Universal Orlando: Wizarding World of Harry Potter [Photo Essay]

**WARNING: This post contains a lot of pictures.

They are on a hosting server, so the wait time shouldn’t be too long.

However, in other words, I hope you have a fast internet connection!

HERE is the link the the entire album online (over 200 photos). **

  • Date: December 29, 2011
  • Place: Universal Studios Orlando, Islands of Adventure, Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Who: Sasha & Keira [of Love Passion Romance: the romance novel blogzine & Sasha’s Phi Mu sorority sister :) ]
    • We’re both native to Florida and are quite familiar all things Florida theme park-esque from Disney to Universal to Jungle Island down the line…

Keira and I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter before, on December 27, 2010 [Read more…]

A Look Inside ‘Harry Potter: The Exhibition’

Harry Potter fans can rejoice, as Harry Potter: The Exhibition is on tour!

I was so excited about this. I can’t tell you how excited I was, in fact. This was mostly because when the tour stopped at the Discovery Times Center in New York City it was a previously unscheduled stop.

You must, must, must go see this in person. It’s amazing!

New York also served as the tour’s final stop in the United States before it headed abroad. [Read more…]

Harry Potter and the Self-Created Opportunity

It’s no secret that one of my favourite book series of all-time is Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.

As the second part of the final film, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part II, approaches I couldn’t help but stop and think about its author and her story.

And as the story goes, Rowling wrote the first novel and the major crux of her ideas on napkins because she was too poor to afford paper, had been a horrendous, tumultuous relationship and was left with a baby and on her own.

Fast-forward, and Rowling is one of history’s most successful authors having sold well over 400 million (and counting) Harry Potter books.

It’s quite the reinvention story, if there ever was one. But, what I find the most inspiring about it, was that Rowling didn’t let her circumstances stop her from achieving her dream. [Read more…]

Harry Potter Mixology: Lord Voldemort, Harry Potter, Horcrux, and the Golden Snitch Cocktail Concoctions

By: Ashley Bryce and Liana Cole

“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not … and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives … the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies …”

– Sybill Trelawney prophesying to Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)

The prophecy that was overheard by Severus Snape set into motion a series of events that connected Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter altering their lives forever.

Lord Voldemort sought out to stop the prophecy instead brought it to life, giving Harry a lightning scar and himself becoming mangled.

Destiny is best described both sharing striking similarities: half-bloods, orphaned, and viewed Hogwarts as their first real home.

But it is the differences that ultimately mattered with Voldemort caring about no one but himself and Harry holding a love of others.

The final drink Mixology post is dedicated to the Dark Lord and the Boy Who Lived! [Read more…]

Harry Potter Mixology: Hagrid, Hermione, Ron, and Sirius Cocktail Concoctions

By: Ashley Bryce and Liana Cole

Harry Potter never grew up in a caring household with a loving family, so when he entered the magical world he found friendships and a surrogate family.

His best of friends and the two men who were like father figures become treasured companions.

This post is dedicated to Harry Potter’s closest confidants. [Read more…]

Harry Potter Mixology: Dumbledore, McGonagall, Lupin, Snape Concoctions

By: Ashley Bryce and Liana Cole

The Harry Potter world would not be as magical if it wasn’t for the professors at Hogwarts Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The students are taught to brew, to charm, to transfigure, to take care of magical plants, and to defend themselves against the darkest arts.

Without these amazing teachers Harry would not have learned the hardest of lessons.

I dedicate these drinks to Harry’s greatest advisers. [Read more…]

Harry Potter Mixology: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin Concoctions

By: Ashley Bryce and Liana Cole

By Gryffindor, the bravest were
Prized far beyond the rest;
For Ravenclaw, the cleverest
Would always be the best;

For Hufflepuff, hard workers were
Most worthy of admission;
And power-hungry Slytherin
Loved those of great ambition.

-Sorting Hat (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

Hogwarts is divided into four living and learning communities named after the four founders: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin.

As Professor McGonagall stated in the Sorcerer’s Stone, [Y]our house will be something like your family. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory and spend free time in your house common room. [Read more…]

Harry Potter Mixology: Butterbeer, Firewhiskey, Pureblood and Mudblood Concoctions

By: Ashley Bryce and Liana Cole

A recent family trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has inspired some creative concoctions.

A spiked Butterbeer, a strong Firewhiskey, and Pureblood and Mudblood shots are drinks dreamed up by a visit to that magical park.

So enjoy these creations based on the wonderful world of Harry Potter. [Read more…]

Harry Potter Mixology: The Death Eaters Cocktail Concoctions Edition

By: Ashley Bryce and Liana Cole

“They were a motley collection; a mixture of the weak seeking protection, the ambitious seeking some shared glory, and the thuggish gravitating toward a leader who could show them more refined forms of cruelty.”

- Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)

The Death Eaters are the followers of Lord Voldemort.

They are known for their black hoods, masks, and the Dark Mark burned on to their left forearms.

Cruel and ruthless, Death Eaters fought for pure-blood ideals and to take control over muggles and the wizarding world alike.

Devoted to the leader, they both feared and revered, they fought valiantly in his honor knowing deflection and disloyalty meant torture and ultimately death.

In celebration of this evil group, prepare for cocktails that prove being bad never tasted so good. [Read more…]

Harry Potter Mixology: The Goblet of Fire Cocktail Concoctions Edition

By: Ashley Bryce and Liana Cole

“Eternal glory! That’s what awaits the student who wins The Triwizard Tournament, but to do this that student must survive three tasks. Three extremely dangerous tasks.”

– Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film)

The Triwizard Tournament was comprised of four Champions from three of the largest wizarding schools in Europe: Fleur Delacour from the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, Viktor Krum from Durmstrang Institute, and Cedric Diggory and Harry Potter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Chosen from the Goblet of Fire, each of the Champions risked their lives to bring honor to their schools, and glory to themselves.

It is only fitting that they be honored with cocktails that represent each of their unique talents (Harry Potter will be featured at a later date).

The Goblet of Fire

The Goblet of Fire is an impartial judge used to decide which Champion from each school will compete for fame, fortune, and eternal glory.

Impartial but dangerous, once a name is chosen from the Goblet the participant must compete, entering into a binding magical contract.

Pyromaniacs get excited, lets set this Goblet on fire. [Read more…]

OMG It’s EPIC! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Trailer

I. have. no. words.

I, like many of you my age, grew up reading Harry Potter.

I read my first book when I was 13-years old. If math isn’t your forte, that was, in fact, 13-years ago this summer.

It. Is. Going. To. Be. EPIC.

Watch below [Read more…]

Harry Potter Mixology: Fred, George, Luna, Neville, Draco Cocktail Concoctions

Image via Sasha Muradali

By: Ashley Bryce and Liana Cole

We have all grown up reading J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece series Harry Potter.

It has been 14-years since the Philosopher’s Stone was released in the UK and now with the release of the final movie fast approaching, we are going to want something stronger than pumpkin juice to toast the end of an era, or at the very least something strong to drown away the no more Harry Potter blues.

What better way to commemorate the Harry Potter legacy than to create cocktails for the most beloved (or despised) characters. [Read more…]

WATCH: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Trailer

It. Is. Going. To. Be. EPIC. [Read more…]

Inhale Courage, Exhale Fear II: Happiness, Heart and the Soul

“We are each responsible for our own life – no other person is or can ever be.”

– Oprah Winfrey

Sometimes we make things harder than they are, a life thrust forward into the twisted changing of the wind, under an immaculate sun, as I have come to call it.

In life, a lesson should be learned for each action we react to. Small or large, lessons learned teach us and facilitate in our growth. Without growth we cannot progress, we cannot move onward — most of all, we cannot achieve the completion of a fulfilled self.

Call it a rite of passage, the lessons of life, part of the eternal rising of the sun — call it what you wish, but embrace it because [Read more…]

Drugs, Sex & Lies Revisited: Sweet Valley Re-Emerges 10-Years Later With CONFIDENTIAL

Holy heck and some, the drama of the drug-infested, kidnapping-crazed, sex-obsessed world of Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High series has returned!

Mark thy calendars because 1983 will return with a lusty, vengeful twist on March 29, 2011.

That is the date set for the release of a new book, Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later.

At the popularity of its fame, Sweet Valley High were the books for young girls across the globe as they chronicled the drama-filled lives of 16-year old twins Elizabeth (the good one) and Jessica Wakefield (the not-so-good one), the “perfect” California twins with eyes “exactly the colour of the Pacific Ocean.”

The new book, to be published in hardcover form, is not a teen book [Read more…]

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