With the New Year recently upon us, I’m super excited to be starting it off with my bullet journal in hand (*cue squeals of geekiness*). Plus, after using it for about 4 months, I have a pretty good handle on my approach to using it. I started my first (and current) bullet journal in August of last year so this is my first time making pages for a New Year’s fresh start. There is so much out there to be inspired by and it’s so much fun (and maybe a tad overwhelming!) to look at everything that bujo fans have created.
I love the Skinnytaste.com website. There are so many delicious and weight-conscious dishes to make. In the past couple of months, I’ve made the broccoli cheese and potato soup and the pumpkin spice no-bake cheesecake. So. Much. Yum. (Plus, since I’m the type of person who could eat the same things over and over, it’s nice to add in a little variety.)
As I was browsing the other day, I found a recipe for orecchiette pasta with sausage and broccoli (original recipe here). It looked delicious but isn’t something my vegetarian family would be able to eat as is. Luckily, this is a recipe that is SUPER easy to “vegetarianize” and substitute in a meat replacement.
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Even people who have managed to avoid reading the Harry Potter series and seeing the films know that love for Harry and his magical world extends far beyond the confines of the pages in which he lives. Over the past year or so, love of the series has been on the rise, particularly with the introduction of the Fantastic Beasts films. This renewed (and let’s be honest here — ever-present) popularity of my favorite boy-wizard makes me giddier than an eleven-year-old who just received her Hogwarts letter. My partner and I frequently make the “Potter rounds” when we are near the mall to check out any new merch — Hot Topic, Barnes and Noble, and occasionally Five Below. I love all the new stuff that has come out! The clothes, trinkets, jewelry, home decor… you name it, it’s probably on my wish list.
Even more important than things that line the shelves, I know that isn’t what I truly want. I want more magic, more presence of the fandom, more love and appreciation for the books that started it all. I delight in the concept of magic in whatever form it might take, so I’ve tried my best to engage in new and interesting ways to keep Potter magic alive in my life as much as possible. Whether costly or cost-effective, here are some of my favorites.
For the past 4 years, Universal Studios Orlando has hosted The Celebration of Harry Potter, a large three day fan event that takes place at the end of January. Fans and their supportive friends/family members enjoy the thrills of the Universal Parks (for my full write-up about the HP parks, click here) as well as host of additional magical delights.
The 2018 Celebration will be the third one for my family and me. I love being in a space that is overtaken by fans of the series that we adore. My partner and I have since gone to the parks outside of the Celebration weekend and, while I love it just as much, it misses that heightened sense of community and shared connection that permeates the event. (As an example of this, Alan Rickman, who played Professor Severus Snape in the Potter films, passed away shortly before the 2016 Celebration. Many of the fans attending the event gathered together on opening night to have a “wands up” moment to honor and celebrate his life.)
If you are thinking about or planning to attend the Celebration of Harry Potter for the first time, it’s always helpful to know what you are getting into! There are plenty of things to do, see, and enjoy.