Chocolate Frog was broken to shards. It came from the 2017-2018 escape trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The wizard card is Hengist of Woodcroft the founder of Hogsmeade. Last year we wanted to start this tradition but figured our frog had expired. And little did we know that it was still good because it was simply Belgian chocolate - we had thrown it away! --- God! --- 2019 is dedicated to the memory of that lost frog. Cheers!
OH MY GOD! I went as wild as the Ukranian Ironbelly dragon on top of Gringotts Bank at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when Hot Topic's Hot Cash season was announced open! Seriously! Like "tie me in chains so I don't lose control" kind of wild. Some incredibly fantastic tees had been launched and I was waiting for the right hour to strike! BONG! It struck! It was the Hot Cash hour! It is difficult to say which one I like best because they are ALL SO GOOD! --- It was a tad bit disappointing when the loot arrived because they're imported from another country and the makers got sizes wrong, and the prints with photographs (the Grand Staircase, etc) were fuzzy --- And, when we went back to the store for exchanges, they didn't process them because of online purchase so we are stuck with super loose tee's --- We returned the Grand Staircase and Honeydukes jar explosion ones for the fuzzy print --- The Knight Bus, Love Potion stayed because they're text vector graphics that were printed well! 
Snowstorm Gia was the PERFECT opportunity to fulfill that Potterhead style snowman bit from the Winter Bucket List. Sara and I headed outdoors to build our Gryffindor snow people. The fatty on the left is Sara's Luna and the Turkish style lady on the right is mine and she earned the name Queenie. 
On our Mall Day, Sara and I did the customary Hot Topic round but didn't find much on the shelves. We were about to leave when we saw CLEARANCE and CLOSEOUT signs at the nextdoor F.Y.E. outlet. We remembered seeing some HP merch there some months ago so Sara suggested we take a look. OH MY GOD! The entire Mina Lima collection was on Clearance Sale for $1. Yes! 100 cents for a boxed set of a 100+ Mina Lima postcards. There were also Weasley's Wizard Wheezes pin badges and a tote bag. We were STUNNED to see the $1 sign. It was not believable so Sara suggested I question the dudes behind the counter. "Yes! Please! They are all $1, please take them all." One of the dudes said. I went into OH GOD! OH GOD! OH GOD! mode! ---
  
Universal has spilled the beans! I nearly leaped out of my seat in my chiropractic's waiting lounge! It IS Hagrid's bike afterall! The new coaster at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is Hagrid's bike and it will be featuring his magical creatures! So, they haven't done anything to move the Flight of the Hippogriff coaster that loops around Hagrid's Hut - thank God! So, what route is this bike taking, flying just next to Hogwarts. I can sense the Forbidden Forest in the game, but well --- it could always be more crazy! They're saying that "Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, Universal’s most highly themed coaster opens June 13, 2019." What I can't understand is the building featured on the ride's route. What is that? --- Until more deets are revealed, Sara and I are deciding who sits on the bike and who sits in the buggy next to the bike. And how strapped is the bike going to be? *gulp* We are not rollercoaster-friendly and would appreciate a "human" speed.

Potterhead Chronicles will be back ...

Sunday, February 17, 2019

FOOD JOURNALS: JANUARY FEBRUARY 2019 "Hustling"

2019 started with Starbucks Coffee welcoming me back home from my Arabian adventures. These hot chocolates were the first drinks Sara and I got *raises toasts* as we emerged from Arrivals. There’s a Starbucks everywhere, there was one in Madinah opposite Masjid Al Nabawi (Grand mosque of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and his progeny), and one in Makkah inside the Abraj Al Bayt Mall in the Royal Clocktower. But when I came home and I see it here it is MINE.
On coming back, everyone was jet lagged, sick, & hibernating. I was the cave woman out to get forage , fix the fire and get stuff ready! Phew! It took a super long while for Sara to get well and start doing her share!
So I got a lot of Hershey's. Not my fault. Too much creative innovation happening at Hershey's in the Kisses department and I felt compelled to appreciate their efforts. Haha! Out of the two offerings: Cherry and Lava Cake, I am a bit biased towards Cherry. Lava Cake is AMAZING!!! But there is something about fruity and chocolate together that is a win win for me!

I had one too many Nescafe drinks and created a major nuke aftermath for myself in my stomach! Had to stop! Chai wasn't doing too much for me and I decided to give something strong a go.

Enjoyed a Starbucks Red Velvet Loaf Cake today for lunch. The simple vanilla cake was simply delicious topped with a white chocolate icing. There’s nothing better to compliment hot cocoa than a good slice of cake.

♨️FOOD JOURNALS: February Episode 1

••• It’s been a from-one-meal-to-another situation these days. Dad’s visiting and he has a silent Gordon Ramsey critic look when he comes at the table. I always feel it gets tough for me when I have to make fish! ••• I’ve been doing the heavy-duty Tilapia and sides like kidney beans salad. I even found chickpeas rotini pasta! I even found some exquisite chickpeas rotini and spun a hearty recipe with Italian seasoning. There was a luncheon at the Cheesecake Factory followed by bringing back a sinfully delicious slice of Oreos Dream Extreme Cheesecake. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Winter Diaries 2019 "One Freeze Hoopla We Have Going"

One winter storm after another is what happened this winter. And what a winter it has been! Some states were literally buried under several feet of snow. It was wild! Abbiesville got its insane load of snow and I got my perfect winter wonderland. Wild winds blew on that one day of the snow storm. The trees were shrugging off the white fluff that was being dumped. And --- shutting up all my Grinch-like demons in a cage --- I got into my fleece pants, tripled up layers of clothing, and headed out to have some winter fun. 
❄️🧣WINTER DIARIES☃️☕️🧤 ••• January Episode 1 
I must say I took that Winter Bucket List by the horns and made my first snow woman of the season. Gryffindor themed of course! The snow was still falling while Sara and I made our snow ladies. 

Hers turned out nice and plump and was named Luna. Mine took a taller, slender and rather Turkish appearance. I called her Queenie! Oh, and I gave her the Elder wand.
❄️🧣WINTER DIARIES☃️🧤 ••• January Episode 2

I always wanted to fall flat on ice! We did that this season! Landed KERR-SPLAT!!! There was a lot of snow mischief with my niece. 

••• Happy thoughts are crucial for surviving this last bout of the Winter of ‘19 for me. I don’t blame Mr Nobody or Seasonal Affective Disorder for what I’m feeling. Because I like taking responsibility for everything that goes on in my head. It’s foolish, really, because one must not feel guilty for the way the world makes one feel ••• Anyway, happy thoughts as Disney insists all the time are critical for survival ••• They’re difficult to conjure when difficulties and challenges of adult life are getting more puddle-y by the day •••
 ❄️ENJOYING SOME SNOWY DAYS
I enjoy snow days best from inside the house. Hearing the word “Homebody” a lot these days ••• I am a pro at finding cozy nooks within the house and just hiding there temporarily while chores lay awaiting. I like the crunchy noise of snow hitting the house.
🌺🍄SPRING NOTES, ALMOST THERE


Spring Come Soon ••• I’ve certainly had enough of this Winter and for some reason I am always this way pushing the season out at its end. It’s a hassle layering up and not feeling my toes and fingers! ••• It got really rainy lately and the season is saying an almost goodbye now. Spring has already sent me a note with the yard showing freshly sprouting grass seeds, that it’s coming! Perhaps I should rethink getting a potted Hydrangea to grow this time. The former “Arwen” died when planted in the soil. Perhaps the new one - “Queenie” - will survive? ••• TBD
🌕GAZING A COUPLE MOONS OR TWO


••• Super snow moon, 2019's biggest supermoon, lit up the sky. I was there! Just before starting the dinner service - in an apron - I was balancing myself standing on the day bed in my sunroom! It was a while after moon rising and I was attempting to snap a shot! A very amused father of mine chipped in that it was supposed to be a Snow Moon. I Googled of course to confirm. It was! A tribute to the “snow on the ground” it was the gianormous supermoon! Another name ••• Storm Moon.

Winter Continues  •••