Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
- The Shadow of Your Smile, C
- Turn of the Screw, B
- The Thirteenth Tale, B
- Jude the Obscure, B+
- The Beatrice Letters, B
- Lemony Snicket, A-
- The End, A-
- The Penultimate Peril, A
- The Grim Grotto, A-
- Beastly, C
- The Slippery Slope, B+
- The Carnivorous Carnival, A
- The Hostile Hospital, B+
- The Vile Village, B+
- The Ersatz Elevator, A
- Sisterhood Everlasting, C+
- The Austere Academy, A
- The Miserable Mill, B+
- The Wide Window, A-
- The Reptile Room, A
- The Bad Beginning, A-
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, A
- The High King, A-
- Taran Wanderer, B+
- The Castle of Llyr, B+
- The Black Cauldron, A
- The Book of Three, A-
- Entwined, A-
- The Invisible Man, B
- The Island of Dr. Moreau, A
- White Fang, B+
- Crocodile on the Sandbank, B-
- Cold Comfort Farm, A-
- Clockwork Three, B
- The Return of the King, A
- The Two Towers, A
- Fellowship of the Ring, A+
- Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, A
- Mockingjay, B+
- The Princess Bride, B+
- The Silmarillion, A+
- The Phantom of the Opera, B
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, C+
- Violet Eyes, C+
- Alice in Wonderland, B+
- The Dark Divine, C-
- The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, B+
- Neverwhere, B+
- James and the Giant Peach, B+
- The Witches, A
- The Incredible Journey, A-
- The Luxe: B
- Julie & Julia: C+
- The Girl Who Could Fly: C+
- Just Take My Heart, C+
- Peace Like a River, A
- Three Willows, B
- The Prestige, A
- The Return of the King, A+
- The Two Towers, A
- The Fellowship of the Ring, A+
- The Hobbit, A-
- The Children of Hurin, A+
- Brave New World, A
- Catching Fire, B+
- The Hunger Games, A-
- The Graveyard Book, A+
- Camille, B+
- Confessions of a Shopaholic, C+
- Everyone Worth Knowing, B+
- On the Street Where You Live, B+
- I'll Be Seeing You, B+
- The Devil Wears Prada, B+
- Everyone Else's Girl, C-
- Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, B-
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle, A-
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, A-
- A Great and Terrible Beauty, B
- The Talented Mr. Ripley, A-
- Persuasion, A+
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, A-
- The Wrath of Mulgarath, B
- Coraline, A
- The Ironwood Tree, B-
- Lucinda's Secret, B
- The Seeing Stone, B
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, A+
- Return of the Native, A-
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: A-
- Forever in Blue, B-
- Girls in Pants, B+
- At Home in Mitford, Karon: B
- The Dollmage, Leavitt: C
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: A-
- Far From the Madding Crowd: A-
Friday, December 16, 2011
To back up, last night little Quinn got attacked by some kind of stupid virus thing. It completely confunded avast!, slowed things down and kept my Internet from working, even after a boot scan took care of a few files. I wound up doing a system restore and so far that seems to have fixed the problem. But it is so so so annoying to me that instead of working on the things I planned to do last night I had to instead do a bunch of scans and restarts and fussing, all because some girl with a lip ring (see the aforementioned episode) made this stupid virus.
Anyway. This vexes me, but in the interest of ending on a positive note, here's a gif.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
I'm also grateful for the time to do arts. There's been a lot less time this year than in years past, but I'm happy to have the time I get. Okay, maybe sometimes I complain about not having more time, but at this moment I am having a better sense of perspective. I cannot do all things! ANYway, the other night I colored up a little something that Drewbles drew for me. The story behind this picture is best told in an excerpt from one of my e-mails to D-Rew:
"People think it’s hip to be heartless! But only I am ACTually hiply heartless. That’s like my Voldemort line, instead of “Only I can live forever” I say “Only I can be hiply heartless.” And then I’ll say “Nyyyyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” and hold my wand all funny. Probably in my case a wooden spoon would be more appropriate."
With that introduction, here is my Blogger profile picture:
Now back the cake. Happy Thanksgiving
Monday, November 21, 2011
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
I made this twice. Not necessarily because I loved it that much, but because the pie crust came in a pair. It was good, but it was much more chocolatey than pumpkiny. That would be great if I wanted a chocolate pie, but I really wanted pumpkin pie. I also had to cook it quite a bit longer to avoid a totally goopy middle.
Colonial Pumpkin Bars
I actually made these last year, but even now we talk about how good they are. I think that's all I need to say.
I liked using pumpkin in a main dish, and this was good. But, like the chocolate pie, this wasn't quite pumpkiny enough for me. Maybe that's from using a little more ricotta than the recipe called for, I don't know. Overall it reminded me very much of butternut squash.
Pumpkin Pancakes with Apple Cider Syrup
Once again, I would have been happy with a stronger pumpkin flavor (I just REALLY like pumpkin), but that said, these were still super delicious pancakes. And the syrup? It's better than the pancakes, which is saying something. Really, you gots to try the syrup. The recipe made a lot of both--I would probably halve it for just the two of us. I should say I will halve it because we'll definitely be eating these again.
Whole Pumpkin Pie Soup
This year I wanted to do something different from our usual dinner in a pumpkin and this was a great alternative. I made this kind of last minute and wound up using one of the pumpkins we had outside the door and it worked just fine. And by "fine" I mean "deliciously."
Caramel Apple Cider Cookies
Okay, they're not pumpkiny but cider is equally seasonal and I love it. Also, I LOVE these cookies. I haven't stopped thinking about them since I made them last night. Just writing this is making me want to go over and get another one. Nom nom nom.
Roasted Tomato Soup
Okay, this isn't pumpkiny either but soup is seasonal, right? Tomatoes are one of my very favorite foods so it's no surprise I would like this soup, but I really really really like this soup. I wound up not baking it with the "lids", and instead just broiled some cheese on crusty bread and put it in the soup after. Still tasty and a little faster.
This recipe gets an ! because it's my favorite of the pumpkin goodies. I got this recipe from one of my sisters-in-law, who got it from one of her sisters, I believe. Drewbles and I struggle to not eat the pan all at once. It's SO good, even with its silly name. Make it! To make it is to love it.
1 can pumpkin puree
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ginger
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.)
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 t. nutmeg
white or yellow cake mix
1/2 c. butter, melted
Mix all ingredients except cake mix and butter, and pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle cake mix on top, then drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Well. Lately I have been thinking that maybe it was time to move on from the dots at long last. But I wasn't sure what to change it to. I'm still not into the scrapbook thing and my own ideas were rather uninspired. UNTIL. Last Saturday morning as I was running down Center Street it came to me. "Brilliant!" I said to myself. "Don't forget it." (I always make a point of telling myself not to forget my brilliant plans) I have had many great ideas in my time that I never followed through on, but this one I did. And it looks just how I want and I did it all myself!
So, the point of all this is that the dots are finally gone. I probably should have taken a screenshot of the old look since I don't think that template is even available anymore. Anyway, check it out the new look and praise my cleverness if you feel so inclined.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Little bits of cheese
Baked into crackers for me
I’ll eat you all up
Also, in the process of finding an image of a Cheezit box
Monday, November 07, 2011
Not like "Here are my deep thoughts on this song, let me show you them" kind of thinking. My thoughts are more along the lines of "That's a great song. I should listen it a lot." And to paraphrase the daddio in Princess & the Frog, a song that good just gotta be shared. Not that I want to replace Bono with Michael Stipe or anything.
Side note: why is U2 not as good as this anymore?
Friday, November 04, 2011
And now I'll tell the story. I told my sister that if she came to visit me, I'd make her that cake. Well. TRIUMPH.
So I made her that cake. I was a little nervous, but I've recently acquired some things that make cakes more of my friend.
Why did no one tell me how awesome parchment paper is? I will never suffer a half-left-in-the-pan cake again! And who knew they even made those cake turny/transporty flat metal things? Also, wow, it's a lot easier to just print out a recipe than run back and forth from the counter to the computer. Also, powdered sugar. I don't know why I put that in there. Anyway, so what did I do with my new devices? I made that strawberry cake again of course!
Just imagine a picture of it right here.
It still wasn't pretty--that frosting is NOT my friend--but hey, it looked like a cake. A delicious, slightly melty pink cake. But back to the chocolate cake.
On Sunday evening, the night before my sister left, I tackled it. I felt some trepidation but the cake turned out perfectly! The pinnacle of my cake making to date! And did I mention it was delicious? It was. Luckily we had our British friends* over to help us try it out and it was met with raves all around (thanks for the raves, friends).
So, it turns out maybe I CAN make a cake after all and that first chocolate cake in March wasn't just a fluke after all. Phew! Next week it will be time to try out some butterbeer cupcakes...
*Meaning they were in London with us, not that they are actually from Great Britain.
Thursday, November 03, 2011
The day began at 7:10 when Drew's alarm went off. He'd hit snooze, and we'd reburrow for ten more minutes. Then I would get up and stagger off to the bathroom while he reburrowed for another ten minutes. The fun thing about the bathroom was that the lights were motion activated and about halfway through my shower they'd turn off because I...wasn't moving...?
In the meantime Drew got up and put together my lunch (whatta doll). After some cereal for breakfast, I'd meet my co-worker Caity in the hallway around 8:00 and we'd leave from here...
...and head off for the nearest Tube station. When we lived in Think! that meant Earl's Court, then we'd hop over to the Piccadilly line at South Kensington station and ride it up to Green Park.
From Green Park we walked a few of these blocks...
...to get to the Society of Antiquaries library.
Steven the doorman would let us in every day, often saying something conversational that we couldn't really understand through his amazingly thick accent. Once he offered us some kind of alcoholic beverage.
So then we'd head up a rather grand carpeted staircase into the library itself. It's not large, but it is quite grand. Take a gander:
And here was our setup:
We would feed chunks of cards through the scanner, as you can kind of tell. It sounds thrilling, right? But really, it was pretty fun and you always had to be on alert to make sure they all scanned and were kept in order. We'd also have to clean the scanners a few times a day because the cards were so dusty. On an average day we'd scan about 10,000 each.
Oh and here's co-worker Caity! She looks super excited to scan more cards. Hi, Caity.
And here's me! I am also excited to scan the cards. Side note: look how long my hair is! Gee whiz.
Eventually we'd go outside to eat lunch, having some unintelligible exchange with Steven on the way. We'd sit out by the hares and read and it was a perfectly lovely way to spend a half hour. Occasionally we'd see people kicking pigeons, and on the first day we saw Bill Nighy.
Side note: my lunches were awesome because they included digestives and Babybels, along with carrot batons. Carrot batons is such a better way of saying carrot sticks, don't you think?
So we'd work the rest of the afternoon away, somehow never really getting bored. I listened to a lot of NPR, Tolkien podcasts, and the trusty iPod. Just after 5 we'd sign the ledger at the door (where we signed in at every day also) and head back the way we came. Most of the time it was a great commute, but on occasion you'd realize just how many people can fit into one train car. Let me tell you, it is a lot more than you'd think. Side note: I really miss this sound. (*sigh*)
From then on the night was ours! We had many adventures, which I've already documented. And so there you have it--my typical work day in London. I guess I should note that while I was at work, Drew would stay at our little apartment and work all the day after having going on a run through Hyde, Holland or Regent's Park (whichever we were living closest to). He also would clean the dishes and sometimes pilfer extra towels and dish soap from the cleaning trucks. Sneaky!
THERE. Now I've written this blog post, brain! That's one less thing you can harass me about!
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Last Thursday night my sister arrived in town for her long-awaited weekend trip. I'd been working an extra hour every day so I could take a half day on Friday and we had big plans. After hitting a bit of traffic, we arrived in plenty of time to pick Marci up and then we headed back to Provo. Drew had rehearsal for the stake play so we planned to pick up dinner on the way. Our original plan was Gandalfo's but as the time got later, we switched gears and went to In-n-Out instead. We loaded up on the burgers, milkshakes and fries and raced onward to get Drew to his rehearsal
Some friends joined us for the Project Runway finale and a good time was had by all. Eventually we all went to bed, where I for one totally passed out. Fast forward to around 4:00. I woke up, thinking something fell on my head (nothing had). I tried to go back to sleep but was really uncomfortable and kind of sick to my stomach. I thought it was just Aunt Irma's doing, but a while later Drew woke up, also feeling sick.
Do you see where this is going? I'll tell you: the bathroom. The vomit fairy visited me first, then several more times before poor Drewbles managed to finally throw up. In between episodes we sat in the bathroom, laid in bed or fell asleep on a pile of clothes on the floor (that'd be me). As we like to say now, In-n-Out has a whole new meaning for us.
The short version of all of this is that we spent Friday lying on the couch, feeling gross. By the early afternoon we'd stopped throwing up but we couldn't do much else. Do you want to know how many times I threw up? Do you?? Nine. NINE TIMES. That's a personal record. Don't worry, I'll spare you the other details.
So, Friday was pretty much a bust. My sister felt kind of blah all day but luckily it didn't go beyond that. I say luckily because who else would have made us toast and gone to get us medicine? We passed the hours by watching movies, TV shows and falling asleep.
Saturday dawned and we felt better, though not quite up to speed. I mean that literally because we went off to do a 10K. Was it crazy? Well, what's crazier--doing a 10K after food poisoning or wasting $70? But luckily we all survived--Drew even placed! It was Marci's first 10K and she did great, coming in under an hour. I was *ahem* after an hour BUT I ran the whole thing, and no one else in our trio could say that. I'll take my bragging points where I can when it comes to running.
The rest of the weekend was spent by trying to cram in everything we wanted to do in the time we had left. We saw Three Musketeers (better than expected, though still flawed), ate Thai food, saw Captain America in the dollar theater, got shakes from the Purple Turtle, had friend time and occasionally felt queasy. I also made a cake--but that's a story for another blog post. Before we knew it, we were going up to the airport on Monday morning (at 5...gross), dropped Marci off and went back to workday routine.
And that, my friends, is the story of the weekend. It began very unpleasantly, but it turned out all right in the end. If we had gone for our original Gandalfo's plan, things would have been different. If we had known Drew didn't need to be at rehearsal, things would have been different. Maybe I've been seeing too much LOST lately, but it seems like it was meant to be. Fate can be a vomitous task master.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Here is a little incentive to check it out...
(This is another one of my new favorite things. Teenage Mutant Ninja Noses! Bahahahaaa [sorry for the occasional F words])
Monday, October 17, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
A pirate patch? A wacky feather hat creation? A random floating rose? I should have known then that it was going to be...special. I started the title track and said, hmm, okay. But then it just got worse and worse and I was giggle snorting at my desk. Naturally I couldn't stop there and listened to the rest of the CD. Let me tell you. AMAZING. So incredibly amazing in its terrible terribleness. So terrible I'm pretty sure it's the worst CD in the WORLD. Or at least the worst CD in the world based on something else. I could hardly contain my snorts of laughter and sent pretty much every track to Mr. Graham via Spotify.
The moral of this story? Check it out. You will not be sorry. Highlights include the sleepy Phantom in the title track, everything about Music of the Night, the disaster that is All I Ask of You and the garbled words in Point of No Return. In fact, there are words wrong in pretty much every song.
If you needed another reason to try out Spotify, this is it, my friends. This is it. Samples on Amazon are not enough for this level of terrible.
(Oh, and the concert was great. Sierra killed it, Ramin tried a little too hard to kill and so didn't *quite* kill it but I still heart him.)
Sunday, October 09, 2011
...and the super creepy neighbor man.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
No, I still haven’t made that cake! But I have a plan. A plan that involves making that cake. But in the meantime, we have been trying all kinds of new and exciting recipes. Sometimes we try the same new and exciting recipe over and over again because we like it so much. For whatever reason, I like to spread the food discoveries around. I really didn’t cook too much until we got married so the food world still has a lot of undiscovered territory for me. I get excited when I find something new and delicious and think everyone else should make it too. So, here are some of the things we’ve been eating lately.
(I was going to be fancy and put pictures with all of these, but fancy is overrated. There are plenty of pictures to be found at the links)
Oh man. We have made these so many times this summer. They are SO good we have to stop ourselves from eating the whole pan in one go. Also, they are really super easy! I just cook the chicken in a crock pot all day and then it pretty much shreds itself. Seriously, make them! You will be doing yourself a favor.
Also, I’ll just take this moment to say that I discovered this blog a few months ago and proceeded to make a several other things from it (but mostly I just ogle the desserts). Never have I been disappointed! Some other winners so far include Taco Pasta and Pork Carnitas. I have a backlog of all the recipes I want to try out.
I guess we have had a thing for enchiladas this summer. We didn’t love these as much as the others (we only made them once!), but they were still pretty easy and tasty. I think some black beans would be a great addition to this one.
I stumbled across this recipe a little while ago and I was just AMAZED at the concept. And by amazed I mean kind of grossed out. It just seemed so wrong. So wrong that I had to try it and see if it could possibly work. And it was surprisingly good! Drewbles could hardly stop eating it. It had a really nice flavor and, really, how could I ever object to mac and cheese anything? I did add a can of tomatoes with green chilis, just because it was so orange, and I’m glad I did. Also—so super easy and fast. That seems to be the theme here today…
Last week we finished (re)reading all the Series of Unfortunate Events and to celebrate we had a delightful themed dinner including chilled cucumber soup (we used Greek yogurt instead of regular), aqueous martinis and puttanesca with fettucine. I have to admit, this recipe intimidated me. Capers? Anchovies? Well, mostly those two things intimidated me. BUT it was actually quite easy and really good. I used anchovy paste instead of anchovies, as someone suggested, since it’s easier to keep on hand and won’t gross me out. Only a villainous person could turn down such a delicious thing.
Confession: I did not grill the corn. But this still turned out delicious. Homemade salsa of any variety really is just so much better than store bought (not that I would turn down store bought). One day when we have a yard with a garden with a dozen tomato plants, I will make salsa every day. Or at least every other day.
We’ve had these twice in the last week! Surprise surprise—they’re the easiest cookies in the world to make. Even I, an exceptionally slow cooker (hah), can make this dough in five minutes. Plus you get bonus points for being able to tell people they only have five ingredients! It makes for a fun guessing game.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
But look at it! (I mean, look at it!) Even if it turns out to be Bits o' Cake, those will be the best Bits o' Cake to date. How can I resist???
PS: Husband, remind me to add parchment paper and another round cake pan to the shopping list. Also lots of cream cheese and peanut butter.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Mr. Graham is just the nicest husbandman in the world. He is so thoughtful and nice and compliment-y and helpful and not complain-y and funny and he is so cute when he sleeps. I like to say that he is my favorite and my best. Here are some other ways he is my favorite and best:
- He laughs when I say ridiculous things like “If you were a button, I would call you husbandybuttons.”
- He humors me when I ask if I can quit my job and stay at home all day like a bum.
- He lets me pin him down and tickle his feet.
- He always does the dishes. Always!
- He is my faithful and insightful little reader.
- He never says I don’t need that new pair of shoes.
- He puts up with a lot of whining about wanting cheese when I’ve fallen to the Communists (and then gives me cheese).
- He loves me so and tells me so all the time.
As a side note, I wish I could say “my favourite and my best” was my own linguistic creation, but it actually comes from an episode of Charlie and Lola. I feel about Mr. Graham the same way a small girl child feels about snow. Watch it! I love this show.
Happy anniversary, husbandybuns! :*
Thursday, July 21, 2011
It's interesting how they all look so different, but for the most part all look very dwarf-y (aside from the Hugh Jackman dwarf on the right). If I didn't know it was him, I don't think I could EVER tell that was Richard Armitage as Thorin.
Sweet. Now where are some more pictures of
(Speaking of Bilbo, when do I get more Sherlock, PBS?)
Friday, July 15, 2011
...hard to watch.
...a little puzzling at times.
Whew. I should probably go to bed.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Now, let's just skip over the part where I threw myself onto the bed in despair and maybe cried over my wretchedly deformed cakes. Mr. Graham patted me on the head, told me the cake was lovely and played some Lego Pirates of the Caribbean with me to put me back in good humor.
SO, once the weeping and wailing was done, we set to work on the cake. With the frosting all ready to go, it seemed like an attempt ought to be made to salvage the poor thing. What is frosting for but to cover up the cake and all its frailties, right? We delicately maneuvered one layer onto the cake stand and frosted it without difficulty. Hope returned! We next performed the tricky operation of flipping the second layer on top. As it turns out, it was a too tricky to actually work and some ominous cracks were formed in the process. Resisting the urge to bang my head on the table, I set to work covering up the whole disaster with delicious frosting.
Success was shortlived, as the frosting worked its way into those ominous crevices and whole chunks finally went tumbling right off the cake, like some kind of delectable strawberry avalanche. At this point, the whole thing was becoming more and more ridiculous, too ridiculous to cry over and too ridiculous to not laugh at. We considered taking a few slices to our little dinner party, but somehow settled on this solution:Yes, we took half a cake to dinner. It felt a little like giving someone a half-eaten lasagna.
You might think that was the end of the poor cake's trouble, but you would be wrong! The combination of our warm apartment and too little powdered sugar made the frosting just a teensy bit soupy. It would look all right for a moment, but the frosting would inevitably begin to ooze and seep downwards. In fact, it looked very much like someone left the cake out in the rain.
The cake was so sad I even came up with a song to describe it. It's a pretty simple song. In fact, to borrow a phrase, there is very little lyrical content--just "Puddle-y cake" repeated over and over to the tune of Jigglypuff's song.
Well, in the end we all ate the cake, and although it splinted into its many pieces when sliced and half the frosting had puddled onto the cake stand, it was eaten up. After all, there was nothing wrong with the taste.
And what became of that other half of cake?It's a new dessert. I like to call it "Bits o' Cake."
Monday, June 27, 2011
Videos! Let's watch some funny ones.
First up, Drew's sister Elise came for a surprise visit last month and during the ensuing festivities we made this video. It was all her brainchild (and her editing job). Normally I would be running the other direction from doing this sort of thing, but heck, there must have been something in the water that day. Funtimes!
Next. Also during Elise's trip she introduced us to the next doozy. It's a dramatically read review of an intentionally silly and easy flash game called Press Space to Win (play it, it will take about 4 minutes). And wow, just wow. It's one of those things that makes me laugh so hard I can't control my face.
And for something totally different: FROGS! Well, A frog. I swear, one day I'm going to be this frog for Halloween. Probably the year after I'm Mama Odie.
Last but not least, just because I was listening to some Michael Jackson today and thinking fondly of Disney parks. Hooter!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
We could see Hogwarts from the park entrance, but, correctly assuming everyone would rush there and leave other areas deserted, we first went to Spider-man (and walked on). I loved that ride so much when I went before, and luckily it was just as much fun as I remember. We then went along to the Jurassic Park area, which is always awesome, and walked on to that ride as well. Unfortunately it wasn't *quite* as exciting as I remembered (I swear the t-rex used to move). BUT it was dinosaurs and stuff so I was hardly disappointed. I will add that it was also wetter than I remembered, which caused me some trouble with my bangs. They dried all flippy and weird. Exciting, right?
Anyway, our detour hardly took any time at all and soon we made our way to Harry Potter and it was just like a dream! Everything was so...REAL and right there. It was crowded, but honestly, I didn't even notice the crowds because it was exhilarating to be there. Seriously, there was nothing that disappointed. NOTHING.
The food: We ate lunch at the Three Broomsticks and for a bonus, our lunch was Cornish pasties and shepherds pie. It felt like being back in our beloved England. We tried both the regular and frozen butterbeer (regular wins), and naturally got the commemorative mug. We also bought a bottle of pumpkin juice that was DElicious (the juice, not the bottle). When we were in the Disney parks we were quite thrifty with our food. We refilled a water bottle the whole time and we brought a lot of snacks with us. But here? We were ready and willing to give them any amount of money necessary for such authentic fare, and the same went for souvenirs. Luckily the food was pretty reasonably priced, but really, I would have happily paid $20 for a cup of butterbeer. I mean, how often does the opportunity come along, right???
The rides: The family-friendly Buckbeak-themed coaster was fun. You go right by Hagrid's Hut and Buckbeak bows to you. The much wilder Dragon Challenge roller coaster is also fun. I went on it before, and really, not much has changed except the queue theming--which on its own makes the ride worth it. The real gem of the place though is the all new ride housed in the Hogwarts castle: Harry Potter and the Final Journey. No, that's just what I always THINK it's called--it's actually Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It's amazing and SO much fun. First, the line goes through the castle, which is a treat on its own, and you see classrooms, talking portraits (including the founders), the Fat Lady, the sorting hat, Dumblydore's office--so many things! The ride itself is an amazing concoction of characters, creatures and places and is also a mix of video, motion and actual creatures (I mean like things that are real that you could touch [if touching were allowed]. Is there another way to describe that?). Truth be told, my head was spinning a bit after but it's totally worth it.
The shops: There are bunch of very authentic shops to explore. You could spend hours just in the shops (we did) checking out all the goodies they have. You could also spend a LOT of money, very easily. We spent a tidy bundle ourselves, but again, how often do you get the opportunity?? They're very clever to sell a lot of things you never see anywhere else, which makes it seem all the more like you MUST buy it, haha. Naturally we both got wands at Ollivander's but we also got a set of playing cards, a magnet, a photo frame that looks like the mirror Erised and various other little goodies.
Okay, that's a lot of words. Time for pictures!
Don't touch it! It's a portkey!
This makes me look like a huge Sirius fangirl, but really, I wanted to do this to pretty much everything. (Though also I just love Gary Oldman and this movie.)
Oh please take us to Hogwarts! Never mind, we can just walk there.
Little bitty Cornish pasties! Oh Harry Potter, you really are magical.
It just looks so real. I mean, it is real. But REALLY real.
ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY. (No, that second straw is not going up his nose.)
Drew tried on Voldemort's wand for size.
I was a little taken with Sirius's (again with the Sirius, but
In the end, we had to go with Hermione's and Harry's. How could we do otherwise?
(When we go again, I might
We tried on some robes at one of the Universal stores. Not only do they assume you will, an employee will even offer to take your picture with other goods! Nice.
We took hundreds of pictures at Hogsmeade, many of which I've posted on Facebook. If you would like to see them and don't have Facebook, I would be happy to email the link to any interested parties.
Until next time, Harry!