Stamiversary Trip to Florida, Part One: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Stan and I had an incredible time in Florida last week for our five-year anniversary (or “Stamiversary,” as we like to call it). The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was even better than I’d imagined! Of course, we did quite a bit more than exploring this part of Universal Studios, but as it was our main reason for going, I have a lot of pictures from it! Here are a few of our favorites:

Wizarding World HP - Hogsmeade sign2 - poor and pretty

I love this sign at the entrance to Hogsmeade: Please respect the spell limits. :)

Wizarding World HP - Inside 3 Broomsticks - poor and pretty

The first item on our agenda was to eat lunch at The Three Broomsticks. Yum!

Wizarding World HP - lunch at 3 Broomsticks - poor and pretty

Then, we immediately headed for Hogwarts:

Wizarding World HP - Hogwarts - poor and pretty

I think the guy in this photo was just so overwhelmed with how amazing Hogwarts is. I totally get it, guy.

Wizarding World HP - greenhouse - poor and pretty

The line to get into the main attraction — Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey — weaves in and out of Hogwarts, showing you different parts of the grounds and castle. This section is meant to evoke the greenhouses.

Wizarding World HP - Gryphon Gargoyle Statue - poor and pretty

This is of course the gryphon/gargoyle statue that guards the entrance to the headmaster’s office. I don’t want to show you too much, in case you go for yourself one day! We were lucky that the lines were pretty much nonexistent, but even if the line had been long, there are plenty of things to look at while waiting ~ even talking portraits!

Wizarding World HP - Butterbeer & Pumpkin Juice - poor and pretty

We drank all of the Hogwarts-specific drinks at The Three Broomsticks/Hog’s Head, but our two favorites were frozen butterbeer and pumpkin juice. They have a non-frozen/cold version of butterbeer, but I didn’t like it as much. One of the barkeeps told us that they made a hot butterbeer, too, but J.K. Rowling didn’t like the way it tasted, so it never made it to the menu. I hope it does someday!

Wizarding World HP - Hogwarts Express - poor and pretty

On Halloween, I donned my Hogwarts robe and Stan and I hit the parks a bit earlier. Our tickets allowed us to enter the park an hour before general admission, so it was practically empty:

Wizarding World HP - Hogsmeade - poor and pretty

Wizarding World HP - Zonko's & Honeydukes - poor and pretty

While there were many storefronts that were just for show, Zonko’s Joke Shop and Honeydukes were two of the stores you could actually enter. I love how colorful Honeydukes is!

Wizarding World HP - inside Honeydukes - poor and pretty

I was also lucky enough to be chosen for the wand ceremony at Ollivander’s! After two unsuccessful wand pairings, I was matched with a “holly” wand (they aren’t made of real wood) with a unicorn hair core. So exciting!

Wizarding World HP - wand ceremony - poor and pretty

(Sorry for the fuzzy photo; it was dark in there!)

Wizarding World HP - Stami - poor and pretty

Oh, we had so much fun!

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Snapshots & thoughts from Florida

Hello friends! Stan and I are having lots of fun in Florida this week ~ you may have seen some of our vacation photos on Facebook or Instagram. Here’s another one for you from Seuss Landing:

You need a thneed - Seuss Landing Islands of Adventure

Escaping the increasingly cold and wet Connecticut weather has been wonderful, as has stepping away from the computer. It’s allowed me to do some deep thinking about where I’m spending my energy. Since beginning the Poor & Pretty blog in 2009, then expanding it into a small business in 2010, I’ve found myself constantly trying to balance these two passions along with my relationship with Stan, family, work, and for a while, school. And as much as I want Poor & Pretty to succeed, I’ve realized I’m dedicating more time to the blog & business than I often am to Stan and even to myself. Being together this past week has been amazing, and I want more time for just us.

Universal Orlando

So, I’ve decided to start blogging just twice a week for now. This will also allow me more time to focus on creating amazing content for you, rather than trying to scramble to meet my own deadlines. I may still write a third post here and there as an added bonus, but for now ~ beginning next week ~ look for new posts on Tuesdays and Fridays.

We’re headed to Disney today! I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! Speaking of which, did you see the costumes we wore to my friend’s Halloween party?

Halloween 2013 - pinata + birthday boy!

We went as a piñata — inspired by the one in this DIY costume roundup — and a birthday boy. Every time Stan whacked (just kidding! He politely tapped me :) with his piñata stick, I tossed candy in the air. It was so much fun! We took home the Most Original Costume award again!

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Monday morning music: Lucy Wainwright Roche and Agnes Obel

Lucy Wainwright Roche – Seek and Hide (Feat. Colin Meloy)

Lucy

When I heard Lucy Wainwright Roche had released a solo album, I was absolutely ecstatic. Daughter of Suzzy Roche and Loudon Wainwright and half-sister of Rufus and Martha Wainwright, music runs in the family – and Lucy is no exception. Her new album “There’s a Last Time For Everything” is comprised of calming ballads, folksy wintery scenes and one amazing but surprising cover (Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend”). Perhaps my favorite track from the album is “Seek and Hide,” featuring Colin Meloy (of the Decemberists).

The track pulls from both sides of her family, incorporating very Roche-like melodies with instrumentation choices similar to her brother, Rufus. The end result is a beautiful piece – unlike anything you’d hear elsewhere in the Roche-Wainwright family – about falling in love and realizing you’re still you, for better or worse.

Agnes Obel – The Curse

Agnes

Likely over 100 listens since this track was released last September, but I still get goosebumps when it plays. Danish singer/songwriter Agnes Obel’s single “The Curse” picks up where her first album, “Philharmonics,” left off – a whisper of a voice, beautiful lyrics and impressive piano rhythms. But something about this new track is completely new, fresh and absolutely intoxicating:

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This Friday: Hartford Prints! Grandest Opening

hartford-prints-grandest-opening-oct11

I’m so excited for the Gale sisters of Hartford Prints! As part of the iConnect program, they’re able to open up a storefront, and they’re hosting their Grandest Opening Party this Friday!

hartford-prints-heart-in-hartford

I feel head over heels for their beautiful stationery when I first saw it in the sugarplum USA shop last year.

hartford-prints-complimentary-compliments

Rachel and I vended a few tents away from Rory Gale at the Hartford HodgePodge a few weeks ago, where I picked up this pack of Complimentary Compliment cards. It’s always good to have a few snazzy greeting cards handy.

hartford-prints-screenprinted-shirts

I also picked up one of their Small State Big Heart screen printed tees for my Dad’s birthday, which he loved of course.

Hartford-Prints!-Grandest-Opening-Pratt-Street

So swing by 42 ½ Pratt Street (yes really, 42 ½! They must be Harry Potter fans, too ;) this Friday from 6pm-10pm and support this amazing local achievement! ♥

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Evil Dead The Musical: A (very) bloody good time!

Evil-Dead-before-after-poorandpretty

Suzi, Jon (her husband), and I met up with Michele and Jeff at the Warner Theatre in Torrington yesterday to see the final showing of Evil Dead The Musical, directed by the talented Keith Paul (who also filmed the Great Torrington Zombie Outbreak of 2010).  Well aware that the first 3-4 rows were part of the “splatter zone,” I made sure to book us front row seats. As you can see, we were not disappointed.

Evil-Dead-front-row-poorandpretty

Evil-Dead-front-row-stage-poorandpretty

Above is how the stage looked before the show, and here’s how it looked after:

Evil-Dead-bloody-stage-poorandpretty

Oh, and the floor, too:

Evil-Dead-bloody-floor-poorandpretty

Ahh!! It was so much fun! I’m so happy that I’m seeing community theatre performances with a pretty regular frequency. I did a fair amount of stage acting up through high school, and I’m sad I don’t do it anymore. Who knows? Maybe a few more shows sitting in the audience might convince me to audition!

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