The Girl Who Lived

Before you even ask: yes, it was awesome. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter fully met my (wildly high) expectations, I had an amazing trip with my parents, and I am roughly 6.8 times happier now than I was when I left. As I’m still having a bit of trouble readjusting to Muggledom, you’ll have to excuse me while I get my bearings back. Also, I took 287 pictures this weekend and narrowed them down to a gentleman’s 75 just for you, haha. This means it still may take juuuust a little while to get through the entire magical experience. I assure you, however, it will be well worth the wait. (And that sentiment goes for the trip as a whole, most definitely.)

The Adventure Begins...

What better place to start than at the beginning, hmm? Friday morning, my parents and I set off on our way down to sunny Florida. After dealing with the normal travel logistics (bags, nourishment, car rental), we arrived at our hotel, which was my aunt’s timeshare property that she generously gifted us time at, the Wyndham Cypress Palms.

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We settled in for a bit before meeting up with an old friend of my mother’s, from her Hong Kong days! We had dinner at Seasons 52 Orlando, which I believe is the original one!

Seasons 52 Orlando

Still armed with fond memories of my blogiversary celebration at the one up here, it was a fantastic meal (as well as the first and last healthy meal of the trip, haha).

MusselsGoat Cheese & Artichoke Flatbread
Ahi Tuna SaladOld Friends

We all shared mussels and a goat cheese & artichoke flatbread to start, and I got an ahi tuna salad. Fresh and delicious! Naturally, as Seasons 52 claims they originated the idea of the “shot glass dessert”, we had to get a sampling of those as well to finish the meal:

Red Velvet Shot

Red velvet for me, please! After dinner, my parents dropped me off at Downtown Disney, the bustling (and free!) area outside of the Disney parks, where I met up with blog reader Alicia and her boyfriend!

World of Disney

I was so glad to have been gotten a little taste of Disney while I was in Orlando, since even though this was a trip with a VERY specific purpose, you know I love me some Disney.

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Alicia was a fantastic tour guide! There’s a lot of cool stuff in this little pedestrian area, including a Disney Store that does so much business that it singlehandedly accounts for an entire percentage point of Disney’s revenue. Let that sink in for a sec.

GenieBuzz & Woody
Candy CauldronD Street

The real gem in this area though? The Ghiradhelli Soda Fountain, where the three of us shared one of their incredible signature hot fudge sundaes.

Sundae

The calories don’t count if you split it, right?

NOM

Admittedly, after getting up uber-early to travel, by the time we were done walking through the area (and getting to see more awesome things like the House of Blues and the Cirque du Soleil tent) I was pretty exhausted. I did have to conserve my strength, after all! The next morning I would be headed onto great things — terrible, yes… but great.

Welcome!

Despite my very best intentions to get an early start, we didn’t end up getting to the park until around 11. Which ended up being just fine, because it gave us a chance to fuel up before I reverted to my 7-year-old self again. 😉

Mommy & me

Universal has an area called Citywalk that sits outside of the actual parks and is filled with shops and restaurants, similar to Downtown Disney. We grabbed some grub there before charging into Islands of Adventure, full-speed. I had talked a big game about meandering through the rest of the park first, working our way over to the Harry Potter area at a time that it might be less crowded, but…

Islands of Adventure Wait Times

I mean, C’mon. Are you really surprised that I wasn’t able to wait? Everything was just beginning!

HP World Cover Photo

To be continued…

All Aboard…

… the Hogwarts Express!

Yes, I am FINALLY going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and I don’t care how lame you think it is! Right now I am en route to Orlando, headed towards a totally awesome, totally nerd-tastic weekend with the ‘rents. Though yesterday was full of emotion (thank you all SO much for your kind words in response to my incredibly raw and emotional post, by the way), I know that this trip will be just the thing to pull me firmly out of the doldrums.

Though, to be honest, I’m not really sure why I’m so excited. I mean, it’s not like I’m some huge Harry Potter fan.

It’s not like I own multiple items of Harry Potter clothing and related paraphernalia.

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It’s not like I took off work on the day that the last book was released.

It’s not like I read all 759 pages in one sitting, fell asleep, then woke up and started reading it all over again from the beginning.

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It’s not like I have ever stood in line for hours to attend a midnight release of the movies.

I especially didn’t see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in the theatre four times.

And I was as cool as cucumber and didn’t freak out at all when I met Daniel Radcliffe.

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Nope, I’m just not that girl.

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BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Clearly, none of you are fooled. I absolutely AM that girl, and I am not ashamed! Harry Potter is awesome, and haters can feel free to hate on me, my inappropriate obsession with my dogs, my laziness, and my hatred of getting sweaty, but don’t mess with the HP, yo. Rest assured, you will be getting a VERY detailed recap of my adventures at Universal Studios this weekend, hehe. I come back on Monday afternoon (Happy Presidents Day weekend!), so I have a fantastic guest post lined up before I overwhelm your eyeballs with pictures of wands, wizards, and the 10 gallons of butterbeer I intend on consuming (“All hands on deck, Granger!“). SQUEEEEE, I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!

Have a magical weekend, friends!

Close, but no cigar (Weigh-in)

It’s going to be short and not so sweet this morning, folks. Short, because I’m sickitysickitysick (yes, again) and despite the fact that I slept for nearly 12 hours straight I am still muy exhaustamundo. So exhausted, in fact, that I’m making up Spanish words for how exhausted I am.

The not-so-sweet part of today’s play comes in the following. As you know, last week I weighed in at 191.2 pounds and was pre-celebrating my entrance into the glorious 180s, a goal that was a mere 1.3 lbs away. So how did things turn out this week?

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Week’s Weight: 191.2 lbs
This Week’s Weight: 190.0 lbs
This Week’s Loss: -1.2 lbs

Womp womp. You can’t make this stuff up. Close, but no cigar.

Not that I mean to sound ungrateful! Of course I appreciate another pound lost and having made it one pound further. That being said… I really, really wanted to see 180-something on the scale this week. Ah, well. Next week for sure, eh? And in the meantime, just because in my decrepit state I need to celebrate something, I shall announce a NSV (non-scale victory) that I’ve been working on lately.

I started the 100 pushups and 200 situps challenges last weekend, and while, no, I don’t REALLY expect to ever be able to do a HUNDRED pushups (I’m not completely crazy!), after just one week of the program I can do FIVE of them. And we’re not talking girl-pushups here, folks. These are the real deal. So going from being able to do, um, none to five full-length pushups of my 190-lb self is a pretty big accomplishment! So we’ll focus on that, and not the .1 lb loss that wasn’t. We’ll still call it a win.

I’m sure I’ll be feeling better tomorrow, and we can get back on track. July WILL be the last month I see 190 on the scale. In the meantime, have a healthy day in my honor friends. I’ll be hacking up a lung and choking down herbal tea from here (here being, you know, my bed.)

PS: In case you didn’t see my tweets or Facebook updates about it, I totally saw Harry Potter again this weekend. It was awesome. Nerd out.

Throwback Monday (Weigh-in)

Morning, everybody! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine consisted of helping (well, mostly watching) Steve move and watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II… again.

I’m dubbing this post as a throwback because you lucky ducks are looking at a classic Weigh-In Monday post. No frills, just some down & dirty weight-posting (every woman’s dream!) since it’s been a while between official weigh-ins (mostly out of shame, I’d say, haha.)

So without further adieu, here you go!

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last “Official” Weigh-in: 196.5 lbs
Unofficial Wednesday Weigh-in from last week: 192.5 lbs
This Week’s Weight: 191.2 lbs
This Week’s Loss: -5.3 lbs (HA!) or -1.3 lbs, depending on how you look at it.

Either way, I’LL TAKE IT! I know that I didn’t really gain 4.5 pounds solely from the Fourth of July weekend, but it was still pretty jarring to see that number pop up on the scale the morning after. (It’s like the dieter’s equivalent of the walk of shame, hahaha.) So hopefully now this means that the holiday weekend overindulging has been balanced out, and quite a bit of not-so-hot eating this past weekend (what else is new, eh?) I still actually managed to lose weight! Huzzah!

Thankfully this morning’s weigh-in, in conjunction with the magic that is Harry Potter and the most perfect movie conclusion ever, I think I’m officially out of my gloomy funk and back on track. Literally!

The 180s are so close I can almost taste them. This is my promise to you (or, you know, more appropriately, my promise to myself): I WILL be out of the 190s by this time next week. This is happening. Time to pull out all the stops!

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Get ready, scale. Thundercats are GO!

The End of an Era

First off, thank you all so, so much for your supportive and encourage comments in response to my doldrum-dwelling, pity-party post yesterday (alliteration FTW!) Yesterday was indeed a much better day, and I know it’s mostly due to the fact that you guys are all so awesome.

Of course, in terms of lifting my spirits, it didn’t exactly hurt that this happened:

I know. Sometimes I shock even myself with my coolness. 😉

That’s right. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 midnight showing. It happened.

Fair warning: I was petrified about them forcing me to put my DSLR back in my car (like I’ve had happen at the movies before) so I didn’t bring it with me, even though once I got there tons of people had huge cameras and nobody seemed to care. Sigh. So that’s the explanation for the poor-quality iPhone pictures that follow. Ah well.

My fellow nerds were out in full-force, and it was glorious.

While I went the subtle route and merely donned a Gryffindor track jacket I procured from Hot Topic roughly 6 billion years ago (on which I received many compliments, thankyouthankyou) and a scar (natch), some people really went all out. I couldn’t get pictures of all the creative costumes since I already felt like a creeper (what with being at least 5 years older than everyone around me, as well as lurking by myself, haha) but there were some really great ones! Lots of people went the traditional route with the school robes, wizarding gear, etc, but there were plenty of people dressed in pillowcases who came as house elves (cute!) and a few Golden Snitches hovering about too. I also had a very interesting encounter with a Luna Lovegood in the bathroom — she pulled a Gnargle out of my hair. Quite considerate of her.

I got to Tysons around 8 PM, for which my brother teased my mercilessly but I was grateful. I only waited in line for a little over an hour before they let us into the theatre!

I got a boss seat, too. Huzzah! Granted, I still had 3 hours to kill at this point, but at least I could do it in comfort. Much, much better than the huge cluster that happened at the last movie’s midnight showing.

So I made myself comfortable and yes, I did go for the full movie experience with popcorn and a diet sodie. I am not ashamed! Can you believe that’s a MEDIUM soda though? Whoosh.

I did a little light reading…

I had brought a veritable cornucopia of entertainment for myself, including a book, shows loaded on my iPhone, etc, but I didn’t actually end up dipping into anything other than the magazine. It was fun just observing the other fans (I felt SUPER old. Teenagers were EVERYWHERE.) and texting my fellow fanatical Harry Potter friend, Jeff, who was up in Maryland, things like:

Me, 11:47 PM: I am actually starting to hyperventilate.
Jeff: I’ll ask Madame Pomfrey to stop by.

Because yes, in fact, we are that cool. (If you don’t get the reference, well, that sounds like a personal problem that needs to rapidly be rectified.)

The group of teenage girls sitting next to me were pretty entertaining, actually. Though a little on the evil side, it would seem. After all, this was happening:

Which resulted in them all getting branded with the Dark Mark:

I politely declined, of course. I ain’t no Death Eater, yo!

The time actually passed very quickly, and before I could say “Deluminate!” the lights were down and it was time to don my 3D glasses and get the party started!

I don’t want to go into too much detail here, because I know that there are people reading this who haven’t read the books. So if you saw the movie, be sure to keep your comments spoiler-free! That being said, I will sum up my opinion of this film in one word:

Perfection.

Was it different than the book? Of course it was.

Were there things left out that would have been nice to have included? Of course there were.

Would I change a thing? No.

It was perfect. It was the most exhilarating, emotional, action-packed 2 hours I’ve had in a while, and I loved every second of it. I laughed, I cheered (always the best part of seeing a midnight showing), I cried (um, duh.)

It was so good. So, so good. So good, in fact, that I felt drunk when the credits started to roll. Drunk on Harry Potter. Sounds about right.

On my drive home, I did get fairly somber though. The entire ride was spent thinking about the movie I had just seen, and how it really felt like the end of an era. I’m sure that this won’t really be the last thing Harry Potter-related to ever be released, but it is the last movie of the original saga, and that means something to me. It’s okay if you think that’s cheesy. I embrace my cheesiness with pride, as all true Potterfiles should.

I envision many, many more viewings to come. I want to be there to witness other people drawing this epic adventure to a close, to soak in every last detail, to give justice to the story that has been my constant companion and the character that has been my friend as I’ve grown.

Mischief managed.