Sunday, April 30, 2017

Quick, Draw! With Google

 I recently discovered Google's Quick, Draw!, an addicting "game" where you have to draw simple objects and a neural network, wired to think like the human brain, will try to guess what they are... in under 20 seconds! It uses previous drawings by others to help recognize yours, and the sample one it's given, of course. You can play on your phone or on the computer, which is what's so great about it. It's also really fun, especially for people who can't draw that well (raises hand awkwardly), because it usually guesses right. Want to play? Here's the link: https://quickdraw.withgoogle.com/


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book Review: Finally by Wendy Mass

 Finally by Wendy Mass
Image courtesy of Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: A humorous look at what it means to FINALLY turn twelve years old.

You can pierce your ears when you're twelve. You can go to the mall with your friends when you're twelve. You can babysit little Timmy next door when you're twelve. You can get a cell phone when you're twelve. Hey, you can even ride in the front passenger-side seat when you're twelve.

When you're twelve, when you're twelve, when you're twelve . . .

My name is Rory Swenson, and I've been waiting to turn twelve my whole life. In exactly 18 hours, 36 minutes, and 52 seconds, it will finally happen.

My life will officially begin.
My Review: First off, let me just say this book was way better than 11 Birthdays because it wasn't repetitive. That being said, I, myself, cannot believe that Rory's parents relented so easily to her list of demands. Even if they had said Rory could pierce her ears and go to the mall with her friends, it's surprising they readily agreed once Rory turned 12, especially after being so overprotective. Rory herself is a fun character. She's really nice and has a bubbly personality. I didn't exactly like Annabelle, her best friend, because she was a bit rude at points, and wasn't really a good friend to Rory. I also didn't really understand the purpose of Amanda and Leo, and it seemed as if they were to bring a deeper understanding into the story, but did not follow through. However, the surprise at the end was cool, and showed that kindness is always rewarded.The plot was what actually caught my eye, and it delivered! It showed that sometimes, desires can be flops, and I think Rory definitely learned that through some unexpected disasters. Those were definitely entertaining, and pretty sad at points, too (you'll understand what I mean when you read the book). Since the plot was great substantially, and the characters were fun to read about as well, I give Finally 4 stars. It was a great, quick middle grade read.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Notebooks

 There's nothing better than getting a brand new notebook. There are so many different things to do with one, and the best thing of all is a pretty notebook, with a neat cover and pretty pages inside. Here are some examples of notebooks, along with my commentary.


Here are some standard notebooks I use for classes. I seem to be fond of the color red :).



This is the one I got from Universal Studios. Isn't it pretty? Now I just need something to write about in it...  
This notebook from my friend is really cute. I use it as a "Reading Journal" with to-reads, ratings, etc. to help keep myself organized.

Image result for cool notebooks
Image courtesy of aliexpress
For those Marvel fans

Image result for cool notebook covers

This journal is from A Pair And A Spare, where they show how to DIY it. It's totally the best travel journal, no?

Image result for lava lamp notebook
Image Courtesy of SoCraftastic
The "lava" really moves around the lamp when you squish the notebook. Cool, right?

What types of notebooks do you have? Moleskins, compositions, or decorative? Tell me in the comments below!



Saturday, April 22, 2017

2017 Earth Day Challenge

 Yay! It's Earth Day! And for this post, I have a challenge for everyone to participate in to cut down their carbon footprints. You can use this challenge anytime you'd like (in fact, you should do so everyday if you can). Ready? Let's begin. 

  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and flossing.
  • Grow your own tree/flower/other plant.
  • Take a 3-minute shower.
  • Don't use a lamp to study, instead find some natural lighting.
  • Turn off the heater and wear a sweater or fleece blanket instead.
  • Turn off at least 5 excess lights on in your house.
  • Walk anywhere within 2 miles of your current location. 
  • Persuade 3 people to recycle their empty soda cans, paper scraps, etc.
  • Donate old clothing and toys.
  • Only use shopping bags made of recycled paper or cloth. 
  • Compost!!!
  • Go tech-free for an hour! And going to sleep does not count :).
  • Prepare a meal without electricity. Salad, anyone?
  • Drive around in electric cars and other earth-friendly vehicles.
  • Carpool with 2 others. 
  • Go biking for an hour instead of surfing the web. Or just take a walk!
Extra Credit:
  • Use rechargeable batteries in devices. Phones count, as long as you don't use them excessively.

Doing all of these tasks can really help save the earth, little by little. Here's the pdf version of the list.
What are you still doing here? Let's get saving! :) 🌎

Book Review: Yours Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick


Yours Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick
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Image Courtesy of Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis: Another wild mystery needs to be solved and it’s up to the Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes to solve it in this hilarious follow up to the heartwarming middle grade mystery, Absolutely Truly.
     Even Truly Lovejoy has to admit that teeny-tiny Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, has its charms—like the annual maple festival, where tourists flock from all over to sample the local maple syrup, maple candy, maple coffee, and even maple soap! But when someone tries to sabotage the maple trees on her friend Franklin’s family farm, Truly has to rally the Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes to investigate.
     Meanwhile, she uncovers another, more personal mystery under the floorboards of her very own home—a diary written centuries ago by her namesake, the original Truly Lovejoy…and it might just prove her family’s ties to Pumpkin Falls run deeper than anyone ever could have imagined.
 


My Review: I really enjoyed Yours Truly. I liked the fact that there were a couple small mysteries instead of one large one, unlike Absolutely Truly. They were more interesting, and I felt involved in them as a reader. I also thought that the diary of the "original" Truly was a really nice touch to the story, as it sounded quite realistic and portrayed history perfectly for a middle grade novel. I would have enjoyed more of the maple festival itself, like if Truly went around and bought maple items, instead of just pointing out that there was maple fever going around. The story didn't seem to revolve around it, just a maple tree sabotage and, of course, the diary. The characters were all fun, and their personalities were revealed more in this sequel than the first book. I think there was just a strong connection overall to the wintry setting and characters, which was great.Overall, I give it 4 stars. I cannot wait for the third installment!
Yours Truly, Not a Prima Donna Girl.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Trip to U.S.

 Guess what, y'all? I went on a trip to a really fun place! Sorry for the vagueness, but I thought it would be fun to give you a chance to guess where I went. 
Clue 1: The initials of the place are in the post title.
Clue 2: Here's a picture from there (and no, it's not a natural park):
Clue 3: First, we went on one escalator. And you know what was at the bottom of that? Another escalator. And you know what was at the bottom of that? Another escalator! And you know what was at the bottom of that? Another escalator! And you know what was at the bottom of that? Another escalator! And you know what was at the bottom of that? Rides (finally)!

All right, so if you still don't know where I went, I'll just spoil it. I went to Universal Studios! The picture above is the view from the platform beneath the final escalator of the Jurassic Park ride, which was awesome. In fact, the whole park was pretty fun! 




There were many 4-D rides, and only about 3 traditional ones (if I remember correctly). I most of all enjoyed, you guessed it, Harry Potter World (otherwise known as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter).



 Hogwarts, at last! :)



An overview of the roofs. Don't you just love the "snow"?

I also explored other parts, like the Simpson's area, even though I don't watch the show.


Like I said above, there were a lot of virtual reality rides, and I would've preferred more roller coasters and traditional ones, but overall it was quite nice! And as a souvenir, I got two magnetic Ravenclaw bookmarks (my Hogwarts house), a quill, and a really, really pretty Hogwarts journal. The bookmarks aren't in the photo below.



Overall, it was a great vacation. Even the food was pretty good! I got pizza and the next day, a salad at a "French Bistro", along with macarons (which were a bit too frozen and chewy). Have you ever been to Universal Studios? What did you think?

Disclaimer: These photos are general images of the park, with no intention of highlighting any passerby.



Monday, April 17, 2017

Recipe for The Saturday Cooking Club + Mini Review

 Kitchen Chaos Review by JillEllyn Riley Deborah A. Levine



Synopsis: Can their friendships take the heat? A trio of mothers and daughters will find out when they sign up for a cooking class from a famous chef in the first book of the Saturday Cooking Club series—it’s mother-daughter bonding and so much more!

Liza and Frankie have always been best friends. But when new girl Lillian arrives from San Francisco, suddenly three’s a crowd. Especially after the trio is grouped together for a big sixth-grade social studies project—can they put aside their animosity long enough to succeed? When Liza suggests they all take a cooking class with the chef from her favorite cooking show for the project, the girls are on board, but they need an adult to take the class with them. It seems like the perfect opportunity to snag some quality time with their overscheduled, overstressed mothers…if they can convince them to sign up!

Several headaches and close calls later, the girls at last find themselves in Chef Antonio’s kitchen with their mothers in tow—but the drama is only just beginning!

Mini-Review: I loved Kitchen Chaos, and how each girl's relationship with their mother grew. The class itself is pretty fun to read about, especially the catastrophes caused there. Each girl was unique in their own way. I didn't like Frankie that much in the beginning, because of her strong hatred of Lillian, but she did get much nicer later on. The mothers were also really funny and kind, and overall the book was an enjoyable read. The project idea-of taking a cooking class to learn about different cultures- seems like a really fun project. I'm so jealous XD. I'd give it 4 stars overall. Check out the second book if you liked the first one, by the way, called The Icing on the Cake.


********************************************************************************************************
Mini Pizza Recipe
All right, so now its time for the recipe! It's really simple, nothing complex like the book's class makes. In fact, it's just pizza! But it's a really easy version, with burger buns, sauce, and cheese. Yum!

Ingredients:
  • burger buns (each one makes a mini pizza)
  • marinara sauce (I used the storebought kind with a few tomato chunks)
  • cheese (I used a combination of cheddar and mozzarella)
Step one: Take a blank bun, and apply a spoonful of marinara sauce


Step Two: Spread the sauce around the bun, meeting the edge.
Step Three: Sprinkle cheese on the buns with sauce. Don't hold back :). I didn't add any toppings this time, but you can add whatever you'd like. Peppers would probably work really well. 

Step Four: Bake them! Bake time and degrees can vary, but I believe these were from 10-15 minutes. 
Step Five: Eat! 

Do I plan to take a cooking class to learn more in the near future? No way. I can't even make mug cakes anymore without burning or over-microwaving them. At least I can always count on this pizza :).
Enjoy!




Saturday, April 15, 2017

Books I'm Hoping to Read Over Spring Break

 Over this next week of pure relaxation (thank goodness :)), I plan to catch up on books that I've either not started yet, or finish up books I have started. Here's my list of some I'm looking forward to finishing up (all cover images from Amazon).

1. To Kill A Mockingbird
I've been mentioning this in a few posts, so I really want to finish it. It's going great so far!


2. Yours Truly


3. Le Petit Prince
I acquired a French version (the original language) of The Little Prince a couple of days ago. From the first page, it was hilarious. 


4. The Book Thief
I got this one a few weeks back, and since its movie was released in 2013, I've been meaning to read it.


5. Soar
I've always seen this book in the library, so I brought it home to give it a try.



Books I read this week already: 11 Gifts by Wendy Mass (I disliked this one) and Finally by Wendy Mass (much, much better). I actually liked Finally a lot, and 11 Gifts seemed to repetitive to me. Also, even though it was a middle grade book, the language seemed a bit cheesy at points.
What books do you want to catch up on? What books did you read in the past week? Tell me below!


Monday, April 10, 2017

Some of My Favorite Villains of Literature

 All the heroes get the praise they deserve, but what about the villains? Where would Harry Potter be without Voldemort? And what would Rapunzel do without her evil captor? Here are five villains who deserve all the hate they get. 

1. Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Is there anyone as infuriating as Umbridge? My spine curdled every time she was mentioned.
Image result for dolores umbridge
Courtesy of Pottermore

2. The Queen of Hearts, Alice Through the Looking Glass
Alright, this villain was just really hilarious. She kept screaming "Off with her head!" like she was crazy. 
Image result for the queen of hearts
Courtesy of Wikipedia


3. Jeanine Matthews, Divergent
Jeanine is one of the most manipulative villains in a dystopia. Not to mention that she's one of the scariest as well.
Image result for jeanine matthews
Courtesy of Villains Wikia

4. Colonel Vosch, The 5th Wave
Alien sci-fi's not really my type, but this book captured my attention from the start. In addition to creepy, the aliens are all really smart (unfortunately).
Image result for colonel vosch the 5th wave
Courtesy of Wikia

5. Marge, Big Game
Here's another really funny "villain" from the MG world, who was quite irritating at points, which is what makes her great. Though, to be honest, she's not really "evil", just desperate to prove herself, and though she wasn't my favorite, she was definitely humorous.
24885789
Courtesy of Goodreads

So, who are your favorite villains? Are they funny, lame, or really evil? Tell me in the comments below!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Book Updates

 I finally got Yours Truly in the library by Heather Vogel Frederick. I personally thought Absolutely Truly was okay, but I'm pretty excited to read this one. The cover's so pretty, too!


 I'm almost one-third done with To Kill a Mockingbird. It's really good so far, and the funniest part is that the narrator is only seven years old, and the language sounds like it's coming from an adult. Oh, the irony :).
Anyways, I hope some book reviews will be up soon, and hopefully a save the earth post coming too! Keep reading!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Readathon

 Yay! I'm so happy to finally share with you guys that I'm participating in a Readathon, where you read books and take quizzes on them. Based on the number of points you and your group earn per quiz (bigger books for older audiences means more points on average), you can win a party! I'm going to try my best to earn a lot of points, and a lot of sponsors at that. We have about two months to earn all of them. I can't wait to get started!

Have you ever participated in a Readathon before? Tell me all about it below!


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Bad News...

 Unfortunately, due to the limited time I have during the week, I cannot further continue this blog. I've learned a lot through my blogging, and even though it's only been two full years, I've had a lot of fun. I hope you all have enjoyed the book reviews, arts and crafts, and save the earth posts I've done. Thank you for being such fun readers! I always enjoy hearing from everyone with feedback! I will continue to leave this blog open, even though there isn't too much of a point to come back anyways. Here's to a fun two years!
- Not A Prima Donna Girl

P.S. April Fools! Got you, didn't I? Check back soon, this blog isn't over yet!
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