Harry Potter Brought to Life in an Epic Way

Every so often I come across an idea, project, event where I think, Wow. This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

One of those things is happening this weekend.

My wonderful friend Ida has created an incredible idea and it’s called the “Epic Harry Potter Party.”

This weekend (9/3 – 4 hahaha get it!?) she will be hosting around 100 people at her home in West Virginia. Her house will be almost completely decked out in true Harry Potter fashion to have a weekend long movie marathon.

Being nearly across the country and 5 months pregnant I’m unable to attend but Ida has been amazing at making sure my husband, L and myself are all included. I actually cried when I received my acceptance letter to Hogwarts. It’s literally everything I hoped it would be. Included in our letters, along with our supply list was a Sorting Questionnaire to sort everyone into their respective houses.

After everyone was sorted, Ida sent sorting packages out to everyone with a sticker of each person’s house crest (I got Gryffindor!!!) and the cutest Howler I’ve ever seen.

Sorting Packages

Sorting Packages


At the party itself, those in attendance will compete for the House Cup. Ida is in Ravenclaw, in case you were wondering (I was!).

I wanted to write this great blog post about all the amazing things Ida’s doing and tell you all about it. But after chatting with her a bit I can’t describe it any better than she has. She has put so much energy and pure love into this project that I want you to hear it from her! So here’s a little Q&A Ida and I did last week about the Epic Harry Potter Party.

Kayla: Where did the idea come from?

Ida: Last year during a rather stressful semester back to school for the first time in eight years, I decided to sit down and have a movie marathon with some friends during Easter break. I guess the idea sparked from there. I kept thinking how awesome it would be to host a Harry Potter marathon party with my just as obsessed HP friends and one day on my way home it came to me. I kept thinking about numbers that were significant to the brand, Harry Potter’s Birthday, Start of Term for Hogwarts, Page 394, etc. Just when I was getting frustrated 9 3/4 popped in my head, so I looked at the calendar and low and behold September 3rd and 4th was not only a weekend, but a holiday weekend.

Kayla: What sparked your love of Harry Potter?

Ida: Unlike most I did not take to Harry Potter immediately, in fact, I tried to avoid the obsession all together. When I did finally pick up the first book I could barely get past the first chapter and decided it wasn’t for me. Then, when the Sorcerer’s Stone came out in theaters I went to see it with a group of friends. I fell in love with the movie and made up my mind to give the books another try. Once I was able to move past that first chapter and really dive in, I became completely enamored in the world of Harry Potter. One of my friends and I were creating fan fiction before we even knew what it was, casting spells, brewing potions, and truly believing we’d receive our letter if we just believed.

Kayla: Do you identify with any particular character?

Ida: When I was younger I identified with Hermione, I loved to read, studied hard, and my grades reflected that. I now identify with Luna Lovegoood with her creativity and uniqueness in addition to her intelligence.

Kayla: What was your favorite project to work on and why?

Ida: I’ve really loved the entire process, but making the invitations was probably the best. Everyone deserves an acceptance letter, even if it’s multiple years late and/or early. This is probably why I sent one to myself. I only wish I could have hired a couple owls instead of using the muggle postal service.

Kayla: What highlights will you be showcasing at the party?

Ida: I’ve included so many details, but some have been left out due to time and money constraints. For some reason a triple decker bus is nearly impossible to find. Just for a small idea included will be the Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley, Hogwarts Express, Quidditch Pitch, The Great Hall, The Room of Requirement, Hogwarts Portraits, and much, much more.

Kayla: Can you share with us the charity aspect of the party?

Ida: The interest grew so quickly around the party that I decided after watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (for the gazillionth time) that I had to include a clothing fundraiser to FREE HOUSELVES EVERYWHERE! My inner Hermione took over and everyone loved the idea. I started searching for a local charity that could benefit and that’s when I found the Shenandoah Women’s Center (www.swinc.org). I messaged them directly to make sure they could handle such a large donation and explained our plans. I was so lucky to find another HP fan on the other side of the email, she loved the idea and even said “[it] may be the best idea for donations [they’ve] ever gotten!” In addition to the clothing donations, we are also taking donations and selling tickets (all proceeds go to the charity) for the wood burning my mom did of the Hogwarts Crest. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together and I’m really hoping they can benefit greatly from it.


Ida said she’ll give me a tour of the place via Skype prior to all the festivities this weekend, and I can’t wait to see it! If you want to check out more, the hashtag is #epicpotterparty (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). and you can see more on my blog post party in the next couple weeks!

As a little sneak peak, check out their home-brewed Butterbeer and handmade wands!


October Wrap Up

Life has been so crazy but I just wanted to share a few things…

October was a whirlwind! I can’t even believe it’s over.

We had some wonderful things happen in October and not in any order.

I completed my first month as a consultant for Usborne Books & More. It’s truly been a wonderful experience. Not only am I making some really good money (I was so skeptical at first but I was oh so wrong) but I have met some amazing people and am working on stocking up L’s library for the future! 😀 Plus the fact that I only “work” (is it work when it’s fun?) a couple hours a week AND I get to hang out with L all day long is pretty much amazing.

We also celebrated L’s first Halloween. He was adorable as The Boy Who Lived. If you don’t know this reference…go away. Just kidding, go ready Harry Potter and get educated.


We also got to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday with him. L got to meet his great grandparents which was awesome for everyone involved plus see my parents, aunt and uncle!

It was truly a wonderful month, also including big milestones of sitting up without my help and rolling over everywhere like a champ.

November holds many great occasions for us as well. L will be six months (WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?). We’ll travel to see W’s family and L will get to meet his aunt for the first time.

Plus L and I will be starting on some holiday crafts and holiday recipes.

Effective tomorrow, clean eating and training for my half marathon commences! Wish me luck and send me tips!

Happy November everyone!


30 by 30 Update

I haven’t made a ton of progress on my 30 by 30 lately…but I’ve made a tiny bit of headway since my last update that I wanted to share.


My goal was to read 20 books this year. At my last update I had finished two. I have now completed five books total, so according to good reads I’m one book ahead of schedule!

Beyond that, I am nearly done with two more. Those two should be done within a week.

I am reading the third book in the Outlander series, Voyager.


And to the baby, I’m reading (also the third book!) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The baby and I read a chapter a night so I should be done with it this weekend!


So hopefully by the end of the week I will have 7/20 of my books for 2015 completed! After that I’ll be moving on the reading the fourth Harry Potter to the baby (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — in case you didn’t know, in which case we probably shouldn’t be friends). Plus the next Outlander, Drums of Autumn.

I might sneak in another book in between. My friend, Miranda, has been talking my ear off non-stop about how amazing (and quick!) Ella Enchanted is, so I might read that too.

However one of the most important things I did this month to achieve some of my 30 by 30 goals was to visit a new Hawaiian island! On the 15th of March I headed out to Maui to spend a few hours (not kidding, hours) with my amazing friend Jess. Jess and I met in college made a major bond over boy-drama and became lifelong friends. We lived together for over three years, worked together, had classes at UNR together and spent downtime together. She is one of the very few people that I can spend that much time with and not get sick of.


She was kind enough to drive from Reno to Sacramento for my baby shower the week before (the first time we’d seen each other in two years!!) So when I heard she was going to be in Maui…we had to make that happen. Ironically my entire travel time to see her was about the same of just one leg of her drive to see me.

So I flew in to Maui (turbulence while 30 something weeks pregnant is interesting) and Jess picked me up from the airport. The flight is about 30-40 minutes. By the time you get up, you head back down…but the view coming in and out of Maui (and Oahu too!) is amazing.


We headed to a meet up with her friends (who were all there for the weekend for a wedding!).And hung out at the beach for a few hours and chatted.


Then we headed back to the airport, of course stopping at Krispy Kreme on the way. Oahu doesn’t have a Krispy Kreme. In fact the one on Maui is the only one on the Hawaiian Islands.

And that was my trip! I think it was literally six hours total, from leaving my house to driving back home. I was recovering from my trip back to California the prior week and a nasty head cold so I didn’t stay all day like I had originally thought I might. But to be honest it was a pretty cool deal anyways.

Maui seemed really awesome and I’d definitely love to go back if we have time. But with the impending little one and our move about five months away (we think) not sure we will get the chance.


So that gets my count up to three out of four Hawaiian Islands; just one left to go! Last year on our wedding anniversary Wes and I went to Kauai for the weekend. We’ve discussed going to the Big Island this year. The baby will be roughly six weeks at that point, so it’ll be nice to see what it’s like to travel (a very short distance) with a baby before we move this summer!

After visiting Maui just for the day….maybe we’ll get really ambitious and head to Molokai or Lanai just for a day. Since I didn’t book my flight until the day before, flights were a bit higher than they could have been — it was about $200 round-trip.

But if we plan out a couple weeks ahead we could do something super reasonable for just the day for the two of us! (Three of us?)

So while I got nothing crossed off the list, I made some headway! Hope you all have a great last day and a half of March!


Bookworm, party of 2

So as seen in my 30 by 30 post, I plan to read 20 books a year, so far in 2015 I have read…..

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Her Web site is here and talks about the books but I think there are spoilers so don’t read too much!

Outlander *When I just looked this up on Amazon the kindle price is only $1.99, just sayin’. 

The other book I’ve completed this year is,Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead.


According to my Kindle I am 75% of the way done with Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. This is the second book in the Outlander series…and it’s really good! These books are crazy long though. I’m curious how many page are in an actual copy of the book versus on my kindle. I’m a fast reader and I have been reading this forever! And I binge read it. I’ll read for like five hours a day and then convince myself to get something accomplished.

I’m excited to finish this one. The beginning starts in a very strange way (to the point I almost quit reading it) but I’m glad I’ve kept going. I’m trying to convince the husband to read them too but he’s not sold. They remind me a lot of the Game of Thrones series. There’s sex, war and intrigue…so far no dragons so Game of Thrones has it beat there.

It also been made into a TV show, in case you were wondering! It’s on Starz if you want to check it out. I have only seen the first episode. I plan on catching up later this month.

The other book I’ve read this year, beside finishing the first Outlander, was Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead. Ruby Circle is the sixth book in the Bloodlines series by Mead. Bloodlines was a spin-off of her original Vampire Academy series. I have read both of the series and I have to tell you, I’m a huge fan. Completely trumped Twilight (when we all still thought Twilight was cool). I binge read every single one of them. I remember at one point while reading the Vampire Academy series I finished one of the books at 1 am or so. Wes was still up doing homework and I asked him if he was ready for a break. He looked at me a little funny and I insisted we put on our cold weather gear, go out in the snow, rush over to the 24 hour Walmart so I could get the next book because I could not wait for it to be a reasonable hour later that day to get it. Luckily he is awesome and obliged me.

I think I read the whole series in like 5 days (I actually had to go to school and work or it would have been quicker). But I digress. Ruby Circle. Awesome. I read it in about six hours, I did nothing else but maybe pet my dog and drink some water. It was, in my opinion, a wonderful ending to the series. It really wrapped up some loose ends from both the Bloodlines and Vampire Academy series. Great, quick, fun reads! You should read them. They are definitely YA books so I might be a little old for them, but I don’t care! They were good and I’m sticking to that!

In other news, the baby and I have been reading Harry Potter. So do book re-reads count for my 20 books a year challenge? We have finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. We are now halfway through Chamber of Secrets. Last night I was supposed to be reading the Deathday Party chapter but I was too nervous! I know he can’t understand me yet but I felt like it was a little creepy…so we skipped that chapter and moved ahead. I still felt a little squeamish reading to him about petrified cats and blood on the wall though. 😦 But on the other hand our story time is when he is most active at night, so it’s kind of fun knowing he’s awake while I’m reading to him. What I’ll do if this kid doesn’t grow up to love Harry Potter, I’ll never know!

Plus as I’m reading to him I can’t help but think….man JK Rowling is smart. I think if I could interview anyone, it would be her. Even though I have ready Harry Potter….at least 10 times I’d think, it gets me every time!

I’m hoping I finish Dragonfly in Amber in the next couple days and I already have Voyager (the third in the Outlander series!) downloaded onto my kindle for my trip this week. I need to start knocking out some books before the baby gets here and I don’t have as much time to read!

My current challenge is at 2 books down 18 to go. If I’m counting re-reads I’ve got three down! Thoughts?

What are you reading these days? Any recommendations to put on my list for my challenge?

Have you read the books I mentioned in this post? What are your thoughts? (NO SPOILERS TO OUTLANDER ALLOWED!!!)


Today was the BEST day ever.

Why you ask?

Because HOGWARTS is real.

No joke.

You can get your acceptance letter, enroll in Hogwarts, open a Gringotts bank account and enroll in online Hogwarts classes.

My first class will be Astronomy. You can also take Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, History of Magic, Potions and Transfiguration.

The site explains that as a First Year you take 7 classes, up until your third year and then more options will open up and you can visit Hogsmeade.

The currently have a notice on their site saying that it is running really slow, due to press they have a ton of viewers (psycho’s like me who couldn’t wait five seconds to join up) and they are working on expanding servers.

Here is the link where I found out about it.

And here is the actual Web site.

Seriously best thing ever. Now please excuse me while I go write an essay on my favorite constellation for my First Years Astronomy class.

No I’m not kidding.

Best. Day. Ever.