My Ticket To The Hogwarts Dream

When you see those graphics that summarize fandoms into doors, then they ask you which door you’d choose I always choose Harry Potter. Not that I have any great love for Potter himself, I’d probably say Potter like people say ‘Thanks Obama.’

But, the world, the fantastic magic. I love it. I want it.

I waited for my letter.

You can guess that I was a very disappointed pre-teen. I’ve had time to grow up, but that kid is still inside of me. She thinks that late night Harry Potter movie marathons and Hogwarts inspired bedroom decor are totally cool. Especially when you get sick Voldemort glamour shots.

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This set isn’t that nice tea stained color of the map, but I love having that bright white in my bedroom. It’s uplifting and can make a small space seem bigger, which mine needs!

$100

This is an absolute necessity! There’s no lights in our upstairs bedrooms and this little beauty would look wonderful lighting up the space before bed.

$39.97

This print beautifully depicts that magic that is Hogwarts and the wizarding world. I really like the cool colors used. It’s calming and conducive to sleep, duh. This particular print comes framed, which saves some time and money.

$18.99

Since I can’t have candles magically floating around my bedroom before bed (fire hazard, duh), I would opt for equally as magical fairy lights to string around the room. Maybe I could DIY, wrapping them around a hula hoop and hanging some winged keys from it!

$14.99


We watched another movie again tonight and every time I’m reminded just how much the Wizarding World is my happy place. Checking out Pinterest for DIY can be fun. I saw a cardboard DIY Mirror of Erised, an oil burner owl in a cage like a mail owl, and a DIY time turner made from embroidery hoops.

Can someone buy me tickets to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios? Please?

Disclosure: These are affiliate links. Items purchased through these links help me buy them, too!

SDCC Her Universe Fashion Show

In my teens I loved fashion. I had an opportunity to learn how to make clothing through an extneded school program and I’m kind of kicking myself for not doing it. At the time, I didn’t seem to fit in with what was fashionable, though. So I backed away from it, telling myself that it just wasn’t for me after all.

Buuuuuuut,

It would seem that I was totally wrong. For the past couple of years, not only has Her Universe been pumping out some really sick geek designs, but they’ve hosted entire fashion shows at the San Diego Comic Con! Every dress (or what have you) that comes down that runway is heavily inspired by the things that geeks love.

This year, Ashley Eckstein stepped out in a dress made completely of legos. Not only that, but it was sporting the face of Ahsoka from the Star Wars cartoons, a character that Eckstein, herself, voices!

I think my favorite was the Diana Prince Jacket that unfurled into a blazing Wonder Woman dress that sparkled under all those lights. It was freaking magnificent.

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Wonder woman sdcc

I love love love the classic Wonder Woman colors in this dress! it was designed and made by Adria Sanchez-Chaidez, seen here wearing her own gown.

Oh, but there’s more!

AlwaysDress-SelinaZawacki

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There are LED lights in this one that create a glowing doe patronus in the skirt. How cool is this blend of technology and fashion? Also, if you look closely there are hints of Slytherin green not only in the boots, but in the underskirt as well.

The Always Patronus dress is designed and made by SZMOON.

There are a number of other dresses dedicated to all sorts of fandoms, such as Supernatural, The Never Ending Story, and Labyrinth. There are some that I just want to love because I love the Fandom, but can’t really find it in myself to love the design. Maybe you’ll like them better than me!

Fashion isn’t just for the stick thin models and politicians that can afford 1,200$ jackets. It’s for us, too, so that we look good at our new job or on our way to the bus. I know I feel pretty kick ass when I wear my Wonder Woman jewelry or like I could be spirited into another world when I wear my Ghibli get-up.

Check out the dresses here and vote for your favorite until August 11th!

I’d like to note that I in no way own the rights to these photos, they are property of Her Universe. I’m just using them to promote Her Universe and the Her Universe Fashion Show because I love both.

Who Doesn’t Love Cards Games: My Ideas for Games

Lately, we’ve been playing a lot of Exploding Kittens with both families. It’s a super fun and quick game that allows you to either protect your loved one or betray the shit out of them. Hubs likes to put the exploding kitten on the top of the deck every time he defuses it, no matter who is next. He’s a pretty smart and ruthless gamer. We don’t play monopoly with him anymore.

If you know what’s good for you, at least.

Lately I’ve been thinking that I could make my own card game. It doesn’t seem that hard, especially with how many games there are already. You could take a piece of inspiration from this game and that to create something wholly fun.

Last night I had two ideas (and bear with me because these will probably never see the light of day):

Magical Girl Card Game

Sailor Moon

I would set this one up similar to Munchkin. There would be an assortment of character cards to chose from, probably mostly girls. During the course of the game you would level them up with magic items and side kicks like talking cats and fairies.

I wouldn’t put the players up against one another. This game would be more about team work. I think there should be an array of villains to battle, as well. This idea was taken from the Eldritch Horror games and how they cooperatively play against a single villain. Evil Queens and City Destroying Monsters would have special powers and armies that need to be defeated by the party.

I was on a Sailor Moon kick yesterday.

Spell Slinging Cards

Duel

I love everything witchy and witchcraft-like. This idea came from a print I found on Society six of random witchy objects like toadstools, crystals, and knives. I really wanted that on a mug, but my wallet said no.

This idea is more player vs player like Exploding Kittens. The object of the game would be to collect resources, such as herbs and crystals, to create spells to fire at other players. Each player would have a set of hit points and once they reached zero it would be game over. Last man standing wins, kind of game.

There might be incentives to make pacts with other players or rewards for betraying other players. Who knows? I imagine this as witchcraft meets wild west.

Wouldn’t these ideas be kind of rad? I can’t say my husband would happily play  the Magic Girl game, but he might have fun with the other game. Too bad I don’t know the first thing about getting these made.

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A Geek Girl’s Guide to the Science of Baking

While I am a huge fan of all things magical and fantasy, I have another side that not a lot of people get to see. I’m secretly a science geek. Sure, I suck at the math of science, but learning how the world’s “magic” works is really exciting to me.

Baking isn’t much like cooking. Most of the time, you can’t Bob Ross a little fuck up. Baking is, in fact, the magic of chemistry. Measurements have to be precise in order to obtain a desired rise, glaze, or crumb in your baked good.

Surely, this is why I’d rock at Potions at Hogwarts.

Hermoine

We start with flour. That’s kind of obvious in most cases. Usually we work with All Purpose flour which has a middle of the road gluten. This is great for cookies, quick breads, and the such as it won’t become too tough if you treat it right. There’s also cake flour which simply has a finer texture, high protein flour for chewy breads, and alternative flours like almond meal and rice flour.

Most of these have wheat which means they have gluten. This is a kind of glue that pulls together your baked good. This is produced by adding moisture to the flour and mixing correctly. Like Hermoine teaching Ron the correct Swish and Flick technique, there is always a trick to gluten. Never over mix because you’ll end up with a tough bread or a runny batter.

Another very important aspect of baking is the rise. In some cases you don’t want a rise at all, like pie crust. In other cases, like cookies and bread, we need a chemical that will react with the other ingredients and cause pockets of air to form within the product. This is where yeast and baking powder/soda come into play.

Yeast is a fickle creature, an actual live bacteria. It needs just the right temperature to wake up and a decent amount of sugars to get going. Sounds a lot like myself. The best way to awaken the beast is by adding it to luke warm water with a dose of sugar or honey.

Baking Soda, or Sodium Bicarbonate, is a base. This leavener requires some kind of acid within the recipe to work. Think back to your elementary school days when you made the volcano. What did you put in it? Baking soda and vinegar (the acid). Most times the acid comes in the form of brown sugar (who knew?), buttermilk, or lemon juice.

Baking Powder, on the other hand, is a mixture of baking soda and cream of tartar (a dry acid). Sometimes it has cornstarch as well, but not always. This is nowhere near as strong as baking soda, but it is a base and an acid that activates itself once wet. This means that you cannot simply mix and forget a baking powder batter. It will activate once more once heat is applied to the mixture.

Other ingredients create structure. Eggs are moisteners, tenderizers, and binders all at once. An egg means things are going to keep together as you bake. Milk often provides moisture and tenderness. Oil and butter keep the product from going stale by coating the flour and protecting it from the air.

It all seems like magic when you beat together strange things, add heat, and come out with a solid product. Sometimes I feel like a witch brewing up things in my kitchen. Other times I feel kind of like a mad scientist. Either way, I try to enjoy myself in the kitchen. Knowing a bit more about the how and why of baking might ease some of your kitchen worries and let you have a little more fun, too.

Who is Hermoine?

Not once in the entire Harry Potter series does Rowling acknowledge Hermoine’s skin color. Not even a little. Of course, when I read it, I imagined this little know-it-all white girl because I’m white living in a nearly all white community. But, others saw something different and it’s causing quite a stir now.

Casting for “Harry Potter and the Curse Child” placed Noma Dumezweni in the role of Hermoine Granger. Some folks are outraged, claiming that Hermoine was and always will be a white girl. The true fans, on the other hand, aren’t so shocked. Twitter Queen, Rowling herself posted in Twitter that she only specified brown eyes and frizzy hair. She’s down with our new Hermoine. Rowling has seen Dumezweni in action and proclaimed that she was perfect for the role.

And I think I’m loving this as well. Fan art is popping up here and there. Perhaps it was inspired by the new casting, but a hunch tells me that it was always there. This new Hermoine is beautiful as she tried to tame her frizzy hair or worries about their possible expulsion.Hermoine

Source: http://batcii.tumblr.com/

White or Black, Hermoine doesn’t change. She’s still the muggle-born girl, afraid to lose her new place in such a magical world, that we all grew to love. She’s still insanely smart and fiercely loyal. Emma Watson did an excellent job of portraying her on the screen, becoming a role model on and off the screen. With Rolwing’s blessing, Dumezweni will do just the same on the stage.

Geek Girl Getting Her Drink On

One of my favorite past times involves dreaming up businesses. I love to stand in the front window at work and look out at all the businesses lining the street, imagining what I’d do if I owned a particular building. For the shop with the raised level on the inside I imagined a cafe/bookstore combo. For the brick front bar I imagined a pub with modernized bar foods.

Someday, I’d like to own my own business. I think that the cafe/bookstore might be my favorite so far, but a close friend dreams of another kind of bar. In “Dreams Can Level Up Too” I told you guys about her dream of owning a nerdy themed bar, the kind of place where you can grab a drink and a snack while you watch your favorite movies and shows with other people that love it too.

She’s not the first to have this kind of dream. Bars aren’t just for sports anymore. Right here in my very own slice of the North Country we have The Flashback Lounge, a bar where you can play all of your favorite arcade games while you grab a drink. All across the world people have been bringing their nerdiness to the bar scene.

Here’s a list of geek themed bars that I’d like to visit in my lifetime:

  1. The Lovecraft Bar, Portland, Oregon: This horror themed bar pays homage to H.P. Lovecraft in name and hosts what has been voted as the coolest dance parties in Portland. My girlfriend lives in this city and I’m definitely putting it on the list when I finally get the cash to visit her. The tentacles on the wall are a nod to Lovecraft’s most famous creature, C’thulu, and they’ve decorated with everything from voodoo dolls to skeletons. Lovecraft Bar keeps Portland weird.
  2. The Lockhart, Toronto, Canada: Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from me is a beautiful Harry Potter themed bar. The drinks’ names all have to do with J.K. Rowling’s famous series, such as “Befuddlement Brew”, and apparently there’s one with such an obscure name that if you can figure out the reference it is on the house. The neon sign in the bar illuminates the final words in the series, “All was well”, and their logo is a patronus. I can’t say I love the bar’s namesake, Gilderoy Lockhart, but I might just love this bar.Lockhart
  3. Dungeons and Drafts, Fort Collins, Colorado: This is the one that my husband is ashamed that he didn’t think of first. We came across this while looking up how geek bars do on Kickstarter and fell in love. They have an assortment of geek themed cocktails from Doctor Who to Harry Potter and host game nights inside of the medieval styled tavern. I’m not the biggest fan of Colorado, but if I was in the area again I’d make sure to stop by here.

    Vin Deisel plays Dungeons and Dragons with our favorite DM, Matt Mercer to promote his new movie.
    Vin Deisel plays Dungeons and Dragons with our favorite DM, Matt Mercer to promote his new movie.
  4. The Sherlock Holmes Pub, London, UK: I can’t say I’m a huge fan of literature of the past. I have a short attention span and their abundant use of words (ahem, Lovecraft) usually fails to capture my attention. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous character Sherlock Holmes and his many adventures pulls me in and keeps me there. I’m a fan of his many incarnations as well, especially the BBC Sherlock. This bar in London has the standard London fare such as Fish and Chips, but they also have a re-creation of Doyle’s study that you can visit. They open at eleven am and stay open until the wee hours of the night (such as 11:00) so you can start with coffee and work your way into a proper British beer.Sherlocky

These bars have officially been added to my travel bucket list. Don’t think for a second that I haven’t thought of gathering my Potter-head friends for a road trip into Canada. That just might be a thing in the future.

A Confession from Someone Still Waiting for Their Hogwarts Letter

Would you hate me if I said I didn’t really care for Harry Potter?

The books were awesome, there is no doubt of that. The books were on level with readers of Harry’s age. They grew up with the readers, going through the same problems as the audience (well, almost the same since we can’t all be fated wizards). The story arc was complex and the villains fleshed out in a way that broke some of our hearts and kept some of us up at night. I know Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets did.

That said, I don’t really love any of the characters besides Minerva McGonagall, and that’s just admiration. She was a boss ass bitch. The rest of them never leapt off the page and into my heart the way that characters like Karou (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) and Mac Lane (The Fever Series) did.

I love Rowling for another reason, her world. Since I was a kid I had an obsession with magic and witchcraft. For every Halloween I put on the green face paint and grabbed my broom. When I got older I settled for a witch’s hat and probably will when I take my future children trick-or-treating. I own every season of Charmed as well as any witch movie I can get my hands on.

Falling into a world where you can go to school for magic spoke to me in such a way that I was waiting for my acceptance letter. I wanted to brew potions and make things fly with a flick of my wand. I wanted to put on the sorting hat. I wanted to quick travel through floo powder and portkeys right into Diagon Alley. Rowling had created a world of whimsy and infinite possibility.

Mcgonagall

This was my jam.

But the Hogwarts letter never came. There were no owls waiting for me. Believe me, I checked the mail a lot just for that reason. The logical part of my brain said DUH. The other, smaller, part of my brain was crushed. I set aside the books and feigned disinterest in them. The movies I watched out of curiosity, mostly. For a while, I looked down on Potter-heads. I didn’t understand (or maybe, I was jealous that they weren’t crushed).

I think I’m healing. My interest in Harry Potter, or at least the world, is returning. I took a venture through Pottermore and took the sorting hat test. I’m disappointed that I’m not a Ravenclaw, but after some honest introspection Slytherin made sense. I’m a bit of an ass. Other fun quizzes online told me that my patronus would be a horse (pretty awesome) and that I’d make a good journalist in the HP world (why is that not surprising?).

Patronus

Now, to our delight, Universal Studios offers two Harry Potter experiences. At Universal Studios Florida you can visit Diagon Alley and all of their magical shops. You can get a wand at Olivanders or check out Weasley Whizzes for general michief. You can check out Gringott’s Bank and the rollercoaster ride through the vaults. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure you could check out the town of Hogsmeade and grab a butterbeer before hopping on the Hogwarts express that takes you between the two attractions. There, they took inspiration from the Harry Potter books and created two more thrilling and magical roller coaster rides.

I can’t say I wouldn’t absolutely love this. A part of me squeals with excitement when I think about it and I’m not a squealing kind of gal. In the meanwhile, I’ll wait another year for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to be released. The movie is set to be released November 18th or 2016. I would have died to see goofy and wonderful Matt Smith, the eleventh Doctor, play the lead, but I’ll give this other guy a chance while I line my pocket for the trip to Universal Studios.