Pure Magic: A Harry Potter Dream Crate

Without a doubt, Harry Potter has become my favorite fandom and the one I’m most passionate about. After making Severus Snape and the Marauders, my obsession with J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world has only grown exponentially.

Naturally, then, when brainstorming what my dream LootCrate  subscription box—or Dream Crate if you will—would look like, it was full of Harry Potter stuff. Now, I do realize that LootCrate already has a “Wizarding World Crate” on their site. However, it’s house specific and comes with a t-shirt, neither of which really appeals to me at the moment.

I’ve become quite picky since I turned 30 last year and don’t want to clutter my life with useless stuff. Instead, I want to be surrounded by things that make me happy and are pleasing to the eye in both design and color.

A lot of the crates out there are also pretty generic or else favor things dudes would like over what ladies or more feminine types might. Although I’m not saying this has to be a “girl’s only” box, I wanted to put together something that would appeal to someone who has similar likes and tastes as myself.

And so, without further ado, I present to you—Pure Magic: A Harry Potter Dream Crate.


Hogwarts Castle Lumos Charm

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These charms come in silver or gold (most likely plated) and are made to fit charm bracelets. Although they’re obviously super adorable, 15% of the profits from their sale also go to J.K. Rowling’s charity, Lumos. Fashion for a cause is always a good idea.

Lumos HP Charm #2 – Hogwarts Castle (G) 
$19.95


Luna Lovegood’s Spectrespecs

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Aside from the fact that Luna is one of my favorite Harry Potter characters, (she’s a Ravenclaw after all) she also sports some of the funkiest accessories. Her spectrespecs, from the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film, are a must have for wrackspurt hunting and general eccentricity.

Luna Lovegood Spectrespecs
$19.95


Hogwarts Textbook Postcards

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If you’re not already aware of the creative geniuses behind the graphic design of both the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series, get on that! MinaLima has created some of the most memorable images in the wizarding world, including the fantastically designed textbook covers seen here. Aside from just getting all of these awesome graphics in poster format, you can get them in a portable size as a postcard set via their website.

The Hogwarts Series – Postcards (Collection 1)
£14.50


The Quibbler: Editor-in-Chief Pin

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As a journalist, this pin appeals to me on so many levels, especially considering how much the media has been under fire these days. However, ultimately, I couldn’t resist another Luna association, this time referencing her father, Xenophilius Lovegood. Now, you too can publish wacky stories and show your support for Harry Potter by acting as The Quibbler’s Editor-in-Chief.

Quibbler Pinback Button
$1.75


Harry Potter Temporary Tattoos

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Admit it, you’ve been dying to get a Harry Potter themed tattoo. For realsies; me too. But, since I’ve made it this far in my life without having any tattoos, it’s highly unlikely I’d ever actually commit to having one permanently imprinted on my skin. These temporary tattoos are the next best thing and will easily wash off after a few days or so. However, the black ink style and modern fonts are very appealing and may very well inspire a permanent version after they wear off.

Harry Potter Temporary Tattoos
$5


Storybook Cosmetics Wizard Wands

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Last year, Storybook Cosmetics took the world of geek-inspired makeup by storm with their Harry Potter-style wand brushes. Sold as a limited edition set, the brushes are modeled after Harry, Ron, Dumbledore, Hermione, and Voldemort’s wands. These babies sold out almost instantaneously and the girls are now working on pre-sale for a second series with original wand designs. Do want!

Storybook Cosmetics Wizard Wands
$55


What would your Dream Crate look like?

Leave a comment below so I can check out your ideas too!

*Thank you to LootCrate for contacting me about the DreamCrate project! Craft your own DreamCrate for a chance to turn yours into a reality!

Death in the Age of Facebook

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Image from Cyborgology

Death has a sobering effect on the soul. It wakens us not only to our own mortality, but the inevitable ending of much that we know and are used to in life. Nothing ever stays the same, but death is an inevitable constant. Young or old, healthy or sick–the truth is, death does not discriminate.

Every culture has a death ritual in place, a way for the living to celebrate the lives of those that passed. Mourning can be a solitary burden or a shared experience, depending on the impact of the death and the personalities of those affected. Loved ones are often sent off through one of the four elements: fire, water, air, and earth.

But what about death in the age of Facebook?

As our daily lives have gradually become both infiltrated and validated by the importance of social media, death grips us in a different way. When someone we know dies, even just a casual acquaintance or friend of a friend, the news travels to us via our Facebook feed.

When I was in my first year of college, a friend I’d known since elementary school passed away. We were never extremely close, but outside of school I knew him well enough that I’d gone to his Bar Mitzvah and shared an occasional bowl with him on our way to Warped Tour.

Although we had a real life friendship, we had grown apart since high school, but remained friends on Facebook. It was on that famous social networking site where I heard about his death through a post made by a mutual friend.RIP. You will be missed. Always in our hearts.The comments of sympathy rolled in as I stared at my computer screen.

As I sat there, in shock at the words and the notion that someone I knew was now dead, I also felt strangely annoyed. Why had I not found out about this in some other way? A phone call, an email–anything else but a Facebook post. Somehow it felt strangely impersonal.

As I struggled with the myriad of feelings that accompany a death, I watched as my friend’s Facebook page became a memorial to their life and those that knew him. Favorite memories were shared along with photos and heartfelt words expressing a great sense of loss. Many spoke directly to the deceased, reaching for a sense of resolution.

Friends and family members continuously commented on each other’s posts with kind words and empathy. In a sense, these interactions served as a digital support group, at least on the surface.

But as the days turned to weeks, the weeks to months, the months to years, the posts became less frequent and my dead friend’s Facebook page grew silent, abandoned. Although he had already been laid to rest, his ghost continuously haunted me when I scrolled through my list of Facebook friends. Someone had even taken down his profile photo, which made the experience of coming across his name even more shocking; An outline of a person, where that person should have been.

Although I felt sad when I saw his name, I couldn’t bring myself to “unfriend” him. Ultimately, he was still my friend even though I would never get to talk to him again. Still, it felt odd to have a Facebook friend who was dead, but even odder to even be entertaining these kinds of thoughts.

How do we deal with the dead in the age of social media? Do we feel comforted by their digital echo or burdened by emotion because of the constant reminder?

As I get older and have lost others in my life who were also Facebook friends, I often consider these things and my personal feelings on the matter.

While I was fortunate to attend the wakes of two friends who passed away, I never did get to say goodbye in person to that first friend who died. I often have dreams of him, to this day, where I’m talking to him and he’s telling me that he’s okay. It’s so strange how the ritual of a funeral can truly bring resolution to a death.

Even so, death on social media is still something I struggle with, even at this very moment, as the news of another acquaintance’s death has found its way to me via my Facebook news feed. While I contemplate my participation in the conversation surrounding this death, I came across a quote by Edgar Allan Poe from Mesmeric Revelation that resonates at this moment:

“What we call ‘death,’ is but the painful metamorphosis. Our present incarnation is progressive, preparatory, temporary. Our future is perfected, ultimate, immortal. The ultimate life is the full design.”

Death comes to us all whether we plan for it or not.

In short, it isn’t until a person is gone that we truly can put together a picture of their life as a whole. Although social media is in a sense a curated piece of a person, and not necessarily their whole truth, it is nonetheless them. Their personality may linger through the words and pictures they chose to share with the world; they are immortal for as long as their page stays up even if it has been a year since someone posted on it.

Ultimately, interacting with the Facebook page of a loved one after their death has become a new form of ritual; soon it will be no stranger than carrying around a locket of hair from the deceased or visiting a grave site. As more and more of our lives are lived online, perhaps we’ll also become more comfortable with the familiarity of death, and the digital legacy we’ll all inevitably leave behind some day.

Tears For Fears – “Listen”

Sometimes a song just captivates our attention in the moment and catches us off guard. It speaks to us on a deeper level, beyond lyrics and obvious meaning. It’s often how we discover new music and develop an even greater appreciation for a previously loved artist. In this case, it was the latter.

I put on the B Side of my Tears For Fears Songs From The Big Chair LP and just let it play in the background, mainly because I wanted to hear “Head Over Heels” as I surfed the web. But as the last notes of “Head Over Heels” faded away, I was greeted with the sweetly hypnotic synth of “Listen.” Like a lover’s daydream, “Listen” snuck into my heart and made me woozy with adoration. I have listened to this album many times before, all the way through, but it was always just the soundtrack to whatever I was doing, with my attention mostly elsewhere. For whatever reason, today “Listen” made me do just that and I truly paid attention to the song.

“Listen” drifts lazily on and on, lingering on notes like kisses exchanged in secret. It’s a true lover’s song, providing a blanket of blissful sound for those long nights wrapped in an embrace or pining away for a lost love. Many layers of sound harmonize together to create a lullaby-like quality that soothes the soul. There are only two tiny verses that are sung in the first third of the song and their meaning is as mysterious as the melody itself.

Mother Russia badly burned
Your children lick your wounds

Pilgrim father sailed away
Found a brave new world

The rest of the lyrics are sung  in Spanish by a small choir throughout the second half of the song and are difficult to understand, but some people think they hear:

Compleaños chica, no hay que preocuparse.
Don’t worry birthday girl. or Birthday girl, it’s not your fault.

Regardless of the meaning, it had me  wondering where this song came from and why it’s not better known. In truth, it reminds me a lot of M83 and other dream pop/shoegaze artists of the modern era. There’s a definite direct influence there that was interesting to discover from such a seemingly straightforward 80’s band like Tears for Fears. I knew they were great songwriters, but “Listen” is on a different level of artistry that was completely unexpected. I feel like I have to go back and re-explore their discography now because surely there are other gems like “Listen” that I have yet to experience.

Listen for yourself below and let “Listen” speak to you too.

5 Fandom Friday: 5 Fictional Pets I’d Like to Adopt

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There are so many fun pets in the many fictional universes of pop culture. I’m sure there are some I’ll think of later and kick myself over. For now, here are the five fictional pets I’d like to adopt.

Waddles the Pig

Waddles the Pig (Gravity Falls)

Just look at that adorable piggy face! I want to squeeze his cheeks and cuddle him so hard! Waddles is pretty much the cutest (full-size) pig ever. He would be my trusty sidekick and I’d feed him scraps from the dinner table. It would be even more amazing if I could adopt the super-genius Waddles from Season 2 after he eats that magic mushroom paste. Then we could save the world together and he’d be the first pig to win a Noble Prize.

Hedwig the Owl

Hedwig the Snowy Owl (Harry Potter)

Hedwig is super smart and protective of Harry. She even gives her own life to save him! I would love to have a beautiful, intelligent owl like Hedwig to keep me company and deliver my mail. I’ve always liked the idea of an owl post. Seems to me it would be more effective than our current postal service.

Adipose

Adipose (Doctor Who)

Ok, I know the Adipose are made up of fat and other biological tissue, but they’re just so damn adorable! They’ve got one little tooth like a baby. I bet they would be super squishy to hug. I seem to have a thing for fat, cuddly, squishy things. 😀

Raja the Tiger

Rajah the Tiger (Aladdin)

Who wouldn’t want a ferocious bengal tiger as their pet? Especially because that probably means you’re royalty like Princess Jasmine. I always wanted to be like her when I was little. She’s the prettiest Disney princess in my opinion (and the one I look the most like thank you very much). Rajah is super sweet with her like a tamed house cat, but very protective as you can see from this photo from when he bit Jafar in the ass.

Pascal

Pascal the Chameleon (Tangled)

Pascal is hilarious. He would always keep me entertained. Just look at the expression on his face; he’s got to be the most expressive chameleon in existence. I’m not normally into lizards, but I do adore chameleons. Their color changing super powers are pretty rad too.

I have a feeling I may have more favorites after Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them comes out! What are some of your favorite fictional pets?

5 Fandom Friday: Five Fictional Vehicles I’d Love to Travel In

5fandomfriday

Oh man, I am really into this week’s 5 Fandom Friday: Five Fictional Vehicles I’d Love to Travel In. It’s incredibly hard to narrow it down to just five when there are so many amazing vehicles I could have adventures in. I mean, I even have this shirt from TeeFury, which shows just a few of the most famous fictional (and nerdy) vehicles just from movies and TV.

Teefury My Other Ride is Shirt

But, I did manage to narrow it down after a lot of brainstorming (and reading other female geek bloggers’ posts!). Allonsy!

tardis2

1. TARDIS

I love Doctor Who and am pretty enamored with the Doctor’s ship the T(ime) A(and) R(elative) D(imenson) I(n) S(pace). Not only is it blue (my favorite color), but it’s bigger on the inside and can travel anywhere in space or time. I would love to be one of the Doctor’s companions and see the Oods or the Boekind, and have adventures on distant planets.

USS_Enterprise-D,_These_Are_the_Voyages

2. Starship Enterprise

Star Trek is one of my favorite sci-fi series of all time, specifically The Next Generation because I grew up watching it. I have always wanted to travel on the Enterprise D ship, which is from TNG. I could transport myself onto the surface of another planet or use the holodeck. Plus it would be so cool to be in Starfleet Academy and be an officer on the ship.

hogwarts-express-08

3. Hogwarts Express

Oh my God you guys, how amazing would it be to get to ride on the real Hogwarts Express?! That would mean you were going to school at Hogwarts and were a witch or a wizard! Obviously this had to be on my list, especially because Harry Potter is pretty much my #1 fandom. I would order so many chocolate frogs from the food trolley. O_O

Batmobile-Michael-Keaton-1989-Batman

4. Batmobile

Chicks dig the car, right? I am also a huge fan of Batman and the Batmobile is pretty much the coolest car there is. While I love the original vintage Batmobile from the TV series purely for aesthetic reasons, I’d want to ride around in Michael Keaton’s batmobile from the Tim Burton Batman movies. It’s so hilariously phallic and cartoonish.

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5. Cylon Raider

Technically, the Cylon Raiders are actually sentient beings, but I could pilot one if I wanted to like Starbuck did. They’re just such menacing vehicles. They always look like they’re about to attack you even if they’re not. The Cylons in the reboot are pretty badass so I wouldn’t mind being one, or the descendent of one anyway. 😉

What are your favorite fictional vehicles and why?

Winner of the Her Universe Gift Bag Giveaway!

I know you’re all anxious to find out the winner of the Her Universe Gift Bag from Comic-Con. Watch the video above and find out if you were the winner! You will be contacted within 24 hours at the email address you provided upon commenting.

Thanks for entering and keep it locked to Sonic Iris for more fun and giveaways in the future!

<3,
Liana

Comic Con Exhibit Hall Lobby

Lessons Learned from Comic-Con 2015 and a Giveaway!

This year’s Comic-Con turned out even better than last year’s for a number of reasons, which I’d like to share with you all. Although it can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned con veteran, there are ways to make the experience more enjoyable and less stressful.

Plan ahead, but don’t over plan.

Last year was my first Comic-Con and I went a little overboard in the pre-planning stage. It stressed me out so much I was incredibly anxious the first night I got to San Diego and was trying to figure out how I was going to do everything. Well, reality check, it’s impossible to do everything you want to do. Events, panels, autograph signings, and giveaways often overlap. The most important part of planning is to know what’s going on within a time block and knowing what your number one choice is with a backup or two in case you miss out on your first choice. The Comic-Con app is super helpful and was created for exactly this reason. It even has some of the outside events on there like the Her Universe Fashion Show and Adult Swim on the Green. With all this being said, that leads me to my next point…

Leetal Platt's model for her Usagi's Transformation Sailor Moon dress kisses her boyfriend after the Her Universe Fashion Show

Leetal Platt’s model for her Usagi’s Transformation Sailor Moon dress kisses her boyfriend after the Her Universe Fashion Show

Spontaneity is okay!

Even though I planned ahead and picked out what panels I was most interested in, I only went to about 10% or less of them. The thing about Comic-Con is, you never know what might happen. It’s good to be spontaneous and go with your gut if something all of a sudden appeals to you or you find out about a last minute opportunity or signing. If I had gone to every panel I initially was interested in, I would never have had an opportunity to even visit the exhibit hall. I saw a few different celebrities while I was down there including Natalie Dormer, Elijah Wood, Seth Green, and Edward James Olmos. On Friday, I pretty much abandoned the idea of panels all together and my friends and I decided to do The Game of Thrones Experience and walk around the Gaslamp district for most of the day. We got some fun swag out of it and really enjoyed ourselves since we took turns waiting in line. The point is, don’t be chained to your schedule, Comic-Con is full of surprises!

Me as a white walker at GOT: Experience the Realm

Me as a white walker at GOT: Experience the Realm

Make time for friends

Obviously this mainly will apply to you if you have friends that are also going, but it also applies to the random people you’ll meet while at Comic-Con. Don’t be afraid to talk to people, especially while you’re waiting in line. I made some great line buddies during the Gravity Falls panel and I wish I had gotten their information. In comparison to last year, this year was ten times as enjoyable because I went with friends and we all made time for each other at some point during the day, often for a meal or outside event. I also had the opportunity to meet up with other friends that incredibly, I have made only within the past year or so! Meeting these people has been largely due to the making of our Harry Potter fan film “Severus Snape and The Marauders.” (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out my post on our teaser trailer here.) I am incredibly grateful for those wonderful people and super excited to put out our little fan film that we all worked so hard on.

Mick Ignis (Snape), Justin Zagri (my boyfriend and the Writer/Director), and Dani Jae (Lily) after the Harry Potter fandom panel.

Mick Ignis (Snape), Justin Zagri (my boyfriend and the Writer/Director), and Dani Jae (Lily) after the Harry Potter fandom panel.

Exclusives are over-rated

I really had my heart set on getting a few of the Comic-Con exclusives this year, mainly the Fight Club 2 variant cover and the Heisenberg Blue Sky Pop vinyl. However, it was pretty much impossible to get either unless you arrived to the convention center at the crack of dawn before the doors even opened. I did not attempt to fight with the hoards early morning just for a chance at an exclusive. I heard horror stories of running and pushing and shoving and yelling, and that’s just not how I wanted to start my day. Even more importantly however, I didn’t want to sacrifice my sleep or my time especially when I could just buy them later anyway. Yes that’s right, you can still buy many of the exclusives after Comic-Con. Sure they might be more expensive than they were at Comic-Con, but not by that much. The Fight Club 2 comic is going for $15-20 and was originally $5, while the Heisenberg Pop vinyl is going for $30-$40 and I think it retailed for around $15 originally. However, I found out through the grapevine that many of the left over Pop vinyl exclusives are available at both Barnes & Noble and Hot Topic after Comic-Con. Unfortunately they were out of the Heisenberg one by the time I found this out on the 16th, but I did pickup the Eleventh Doctor Pop vinyl exclusive at Hot Topic for $15.

Doctor Who 11th Doctor Cyberman Head exclusive

Doctor Who 11th Doctor Cyberman Head exclusive

Don’t feel obligated to Cosplay, but do it if you really love the character

In the past, I’ve felt like I should be cosplaying at conventions. I have friends who are professional cosplayers and costume designers and their costumes are always outrageously good. The thing is, I always had a hard time choosing characters to cosplay as because I feel like there aren’t too many characters that I look like and I hate wearing wigs. Last year I did Jane Lane from Daria, but I feel like a lot of people didn’t know who I was because I didn’t have a Daria with me. This year I decided to do Dipper Pines from Gravity Falls and had a lot of fun doing so. It’s another easy costume to put together, but is much more recognizable since it’s from a current show. I wore the costume to the Gravity Falls panel and had a great time with other cosplayers just taking photos and talking about the show. The best part however, was the producers of the show inviting all the cosplayers to take a group photo with Alex Hirsch and Kristen Schaal after the panel! Just another example of one of the many Comic-Con surprises that can spontaneously happen at any time!

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Dipper Pines cosplay adventure at SDCC 2015!

Only take free swag that you really like, will use, or know someone else will like.

Last year I was in awe of all the free stuff that I tried to collect ALL THE THINGS! This is completely pointless because I think I have less than half of the free stuff I got last year still. Most of it is promotional material for things you just won’t bother with, so only seek out goodies that are of interest to you. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and get an exclusive giveaway or raffle at a panel. Or you may find a brand ambassador for a TV show wandering the Gaslamp Quarter with free stuff. Or even still you might get some sweet swag at an outside event.

Her Universe Gift Bag giveaway!

Her Universe Gift Bag giveaway!

Well my dear readers, I happen to have some sweet swag to give away to one lucky person. I attended the Her Universe Fashion Show, which I referenced at the top, and scored an extra giftbag. You will get a purple Her Universe shopping bag along with the official ballot and program from the show, a Hallmark Star Wars itty bitty plush of Darth Vader, a Loungefly Stormtrooper pin, stickers from Hot Topic and Loungefly, and other paper promo materials from the fashion show’s sponsors! Leave a comment on this post and tell me why you’d like to win. You can also tweet about the giveaway for an extra entry.

Tweet: Sonic Iris is having a post Comic-Con giveaway on her blog! Win a Her Universe fashion show gift bag! @LianaRosePhoto http://ctt.ec/gNYt0+
Sonic Iris is having a post Comic-Con giveaway on her blog! Win a Her Universe fashion show gift bag! @LianaRosePhoto http://ctt.ec/gNYt0+

I’ll choose one winner on Friday July 24th at 12:00 PM PST! Good luck!