Tag Archives: Harry Potter

The Book Chat {Vol 10}

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The Book Chat is hosted weekly by Jessica over at Sweet Green Tangerine. Go link up!

Today’s question: What are you favorite childhood books?

I was a bit of a strange reader as a kid. To be honest, I don’t remember reading picture books with my mom when I was very young, but I do have vivid memories of my father taking me to the library and looking at stories for a few hours. I don’t remember ever having a favorite though as I never owned any of them- I think I liked just going and looking at everything the library had to offer.

As I got a bit older he would also often bring me (strangely enough) to the place where I now work. It’s been open for about 15 years now, which was just a few years before he passed away. When the store was first built there was a huge castle in the kids’ department with computers to play games on. I loved going and playing with the other children, looking at the thousands of books, and every once in a while I was treated to a new chapter book! Those are my fondest memories as a child, which may kind of explain my fondness for where I work now. It’s changed a LOT (and expanded somewhat) since then, but it’s always felt like I came around full circle when I started working in the place that I practically grew up in.

I started remembering the books I read when I was around 7 or so. Other than buying them with my dad, my mom would often give me two dollars to run across the street to the Dollar Store to pick up the newest edition of The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin. It kind of feels like every girl my age read those; I’m sad I don’t remember much about them other than the cheesy 90’s covers, but I constantly recommend them at work to girls who were the same age as me!

After those books, I read a lot of random Scholastic titles; Animorphs, Amazing Days of Abby Hayes, Goosebumps, Fear Street and other various chapter books that I was allowed to buy at book fairs or through the Scholastic flyers at school. I’m not even sure I can begin to explain my love for Scholastic. Even today? One of my top picks all the time for customers. I’m just going to throw this out into the Universe- I would TOTALLY work for Scholastic.🙂

Other than Harry Potter, I started reading a series around the age of 9 called the California Diaries. They were also by Ann M. Martin actually (I think this was her series right after Babysitter’s Club?) although not many people remember them besides me!I still have a few of those and I can’t even tell you how many times I read them. Over and over again. Unfortunately they’re way out of print now, but I’m fairly convinced I’d still totally love them if they came back out. They all followed a group of friends who had to keep journals in school. Each of the friends had their own series of books (Dawn had a few, then Amalia, Ducky, Sunny, and Maggie) and at some point in their journals they meet and all their lives start to become intertwined. I loved it. I remember their individual stories SURPRISINGLY well- they each battled their own important real life situations, and even as a kid I could appreciate how scary the world could be for other people.

I think it was right around then that Harry Potter came out and, well, the rest is history! 

I feel like I kind of went on a little tangent with this Book Chat, but I suppose that’s what it’s all about? Little tidbits about my reading life and how it shaped me as a person! As an adult, I buy books in excess. I think I like making up for the fact that money was so tight as a child and receiving a new book was a REAL treat. I still have a ton of those first chapter books and keep them in a safe place- I just wish I’d kept those cheesy Babysitter’s Club books! Those covers are so priceless.

What are some of your childhood favorites?

The Book Chat {Vol 7}

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After two weeks away, I missed you, book chat! Now that school is over, I am so happy to get to talk books again every Thursday. Book chats are hosted by the lovely Jessica over at Sweet Green Tangerine, you can link up too!

Today’s question: What is your favorite friendship in a book? 

My immediate answer to this has something to do with Harry Potter. But since you all expected that, I’m going to try and impress you with a BRAND NEW answer and introduce you to a new friendship that I loved!

The truth is that there are many friendships in books I love. In true cheesy manner, I think it’s one of the best parts of any good book I read. Since I feel like I constantly write about the same rotation of books, I thought I’d bring in my most recent favorite friendship about a book I finished TWO DAYS AGO.

But it was just that good.

I’m talking about Anna and St.Clair from the adorably sweet book Anna and the French Kiss! 

Since I really want to review this book soon, I’m going to try not to talk so much about the book itself & just focus on the friendship between the two main characters.

Basically, Anna meets Etienne St.Clair when she moves to Paris for school for a year. He’s by no means a “perfect” boy and she is nothing like the “perfect” beautiful girls that so often show up in romance novels. They’re both quirky, extremely well written characters that you get to know incredibly well throughout the book. And although they clearly have crushes on each other, they become inseparable best friends before anything else.

I think that’s just my favorite part. Anna is thrown into a world that she’s completely unfamiliar with, and St.Clair helps her navigate through a culture that is completely foreign to her. He gets her thoughtful gifts, he is ALWAYS there to listen to her, and she for him. It’s one of those stories between two people where you just clearly know something more will happen, but reading about just their friendship is half the fun!

And just because I can’t help myself, here are a few other book friendships that just make my heart all warm and fuzzy:

The four girls from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I don’t think anything will beat Tibby/Bridget/Carmen/Lena for me. They will forever be one of my favorites!

Ron/Harry/Hermione from Harry Potter. I mean, come on. I just love them.

Simon and Clary from the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. They might be one of my favorite platonic boy/girl friendships!

What are some of your favorite platonic/non-platonic book friendships?

The Book Chat {Vol 3}

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You can link up on Sweet Green Tangerine today, too! The book chat is every Thursday🙂

Today’s question: If you could live in any book, which one would it be?

The answer to this question is EASY. I’ve wanted to live in this book ever since I first read it over a decade ago. I wanted to get my letter and be sent off to this magical world where school meant learning spells and having a pet meant a strange  but lovable creature like an owl.

If you hadn’t guessed yet, I’ve always wanted to live in the wonderful world of Harry Potter!

I knew growing up that it was a silly dream, but somewhere deep down in my heart I always secretly wished that Hogwarts was a real place, Quidditch a real sport, and wizardry a real world. Each year when the newest Harry Potter came out, I excitedly ran home and locked myself up for 3 days while I devoured the latest volume. I would be so completely immersed in this fictional place that even as a teenager I truly hoped it was a place that would one day come to life for me.

Experiencing the Harry Potter Wizarding World just a few weeks ago was the closest thing to a dream come true. I know I wrote about it when I got home, but walking through the gates into the park was literally like walking into every single thing I had wanted as a child growing up. Butterbeer, chocolate frogs, pumpkin juice at the 3 Broomsticks, and of course a mind blowing ride on a broom around the castle and through the Quidditch pitch on the Forbidden Journey castle ride.

Writing this today makes me nostalgic for a world that I have adored for almost my entire life. I can’t wait to re-read those books and remember all the tiny details of a place that will be forever a favorite escape of mine into the fictional world! 

What book would you live in, if you could choose?! 

Florida & the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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I got home on Saturday (late) afternoon after an amazing five days and nights in Orlando, Florida. As if I hadn’t talked about it enough BEFORE going, I feel like I have about a million things to say now that it’s all over. Which, by the way? I can’t believe it’s already all over. But, such is the way vacations go, and I truly had an amazing time with one of my best friends.

I did something fun & special on each of my five days there, so I’m going to try and break it up into two or three posts throughout the next week!

First off, and maybe most importantly, was my experience at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. That place was the ultimate *reason* that I’ve been wanting to go to Orlando for the last couple years, it’s on my Life List, and I couldn’t wait to write my very own post about my time at the WWOHP to join all of the amazing ones I read online before leaving.

We headed to WWOHP on our second day in Orlando, because our first was the day that we flew in so we just wanted to explore. We woke up around 7am and caught the 8:30am shuttle from our hotel straight to Universal. We had no idea what to expect, but we knew the park opened at 9am so we thought we had done it properly. Turns out we had to wait in a MASSIVE line to get our tickets, and then another MASSIVE line to scan our tickets to actually get in to Islands of Adventure (the park where WWOHP is). There were a LOT more people than we had anticipated, but we quickly found out we chose Mardi Gras weekend and we might have to put up with ridiculous crowds for the whole trip. Luckily this was not the case, it was mostly just or our first day, and the park was well enough organized that it didn’t drive me TOO crazy.

We basically headed straight through the different worlds of Islands of Adventure to get straight to Harry Potter. I was SO excited- the minute we walked in I spotted Hogwarts and nearly had a panic attack! But we walked all the way there, through the Hogsmeade entrance, and explored the shops/took pictures for a good hour before doing anything else.

 

 

 

Everything is SO well done, I was more impressed than I even thought I could be. Each shop window was decorated as I had imagined, there was music playing throughout the whole park, all the employees were dressed up, the buildings and the ambiance made me truly feel like I had stepped into a Harry Potter book or movie.

After we felt like we had walked around long enough, we decided to look at what rides the park offered- there are three:

1. The Flight of the Hippogriff: a somewhat high-speed rollercoaster
2. The Dragon Challenge: an upside down, cork-screw, high-paced rollercoaster
3. The Forbidden Journey: some kind of mysterious ride INSIDE Hogwarts

I’m *really* not a roller-coaster person, and besides we knew that we REALLY wanted to experience Hogwarts, so we got ourselves our very first Butterbeer of the trip and settled ourselves into a 2 hour line-up into the castle. It was actually the longest, most winding line I’ve EVER been in and no picture could ever possibly compare. I know it was about 4 hours worse when the park first opened, but it’s important to know I am not a wait-in-line-person. Turns out that with a butterbeer and a castle walk to look forward to, time FLEW by. Once again, everything was so incredibly well decorated and orchestrated, and the line moved incredibly quickly so you were never stuck in one spot.

 

I would highly recommend getting a drink to wait in this line, especially if you’re a) going during peak season or b) a really busy time. Either way, you’re going to wait in line for this ride and it was really nice to have something to sip on that was so delicious. The glass that we have in the pictures above was an extra price, but we decided to go all out because you got cheaper refills on a bunch of drinks once you were done. Although we didn’t take advantage of that, it’s good for a lot of people- I just wanted the souvenir of my first butterbeer!

The castle ride was, in one word, unbelievable. I’m not even sure I could explain how I was feeling as I experienced it for the very first time. We were lucky enough to go through it THREE times during our stay (we learned that a good way to get on rides was to go to WWOHP as the sun set, that’s when people are leaving and lines are all under 30 minutes)… But honestly, for our first ride, two hours was SO worth it. Not to mention that halfway through the line-up you get to go inside the castle and they have tons of things set-up for you to see inside. I *wish* I could have taken pictures, but they ask you to stow your belongings in lockers beforehand.

**SPOILER** it’s basically a 3D (4D?) ride through Hogwarts. You’re flying, you’re playing Quidditch, you’re zooming in and out of the castle, you’re meeting dementors/the whomping willow/characters from the movie. As I flew down the Quidditch pitch in the MOST realistic and seamless 3D ride I’ve ever been on, I couldn’t help but tear up. It was like my life from age 11 until now, all summed up in two minutes. Everything you wanted to do as a child as you secretly waited for your very own Hogwarts letter.

Although we left WWOHP for a few hours that day to explore the rest of Islands of Adventure, we returned just in time for a late lunch at the three Broomsticks around 2:30pm, followed by some souvenir shopping before we headed home. We had great service there as well & were really impressed with the prices and the system they had in place to get you seated with your food.

 

We also decided to wait in line to experience Ollivander’s after lunch. At first we really didn’t want to wait an hour for a 5 minute show, but the two of us realized that we were at WWOHP and we didn’t know when we’d make it back. So we waited and once again, the line went really quickly. It wasn’t anything AMAZING, but we did get to see the inside of the wand shop. Also, in my true geeky nature, I went up to Ollivander (when I was supposed to be leaving) and I introduced myself & asked for a picture!

 

We ended our first day at Islands of Adventure soon after meeting Ollivander. We returned to WWOHP two days later around dinner time and we were able to go through the castle in 20 minutes, and we also got on the Flight of the Hippogriff in about 5 minutes because there weren’t many people around. We enjoyed our second Butterbeer on our way out of the park just after 7PM.

Our final day in Florida (February 24th) we decided at the last minute to go back ONE last time to experience WWOHP at sunset. We headed over there around 5:30pm and didn’t leave until they started to close up at 8:30PM. On our final visit we did the castle ride ONE LAST TIME and honestly? It never got old. I still smiled like a complete lunatic as I flew through the world I’ve read about for the last decade of my life.

We ended our trip with our third (and sadly, final) butterbeer, sitting on a random ledge in the middle of Hogsmeade. We just sat around and enjoyed the park that had become our most visited place during our vacation. It was all around such an amazing experience, I am 100% going back once they expand the park- which I have no doubt they will do. It’s constantly the busiest world in the ENTIRE theme park, and certainly the most modern and well done. As a long-time Harry Potter fan, I was extremely happy with everything I experienced there. Through all the chaos and activity, the employees remained in great moods and were always super helpful, and the quality of our experience never diminished because it was too busy or overwhelming. Of course it would have been nice on our first day to not have been stuck with almost no walking space, but it really is just part of the excitement of the Wizarding World!

 
*All pictures and opinions in this post are my own, if you’d like to use any of the images please link back here, thanks!

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Have you ever been to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, or Wizarding World of Harry Potter? What was your experience like?! 

Guest Post: Jen from Almost Grown Up

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Today’s post comes to you from Jen, an awesome blogger who is not new to guest posting for me! While I was in Greece this summer, she wrote this fantastic post, so I was more than happy when she agreed to write another little something for me while I’m in Florida! It’s only fitting that her post goes up today since I should be getting ready to go to Harry Potter Land in just a few hours!🙂

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When Melissa had a call for guest posts for her trip to Orlando, I knew immediately what I wanted to write about.

Well, yes. I mean, of course. I always want to write about Darren. We are, after all, going to get married one day. By the by, Darren, if you happen to read this, I’m single.

*cough* But more to the point, I wanted to talk about Harry Potter, specifically Harry Potter foods—easy ones so that you can throw together a spur-of-the-moment Potter Party that will make you feel like you’re at Hogwarts among (as Darren once sang) “goblins and ghost and […] magical feasts.”

The candy and sweets station is an obvious necessity at a Potter Party. Now, you may be able to find actual brand name Chocolate Frogs or Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans at certain stores, but if you’re running around on a shortage of time and money like I have been before, you may want to settle for a variety bag of jelly beans. Dumbledore’s favorites are Sherbet Lemons and Lemon Drops are certainly easy enough to find. You can grab your favorite licorice brand for some Licorice Wands. When the last movie premiered I was even lucky enough to find pre-packaged treacle fudge in the bakery section of the grocery store—that I think was probably better than Hagrid’s, if I’m honest.

Chocolate-dipped Pretzel Wands are usually a crowd pleaser as well. For these, you can buy a bag of pretzel rods, dipping chocolate, and if you want to get into the spirit of Gryffindor, you can throw some red and yellow sprinkles on top as well. If you find you like decorating treats, you can also buy packaged sugar cookies and some squeeze icing and go a little crazy drawing Harry Potter symbols on top of them.

If you’d like to serve your guests something slightly more substantial, buying frozen tacquitos in your favorite variety work well. Personally, I’m partial to the chicken and cheese ones. Serve ‘em up and call them Parchment Scrolls!

When you get around to watching the movies, your favorite YouTube tributes, or A Very Potter Musical (and sequel) later, it’s also nice to have some Transfigured Corn to munch on. I’m sure you can work out how to magic that one up on your own.

And do you even need to ask what you should serve for drinks? Can’t go wrong with a classic Butterbeer. Mix 1 part Butterscotch Schnapps with 2 parts Cream Soda. Unless, of course, this is a tipsier sort of Potter Party. In that case, I’m sure swapping the amounts of soda and Schnapps would be equally delicious. Though I’ll admit: it doesn’t compare to the real thing.

Have fun at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Melissa! Authentic Butterbeer might change your life!”

Currently… #2

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I did a post like this once before, you can read it here!

Reading

1) The Fault in our Stars by John Green. I literally just finished it, and all I can say is prepare yourselves for a review in the near future.

2) Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

3) Next up is The Marriage Plot for #twookclub… I can’t wait!

Listening

Snow Patrol. I’ve been listening to their albums on repeat for the last 2 days since I found out that THEY’RE COMING TO MONTREAL IN APRIL. Yes I already bought my ticket. YES I’m incredibly excited to be seeing them again after 2 years!


I can’t wait! 

Watching

1) Grey’s Anatomy is back and I’m still so in love with that show. I am in LOVE with this season, even though it breaks my heart into millions of pieces every Thursday night.

2) One Tree Hill is starting back up TONIGHT. It’s the final season and I just know I’m going to cry after like every single episode.

Needing

In my last ‘Currently’ post, I listed 4 things that I was really needing, and as I look over them I realize that I don’t need ANY of those things anymore because I took care of it all. THAT, feels amazing.

1) Right now, all I’m needing (or rather wishing that I had) is a little extra money. I want to travel this summer but I don’t feel like I’m paying off my debt and saving up fast enough. I’m working a lot these days though, so hopefully it pays off!


I’m hoping to end up here in June with my brother’s family & my mom!

2) A little extra time to meal plan for a week of vegetarianism coming up WAY too soon. I need to make it happen, and I keep forgetting to do it!

Avoiding

1) Getting ready for class, I need to leave in less than 2 hours but I practically just woke up! So weird.

2) Blogging, I feel like I haven’t written anything good in quite a while.

Loving

1) Harry Potter humor that is just so accurate accurate

2) John Green’s newest video about his newest book

3) I need new blogs to read. Leave me links to your favorites in the comments!

What are you currently up to?!

Sunday Inspiration + Links v.5

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I haven’t done this for the last couple weeks because of school & finals, but I miss browsing the internet for fun links so I took a break from studying to find some fun things worth sharing!

-First, a friend of mine shared this picture with me, and as a huge Hunger Games fan I love it a LOT:

Seriously, how awesome?!

– I love this website. It’s basically like a thesaurus…But cooler. Which is always my best friend when I write because I tend to be really repetitive.

Lessons I Wished I Had Learned Earlier. This is such a great list, everyone can learn something new!

– I currently want to buy everything on this website. Especially this shirt. You may remember Sheldon wearing it on this week’s Big Bang? Um yeah, want. Why must all the good ones be out of stock!?

– This moving panorama of Paris is AWESOME. As if I don’t want to travel back to Europe enough, this just makes me want to go back right this second.

100 Incredible Views Out Of Airplane Windows. Yep, awesomeness. Here are some of my faves:

The Alps

New York. I love views of NY, seriously.

Malaysia

Australia

Okay I’ll stop there, otherwise I may just post all 100. Such a cool collection though!

– Here are some really great ab workouts to substitute (awful) crunches. Easy exercises to do when you wake up, or just before bed! I could get used to doing these.

– Finally, in honor of my going to HP world in February and also because it’s been way too long since I shared HP pictures…

What’s inspiring you lately? Happy Sunday!