visiting hogwarts

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! We had a whirlwind few days of eating, visiting family and friends, eating, opening presents… did I mention eating?!? Thought I’d share a little family pic we took before heading over to my cousin’s on Christmas Eve…

Now to FINALLY get started on my Florida trip report! YAY.

I’m going to start with our visit to Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure. Where we visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on Thurs, 12/1. !!!

WARNING: PIC HEAVY ENTRY! (Feel free to click each pic for bigger).

Walking up to the entrance…


The Hogwarts Express! SQUEE!

Then Hogsmeade. It’s so detailed! STUNNING.

And finally…

HOGWARTS. As we were walking up to the castle, I suddenly felt so overwhelmed. Everything looked absolutely perfect and I couldn’t believe we were actually there!

We went on all 3 rides in the Wizarding World, the best of which was Forbidden Journey. It’s not a roller coaster but it’s definitely a thrill ride — the ride spins, twists, and drops you every which way as you soar through Hogwarts with the trio. It’s AH-MAY-ZING. Probably in my Top 3 rides EVER.

It even features a fan-freaking-tastic queue where you see…

The Mirror of Erised…

Professor Sprout’s greenhouse…

the House Points…

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end of an era

It’s here. HARRY POTTER day.

I was hoping to see the movie this weekend but we have a wedding, baby shower and birthday to attend so I’m not sure when I’ll have the chance. Hopefully soon.

I can hardly believe that after Deathly Hallows, Part 2, there won’t be any more movies to look forward to or obsess over.


I love the movies for bringing one of my favorite book series to life. And for introducing the world to Dan Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson. Look how much they’ve grown!

Sorceror’s Stone

Chamber of Secrets

Prisoner of Azkaban

Goblet of Fire

Order of the Phoenix

Half-Blood Prince

Deathly Hallows, Part 1

I LOVE THEM. Thanks Leaky Cauldron for the pics. The inspiration for this mini picspam came from Hero Complex and their own slideshow of the actors through the years.

I also have to share this video of behind the scenes footage from the last days of shooting…

I’m seriously crying right now.

Thank you, Harry. (Yes, I stole that from last week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly. No, I don’t care).

happy things, (almost) july edition

Rob’s out of town this weekend so I decided to take advantage and start watching True Blood. I saw the first couple of episodes at a friend’s place back when the series first started but I didn’t have HBO at the time so I never bothered to finish the season. It didn’t help that I wasn’t particularly enamored with the episodes I did see. I’ve since heard that the show definitely picks up after that point. And now that I’ve read the first 6 books of the Sookie Stackhouse series (which I enjoy), I thought I’d give it another chance. Hopefully I’ll like it much better this time around. 🙂

So it’s about that time for another Happy Things entry — this time it’s the (almost) July edition!

1. House-iversary! Rob and I have been living in our house for the past year. CRAZY. It really doesn’t seem that long. Particularly since we’re not even done furnishing or organizing the boxes in our garage. Not to mention that…

2. We JUST now (mostly) finished the work in our (tiny) yard. Yes, after a year! We had sod and pavers installed last September but since then, we’ve let weeds grow in the surrounding soil. Oops. Finally, two weeks ago, with my dad’s help, we got rid of the weeds, prepared the soil, and added plants. YAY.

3. The upcoming Fourth of July holiday. One of my favorites. Love how laid back it is. Not sure what our plans are for the long weekend but it’ll probably involve some work around the house. Maybe Rob will fire up the grill. 😀 And we can catch up on summer movies (still want to see Bridesmaids, X-Men: First Class, and Super 8).

4. Speaking of movies… HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART 2. !!! I can’t believe it’s almost over. *sob* I’ve already convinced Rob we NEED to see it opening weekend.

5. Two weddings and a baby shower. 🙂 I’m going to be an aunt! My cousin’s wife is pregnant — since I have no siblings, I’m claiming their (future) daughter as my niece.

Bonus happy thing!

6. Comic-Con. We’re going the full 4 days again. I CAN’T WAIT. This time we’ll have other friends with us — it’s going to be great.

Random. I’ve had Bruno Mars’s “The Lazy Song” on repeat. This is like my summer anthem…

Today I don’t feel like doing anything
I just want to lay in my bed
Don’t feel like picking up my phone
So leave a message at the tone
Cause today I swear I’m not doing anything

hp and the deathly hallows, part 1

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I sure did. 🙂 I didn’t take many pictures but I’ll try to post a holiday recap over the weekend.

So… this review (of sorts) is super late. But I wanted to write it for posterity. 🙂

I loved Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. I really, really did. The movie felt less like an adaptation (the way Prisoner of Azkaban was) and more of a faithful translation of the book but it worked. It was dark, intense and suspenseful when it needed to be yet it also had moments of humor to temper all the emotions.

I have to say that the trio is amazing. The producers really lucked out many years ago with the casting of Dan, Rupert and Emma. This movie features them so much and they delivered.

Cutting the rest for spoilers…
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december’s happy things

It’s been a really tough past few weeks at work and I haven’t felt much like blogging. It’s the kind of tough where I’ve been waking up in the morning absolutely dreading the day. 🙁 But things are calming down now (dare I say it’s even slow?) and I’m eagerly counting down the days until our holiday break… I need it!

But that’s enough of that. This is a no-work zone. I want to think about my current 5 Happy Things!

1. Putting up our Christmas tree.

Rob and I always put up our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. What can I say? We’re (ok, *I’M*) always super excited to usher Christmas into our home.

2. Girls’ Weekend in Palm Springs with the BFFs.

We stayed overnight at the Ace Hotel and despite the unusually cool weather for this time of year, it was an awesome getaway filled with lots of food, girl time and even a viewing of Eclipse. Perfect.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.

OMG. The movie was amazing. Probably one of my favorites of the 7 so far. I’d love to watch it again. I’ll get to a review soon.

4. Next week’s 3-day trip to San Francisco. Yes, it’s for work so I have work obligations but I’m looking forward to seeing friends and just being in the city again. I miss the hustle and bustle!

5. My domain! The server hosting my site failed earlier this week so it was down for a couple of days. And I missed it! OF COURSE I wouldn’t be able to access my site at the exact time I’m itching to blog. But now it’s back. YAY.

Do you have any happy things to share? 🙂 Diesel wants to know.

hbp thoughts

Lack of blogging again. I’ve been in kind of a funk lately (work sucks) so I haven’t been up to it.

But I went to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last week and I HAVE to write up my thoughts! I liked it (but didn’t LOVE it). I think I’m getting old because I really wanted to go to a midnight showing (love the crowd, the anticipation, etc) but was too tired after work. Heh.

I sat next to a pair of IDIOTS who talked the ENTIRE TIME. I couldn’t actually hear their conversation but I don’t think they were even trying to whisper. UGH. Why pay $11 for a movie and then not even pay attention? You can talk outside for FREE.


First off, they really had to cut A LOT. And I know that’s the nature of adapting the book to a movie but if I wasn’t a fan, I don’t know how I would follow along!

I guess I should cut for spoilers?
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meme time

Rob’s out of town again this week so I have the TV all to myself. MWAHAHAHA.

There was nothing on last night besides American Idol so I watched it. I realized I haven’t watched it regularly in over 2 seasons. I kinda felt out of touch. I actually forgot how painful it can be watching the show live. Eek. Katharine McPhee was there as a guest. She is freaking gorgeous. Ugh. Hate her. (Just kidding, kind of).

I just read about the decision to split up Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into 2 movies. They should just make 1 movie (even if it’s lengthy) and be done with it. Thumbs down.

I’m at work right now and cannot focus on anything so I have decided to do this meme. Stolen from Nicola

01. What time did you get up this morning?
6:45am… far later than usual. So of course, I was running around like a crazy person trying to leave the apartment on time. When Rob’s out of town, I have to take a bus to the train station and that thing does not come all that often.
02. Diamonds or pearls?
Both please. Thanks.
03. What was the last movie you saw?
It’s been awhile. I *think* the last movie I saw was Enchanted. I totally want to see The Other Boleyn Girl and also Step Up 2 (shut up :P). But I bet I won’t see any movies in the theatre until the summer blockbusters are released.
04. Where is the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
Paris. I have a love affair with the city.
05. What do you usually have for breakfast?
Either cereal (Cheerios) or oatmeal. And also tea — I particularly love the Strawberry Cream tea from Coffee Bean. Some Fridays I’ll treat myself to a nonfat Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks for making it through the work week.
06. What is your middle name?
Lachica. It’s my mom’s maiden name.
07. What food do you dislike?
I don’t like anything slimy. This includes okra and uni (sea urchin).
08. What is your favorite CD?
Probably the Rent soundtrack (original Broadway cast version). With *N Sync’s No Strings Attached as a close second. HEE.
09. What kind of car do you drive?
No car for me. :/
10. Favorite sandwich?
I love pastrami sandwiches. Mmmm. I also really like turkey and avocado on a croissant. YUM.

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hp7 thoughts

So. Again with the Harry Potter. Sorry guys!

I’ve been in a “post-Potter state of depression” (tm Sarah) since finishing the last book. It seems so silly but I’m incredibly sad. 🙁 It’s been a great ride for me… I didn’t start reading the books until the summer of 2001, right after college graduation. I was a “late bloomer,” as they say, hehe. One of my college roommates recommended them to me after she read the first 4 books during our senior year. I remember wondering why in the world she was reading children’s books. Little did I know. 😀 Fast forward to the summer when I had no job (no full-time job anyway) and lots of free time to do nothing. It sounds fun but doing nothing all day gets old pretty quickly. I used to pick up books from the Borders across the street regularly and one day, I finally broke down and bought the first HP book. After reading the first few pages, I was hooked. And I raced through the next 3 books that same week.

The HP world has been a part of my life since then. That’s 6 years of re-reading the series, speculation and discussion, impatient anticipation for the next installments and midnight release parties. It just doesn’t seem real that Harry’s story is over. Well, at least there’s always the last 2 movies! They’re not nearly as good as the books but I love them just the same.

I feel so lucky to have been a part of the HP phenomenon. As soon as I got home with Deathly Hallows, I knew that millions of people around the world were doing the exact same thing I was. I find that freaking incredible, you know? Anyway, I sat down to type up my thoughts on DH and I’ve totally went off on a random tangent, lol.

Here goes.

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hp meme

That was me after picking up Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last night. I’m wearing my Harry Potter track jacket (it’s similar to his triwizard robes in the GoF movie) and my Gryffindor scarf. 😀 HEE. But uhhh, please excuse my greasy face. My friends and I checked out the midnight release party but there wasn’t anything going on that captured our attention so we came back to my apartment and played Harry Potter Scene It? until about 11:15 when we went back to Borders to get in line to buy the book. SQUEE. The line went super fast and Rob and I were home by 12:30. (We live right across the street from Borders). Of, course, I cracked the book open right away.

And I finished it tonight. But don’t worry, no spoilers here… I’m going to wait a bit to let the finality of the series sink in and then I’ll post my thoughts. Maybe tomorrow.

For now, an HP meme courtesy of Sarah

Favorite Book: Goblet of Fire. I just love the Triwizard tournament and the Yule Ball. Prisoner of Azkaban is a *very* close second.
Favorite Character: Harry. I can’t help it. ILUFFHIMSO.
Favorite Movie: Prisoner of Azakaban. So far, it’s been my favorite interpretation.
Favorite Spell: Expecto Patronum. The idea of your happy thoughts acting as a a protector against dementors is just so hopeful.
Favorite Couple: Harry and Hermione. I know it’s not canon. But their relationship touches me just the same.
Favorite Magical Building: Hogwarts.
Favorite Magical Creature: House-elves.
Favorite Non-Human Character: Hedwig!
Favorite Scene: This isn’t fair… there’s so many! Off the top of my head… all the Time-Turning scenes and learning about the Marauders in PoA, St. Mungo’s and Dumbledore’s Army in OotP, the Yule Ball in GoF… I’m sure there’s tons more.
Favorite Family: Well, the Weasleys, of course!
Favorite Class: Charms.
Favorite Movie Scene: Again, I have a few… when the trio first meet on the Hogwarts Express in SS, the Gryffindor boys eating candy in their tower on their first night back at Hogwarts in PoA, Harry asking Cho to the Yule Ball in GoF, and all the Dumbledore’s Army scenes in OotP.
Favorite HP website: Don’t really have one. Though I do always go to The Leaky Cauldron for news… it’s too bad the site layout is awful and loads so slowly.
Favorite House: Gryffindor!
Favorite Bad-Guy: Draco Malfoy.
Favorite room in Hogwarts: Gryffindor Common Room.
Favorite Teacher: Professor McGonagall.
Favorite Ministry Employee: Kingsley Shacklebolt. Or Tonks.
Favorite Ministry Department: Department of Magical Games and Sports? Or maybe the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
Favorite Magical Transportation: Apparition.

more ootp thoughts

I have seriously been hit with Harry Potter mania.

I’ve decided to re-read the entire series before diving into Deathly Hallows this weekend. I’m currently on Goblet of Fire. 😀

So I’m sitting here at work (shhh! don’t tell!) thinking about the differences between Order of the Phoenix movie and the book. I know they had to cut a lot out due to time but I would have loved to see:

— The Howler Dumbledore sent to Aunt Petunia (REMEMBER MY LAST, PETUNIA!)
— St. Mungo’s
— Snape’s worst memory (ok ok, I know this was in the movie but I would have liked to see MORE of it — and with Lily too)
Other thoughts:
— Was it just me or was Mrs. Figg totally… off? She completely didn’t match what I had envisioned.
— I don’t care for Michael Gambon’s interpretation of Dumbledore. He doesn’t understand the character. At all. I didn’t notice it much in PoA or GoF but it was pretty jarring in OotP.

Ok, back to work…