thursday thrills


A wedding inspired by one of my favorite movies.

Lovers of typography, lust over this book.

The best of Harry Potter merch.

Visit this site for your daily dose of cute.

It's been a while! Hope your last few Thursdays were wonderful. Xoxo

nostalgic playlist

Some songs just give me the weirdest feeling... in the best way possible.

my ultimate shortcoming (is not making puns)

Surely, you will have noticed a few things about this photo:

  1. I have awesome, adorable friends.
  2. Someone is wearing a bright yellow hat in the bottom right corner.
  3. It's getting dark outside.
  4. I am a whole head shorter than everyone.
Well let me tell you--you're not the first to notice.  For as long as I can remember, my identifier has been "the cute little short girl".  Hey, I know it could be worse, but it certainly has its drawbacks.

For starters, even though technically I'm an "adult", I still think everyone around me is older than me, because, well, they do look older than me.  It's something I can't help, like I have some kind of filter that is preventing me from owning that I am indeed older (I believe I will experience this same sensation when I am middle aged).

Unfortunately I don't usually gravitate towards dressing "like a teenager", so that doesn't help.  Let's be honest here--I dress a cross between a six year old and a thirty year old.  At best, I can accomplish what Rachel Berry would call "Sexy schoolgirl librarian chic".

And the jokes.  The jokes just keep on coming.  Everyone has that one thing they can't escape (unless drastic measures are taken--in my case, wearing five inch heels every day for the rest of my life) and that friends, family, acquaintances, and complete strangers have no problem bringing up on a daily basis.

The worst part?  To avoid the humiliation and insecurity inflicted by others, I often try to beat people to the jokes.  I reason, if someone is going to poke fun at me, it might as well be me, right?  It's become a habit, one I loath, because in honesty, it just makes people think I'm okay with them putting me down all the time.  Self-deprecation is all fun and charming until you start believing it yourself.

This is why I am making a pact with myself.  From this day on, I will not sell myself short.  I may be small, but I have a hell of a lot of opinions, plans, and dreams--more than some six-foot people out there, I'd say.  The next time someone mentions my height or the smallness of my feet, I am going to either:

  1. Smile, and change the subject.
  2. Tell them to go away.
  3. Punch them in the face.
Since I am soon going to be in a position where I will literally know no one, I think I will try to avoid options 2 and 3.  Otherwise I have a feeling I would have a hard time making new friends...

That being said, I encourage you to not sell yourself short (literally, figuratively, or both)!

true grits

The things I would do for my Great-Grandma Roxie's cheese grits.  And fudge.  Oh man, her fudge.  I still remember the bitterness I felt when I found out during the summer of 2003 that the last piece had been eaten.

In my eighteen years, I've been lucky enough to have spent time in Alabama two summers, and two fourth of Julys (How American of me!).  I remember my first hushpuppy like it was just yesterday.  The best part of Alabama, other than spending time with family I don't usually get to see, is the food.  Namely... everything.  But especially the grits.  And fried seafood.  If there is one thing that I consistantly daydream about, it's getting my hands on some real Southern food.

As I was searching for something to eat for lunch yesterday, it hit me harder than it has ever hit before.  I said aloud, "I WANT GRITS!" into my innocent refrigerator.  It was time to fend for myself.  I had to try my hand at my own magical cheese grits.  Already excitingly thinking of a clever blog post title (I was quite proud of this one), I googled "cheese grits" and found this recipe (and was a bit disappointed when I spotted that the recipe was featured on a episode called "True Grits".  I thought I was so clever!  And then I saw that the recipe was posted six years before the movie came out and felt supercool again. YES.  Edit:  I'm not cool at all.  It was originally a movie in the sixties.  It's still clever though...  Right?  Right...).

Turns out, grits are pretty simple to make.  I'm sad I didn't try to make them earlier.  Still, they weren't nearly as magical as my Great-Grandma's.

As I was overdosing on the cheese, I realized that I love cheese more than should be allowed.  My cheese intake is probably 2392830 times more than the average human being.  So when I noticed this morning that I didn't have any cheese in my breakfast (I had yummy crepes with fruit) I decided to challenge myself to a cheese-free day.  It's 8:15 right now and I haven't cracked.  Yet.

expecto patronum

Scotland, July 2nd, 2009
Less than an hour ago, I was stupefied by an otherwise harmless Facebook app.  I was about to "discover my patronus" when it demanded, "Think of a memory--the happiest you can remember."  I quit the application abruptly, rather flustered.  What was my happiest memory?  Surely, I must have one...  And yet nothing immediately came to mind.
I racked my brain.  The first to crop up weren't quite specific memories.  I thought of reading Harry Potter for the first time.  I thought of late nights sewing and the feeling of determination and bliss it evoked.  I remembered a non-descript afternoon feeling particularly content while folding laundry.  I remembered seeing the stars on the beach for the first time--I mean, really seeing them--when I arrived in Hawaii (also for the first time) late at night.  I thought of holidays spent with family, talking and eating.  And yet, not a concrete, hands-down, happiest memory.  Because fortunately, I have an incredibly happy life.  How could I pick one, overwhelmingly happy moment?
Then I thought of my last day in Paris, when we went to Montmartre.  Yes, this must be my happiest memory, I thought excitedly.  Although I didn't take any pictures (it was literally the only place I didn't), I remember the day so perfectly (and often daydream about it).  Walking around aimlessly, looking at the artists at work (I bought a lovely painting/sketch), being given little chocolates in the chocolate shop, and my favorite--drinking chocolat chaud under the tent of an outdoor cafĂ© (of the restaurant where we later had the most wonderful onion soup) in the pouring rain.  
Still, was that the happiest I've ever been?  I focused on Europe, on the places I went.  Then suddenly, it hit me, and I started to tear up.  This, I realized, was my happiest memory:
We were driving from Scotland to England.  Thanks to my obsessive documenting (although I do remember it very clearly), I actually have the moment caught precisely in my travel journal...
July 2nd, 2009
Just now back on the bus I had a lovely moment, an ultra-content moment.  I got my iPod out and clicked shuffle and Rogue Wave came on.  I listened as I looked out the window and heard the lyrics "Screw California" and was thinking a bit and remembered I'm due in California for Yearbook Camp quite soon--and this information just exploded in my mind, because this is not a dream, I am in Scotland.  I have a wonderful life back in the States.
I think being so separated from my life at home has made an impression on me.  I think this a very good thing, especially because I've never been ungrateful before and yet I feel so different about my life somehow.  I'm not sure how that works.  I guess it's a bit like stepping back and giving things a good look--It looks good.  I have so much to look forward to... from Yearbook to someday studying abroad (which I now am positive I will give a go at, possibly in Dublin if I don't get much better with my French).
I just want to run around the castles and up the hills all my life, with the sky laughing so much it cries.  I am very happy, especially after seeing yet another poster for Harry Potter & HBP.  
Until later--
And that, my friends, is my happiest memory, because it marked a small, yet greatly significant realization and opened my heart to a world of countless opportunities of happiness.
What's yours?

stay classy, san diego

For the 4th of July, my family and I drove to San Diego!  This was the third summer in a row that I've been to San Diego.  I think one of the summers I actually went twice, thanks to Yearbook camp!

We stayed downtown most of the time, and ventured out to Coronado to get our beach fix.

I found the best store ever in Seaport Village.  It was filled with SOCKS!  I got a pair of pink and brown ones with little elk on them.

There was also another my kind of stuff with everything retro:  Coke a Cola merch, postcards with famous classic actors (like my girl Audrey), and old fashioned candy.

One of the perks of traveling is that there is always that one (or dozen) tourist shop that is ready for Christmas all year round.

At the top of our hotel, we could see everything!

On the 4th we went to the wonderful San Diego Zoo.  I love peacocks.  The clicking noise they make while they flaunt their feathers is crazy!  Apparently this bird wasn't interested though.

As you can tell, my sister loves getting her picture taken.


Koalas are just cute and cuddly, you know?

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts...

My dad and I went on the supercool sky ride over the zoo.

And this... This is just hilarious.

ten years in the making


Yesterday my wonderful friends joined me in watching movies 5-7, eating Harry Potter-themed treats, waiting in line for six hours, and waiting in the theatre (in our awesome seats) for two more.

Luna Lovegood (Emily), Moaning Myrtle (Dahlya), and Mrs. Weasley.

Erin made golden snitch cake pops!  I can't bring myself to get rid of the quidditch field.  I think it might stay in my room forever...

I made butterbeer cupcakes.

Melanie made cookie pops!  Props to this Only a Fan of the Movies girl, but SHE STILL NEEDS TO READ THEM!  So does Erin, as a matter of fact.

Emily made Dirigible Plum pudding!  Yes, in fact she is one of the coolest people ever.

Kate helped me make pretzel wands.

The tickets!

Gildroy Lockhart (Denton) and Hogwarts student (Eric).

Harry (Domenico) and Ginny (Erin).

Death Eater (Rylee).

Gryffindor cuties (Rachel and Spencer).

Harry's Patronus (Kate) and dementor (Ken).

Thirteen-year-old girl who wouldn't stop talking to us/photobombing, Bill Weasley (Heston), Chrookshanks (Tab), and Tonks (Kiko).

Ken hadn't seen the sixth and seventh movies, so we made sure he watched both of them before the eighth film.  Luckily, we had the time.

Professor Trelawney (Megan)!

Shannon is a muggle, but we let her join the magic anyway.

That'll be Dobby (Nick) on the left.


Guess who Sarah was!

Everyone keeps asking me, "Is it everything you hoped for?"  

The short answer is... Yes.   

The long answer is... Mostly yes.  I've always made excuses for why they left out parts of the books in previous films, but for the first time it felt like a personal blow, especially because I thought that they would try their best to include everything because it was their last chance to and had the least amount of chapters they've ever had to work with.  Dumbledore's story just completely got the back-burner.  However, I understand why they made the cuts and alterations, so I can't keep a grudge against the people who brought to life the books that define my childhood and made the magic last this much longer.  In the end, the books will always be richer and have more depth.  There's no argument there.  On the whole, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was awesome, magical, emotional, wonderful, scary, beautiful, and unlike any other movie I've ever seen.

The thing that I think they did really well, much more than any other film, was create an atmosphere of complete terror.  A movie has never made me felt so terrified and queasy.  This isn't a kids movie, I can tell you that.  When Harry Imperiuses the goblin at Gringotts, I think the dopey expression on his face was supposed to be funny, but I found it really scary.  The Imperius curse is horrifying to me--being under the control of someone else is a frightening thought.  But I guess that's why it's a Unforgivable Curse!  The sprawled-out goblins as well...  Awful.  VOLDEMORT IS SO BAD.  So much blood is spilled, and so much slaughter takes place.  It's horrible.  Just horrible.  It was completely weird and unnerving seeing the students of Hogwarts in an atmosphere of such blatant murder and death.  However, I was holding up pretty well until it cut to a scene of Fenir Greyback biting and killing Lavendar Brown.  That just made me so sick.  From then on, I was a wreck.  When they showed Snape with Voldemort, I was immediately beside myself with tears.  Then his death and the pensieve flashbacks...  MERLIN'S PANTS!  I had to try to keep my sobbing quiet for the sake of the people around me, but when Dumbledore says, "After all this time?" and Snape replies, "Always"... Well, I let escape a little noise typical of hysteric crying.  Alan Rickman played the perfect Snape these past ten years.  I just want to hug him.  Always. 

Another thing they somehow magically managed to do was inject humor into the bleak events.  I found myself laughing at countless one-liners from everyone from Professor McGonnagall to Neville to...well, Voldemort.  The Dark Lord seemed to be comic relief at times, which I am not sure was fully intended.  His weird little noises and part in the Most Awkward Hug to Ever be Captured on Film left the entire theatre in a fit of giggles.  Having to hug Voldemort is reason enough to not join the dark side.

A few more thoughts:  The Hermione/Ron kiss was awesome, but I think I prefer the sweetness of the book version.  I was beyond confused when Neville announced his love for Luna, but I can't be too angry about it, because I always wanted Luna to end up with Harry or Neville in the books.  Seeing Fred, Tonks, and Lupin was devastating.  We clapped and cheered when Mrs. Weasley killed Bellatrix and Neville killed Nagini.  I thought it was kind of hilarious that not one person clapped or cheered when Voldemort was killed, but whatevs.  I myself felt quite victorious when it happened.  The epilogue was great.  It could've been super cheesy, but they did it well.

And then it ended.  There were hugs.  When Erin and Domenico drove me home, I made them put on Voldemort is Going Down.  When I got out of the car, they thanked me for planning the party and as I usually say, I replied, "Anytime," but being the drama queen I truly am deep inside, I went on, "except actually not, because this is never going to happen ever again."  And then I walked to my door like a big baby.

Of course I couldn't go to sleep yet, so I cleaned up and read "Harry Potter: The Ultimate Movie Celebration" insert from Empire, which went through each of the eight films with interviews and pictures, while listening to Maggie's aptly titled mix CD, "Post-Potter Depression" that I conveniently got in my fantastic blogger swap package earlier in the day.  Tears were involved, but mostly I realized how incredibly lucky I am to have been a part of such a monumental thing.  When the CD ended, I placed my Harry Potter wand on my nightstand and went to sleep with at least some sense of closure.

One of my favorite parts in the final film was when Harry talks to Dumbledore at King's Cross (and not just because Daniel Radcliffe looks mighty fine in gray and I got to see Dumbledore).  I think they did so well with this scene, which makes me infinitely happy.  The scene perfectly sums up the whole Harry Potter business to me:  

When Dumbledore said, "Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic," I immediately thought of the magic JK Rowling has provided to my very, very fortunate generation and how I am going to share the magic with my children someday.  Thank you, Jo, for making my childhood the most magical it could possibly be.  You are literally the coolest person alive.

When Dumbledore said, "Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love," I thought about how Harry Potter is the ultimate story of love conquering all.
When Dumbledore said, "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?", I thought about how just because the magical world of Harry Potter is in our imaginations, doesn't mean that it is any less real to us.  

All was well.

freaking out: 1 more day

ONE MORE FREAKING DAY!  Can't believe it's nearly here.  Today the lovely Rachel had us over to make sushi and watch the first three films.  I also ate way too many cookies and a couple of pretzel (broken) wands...  Oh well. Emily and I were Luna!  Her lion hat wins.  Mine is my knit one I got in Flagstaff.  Anyway, Rachel and I got some vital reading in (we are determined to finish the seventh book before the movie tomorrow) and all of us enjoyed many Potter-tastic conversations.  Hooray!

goosebumps, stress, and wrock & roll: 2 more days

If I counted the number of times I've gotten goosebumps over the last couple of weeks, I would be in the bazillion digits.  The things you do to me, Harry Potter.  The things you put me through!

My excitement has somewhat turned into terror, which is heightened by the ever-looming prospect of growing up and dealing with college business.  I feel like my wedding is this Thursday night at midnight!  I am BEYOND excited.  It's all I can think about.  But then I start worrying about getting there on time (people already waiting in line: YOU ARE GIVING ME ANXIETY), getting enough seats for my friends, having enough time to finish the seventh book (I just have to, you know?), finding time to make more Butterbeer cupcakes, etc...  It's all very silly, I realize this, but the end of the Harry Potter books and films signify a giant, enormous, bigger-than-Hagrid-and-Grawp-combined step in my life:  Growing up (or trying to, at least), moving out, and going to college.  And it's hitting me.  Harder than a bludger.  I'm as ready to go to college as any other incoming freshman, but emotionally at the moment, being in third grade reading Harry Potter for the first time sounds pretty appealing at the moment... I miss getting away with bringing a book out to dinner.

Venting aside, I happily wore my Harry & the Potters shirt today (I was a subtle Hermione on Sunday), jammed out to their first album (that I bought in fifth or sixth grade--not sure which) and A Very Potter Musical (for the 39482th time in the past few weeks, I'm sure of it) in the car, and purchased what seemed to be the last copy of the Harry Potter Empire at Barnes & Noble.  I went in looking for the Harry Potter Entertainment Weekly, but didn't find it.  It's all good, because Empire is beautiful!  If I lived in the UK, I would definitely have a subscription.

And now I leave you with some wrock (that's wizard rock for you muggles out there) songs, because all I've been listening to lately is AVPM, Harry & the Potters, and wrock songs.

This last one is so beautiful.

human hosepipe: 5 more days

I just got back from the first Harry Potter party of the Deathly Hallows season.  We dressed up, did trivia, played quidditch, and watched Deathly Hallows Part 1.  I even tried out a new recipe--BUTTERBEER CUPCAKES!  I think they turned out pretty good, however I've never had the pleasure to try real Butterbeer (although two of my friends have, those lucky ducks) so I don't know any better.

As a storm raged on, we watched the film and chatted.  It was quite a relief hearing about everyone else's personal cryfests during this tough time.  I'm glad I'm not the only one pulling a Cho Chang, breaking out in tears at any given moment.  This video that I so cruely posted on Facebook a few months ago was brought up in conversation.  Warning:  It launched 48091283091 tears.  Sorry 'bout that...

After the movie ended, I headed home in the storm.  It was only sprinkling, but the sky was occasionally lit by forceful lightning.  With the Voldemort-like lightning, the warm buttery smell left by the Butterbeer cupcakes, and A Very Potter Musical blasting, I drove home feeling quite nostalgic (and human hosepipe-esque once more).  You know something monumental is coming to a close when you're nostalgic before it's even ended.  But like an enchanted snitch once wisely advised, "I open at the close"... The end is near, but the magic will continue to flourish (& Blotts)!

livin' the HP life: 7 more days

Of course, I have been rereading the entire series all summer (I'm almost done with Half Blood Prince at the moment).  I've been tweeting quotes, taking pictures of funny things such as above (Sirius being serious), and getting lost in the wonderful world of Harry Potter.

In San Diego, I saw the trio.

And a very animated Harry.

I read non-stop during our trip (we just got home yesterday).  I wasn't the only one reading Harry Potter.  My sister's reading the first book and my dad reread the second part of Deathly Hallows in preparation for the movie.  Twice.  Twice before reading the Epilogue.  He claims he's not in denial, but I think otherwise.

A man came up to me while I was reading to see what book I was reading and proceeded to say, "That one's the best one!" and share his plans to make an animated version of the seven books word-by-word.  He went on to say that he loved the films, but was disappointed they left out so much in the larger novels.  "Harry Potter and the Half-Told Story" is what he called the sixth movie.  It made me happy that  a fellow Harry Potter enthusiast reached out, especially when he was over twice my age.

My copy of Order of the Phoenix fell apart on the drive there, but that is okay because it made it lighter and of course I have the hardcover (that I distinctively remember getting at midnight at Barnes & Noble with my dad).  Yep, already I've gone through two Goblet of Fires.  My poor children will think I tried feeding my paperback editions to the Whomping Willow.

Today I watched two kiddos that are fellow Harry Potter lovers.  Imagine my delight when the older one saw my Harry & the Potters CD as I was going for the requested Glee CD (Sidenote:  I am happy to announce that I have at least these two referring to my car as the Glee-mobile due to the GLE on the back)!  The backseat filled with giggles during each song.  We even made a few music videos.  Hooray! The Harry Potter fun didn't end when I got home... (Does it ever end?  NO.)

Maggie tweeted about this song, so of course I looked it up and ended up crying for 5:51 minutes.  Thankfully my dad magically appeared in my doorway with a present for me:  Harry Potter silly bands. I love that guy.

All morning I read tweets from the HP cast about the London premiere.  When I went to MuggleNet to check out everyone's fancy attire just now, I got smacked right in the face like an uncalled for Bat-Bogey hex (gross) with this video.  Cue more tears.

Just a (Fluffy has three) heads up, this blog is officially HARRY POTTER 24/8!  Yes, eight days a week, my friends.