It must be magic.

Every now and then, you pop into a creepy bait & tackle shop in upstate New York so that your best friend can by 25 cent romantic novels for a bachelorette party she's throwing and you come upon "It Must Be Magic" with a handwritten inscription stating that it's from the local school's 4th grade class of 1959. You ask her to purchase it for you because you don't have a quarter and you have to own it. So your best friend buys it for you because that's what best friends are for.

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Even though I'm currently trying to minimize the amount of seemingly unnecessary items in my life, sometimes you just have to add to that pile.

GLIMPSE OF ITALY THROUGH MY CAMERA.

I went to Italy with my two best girlfriends since the 6th grade ( that's over 15 years of best friendship with Ann & Jessica ) and I'm commemorating the trip with a less than adequate video montage of our travels. 

This is not professional footage and I'm not a pro-editor so don't judge too harshly, but I'll admit that this was a fun project to work on. I've always been an avid photographer, but I think I might be switching my camera to video mode more often now.

Don't worry - I won't quit my day job, but I may waste some hours on cutting together nonsense movies when I should be sleeping. Special thanks to Ann for shooting the 4-5 seconds of footage that includes me so it looks like I was on the trip too.

QUIZBOWL.

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I've never seen an online quiz I didn't like. Well, maybe not like so much as feel strongly compelled to throw away 5 minutes of my time in order to find out how I relate to some passe pop culture reference. I can remember many a night staying up well past a respectable bedtime during highschool in order to find out thrilling information like what drink I would be in the off chance that I'm reincarnated as a beverage.

It's been more than a few years since I've obsessively filled out meaningless online quizzes, but, for some reason, they seem to be crossing my path with frequency these days and I cannot resist.

I have to say, however, that the results have been more than a little disappointing. Either I have a really distorted perspective on the type of person I am . . . or these quizzes suck. I'm banking on the latter.

So if you are wondering....

What Downton Abbey character am I? Take the quiz here.
THOMAS. F*ING. BARROW.

What Muppet am I? Take the quiz here.
SWEDISH. CHEF.

What city I am most likely from based on my dialect? Take the quiz here.
SOMEWHERE IN NEW MEXICO.
(My mom is from California. My dad is from New York. I was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. Maybe that adds up.)

What city I should live in based on my interests? Take the quiz here.
PORTLAND.

What Wes Anderson movie character am I? Take the quiz here.
MORDECAI. THE BIRD! #$%@&*!!

What Bluth am I? Take the quiz here.
Michael Bluth. Thank God.

Photo Credit: Thomas Barrow // Photo Credit: Swedish Chef

PLANTS TODAY, GONE TOMORROW.

There are many things that I've noticed change about me since I've begun nearing the age of 30. I wear high heels to work some days. I take sleeping pills in order to have a good night's rest. I get semi-regular haircuts. I drink a lot more coffee and sparkling water. White wine is my alcoholic beverage of choice. I cry approximately 400% more. I cleanse a few times a year and I have house plants.

I guess I was too young and carefree in my early 20s to care about such things, but now I buy plants and attempt to keep them alive. (I know what you are thinking - She's too carefree for plants, but not too carefree for a dog, husband, and child - They're just much more self sufficient than my basil) Luckily for me, the plants that I share my home with are supposedly the easiest ones to maintain: Cacti (succulents in general), avocado seeds with toothpicks in them, and air plants. Despite that fact, I kill them all. I contemplated throwing my replacement air plants directly into the trash after purchase instead of watching them slowly suffer in my living room, but where's the fun in that? I go through plants like I went through goldfish as an adolescent (the living being - not the cracker). 

R.I.P Plop, Plaque, Plop Junior, Plaque Junior, Plop II . . . you get the picture . . .

Here's to hoping my current batch will last until next week.

And, if not, then I'll just buy this grab bag from Air Plant Supply Co. That sounds like a good idea too.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

I realized my dream of visiting Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry recently and, if you know me in any capacity, you know how much this means to me.

I love me the Harry Potter.

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Although it is darn near close to perfect in every way, the magic of the experience dissolves when you have 200 muggles in your photos of the Honeydukes' shop window. Fortunately, this can all be solved with a simple solution that my brother and I came up with while complaining in front of the owl post next to Ollivander's. 

Upon entering the Hogsmeade city limits, everyone must don a cloak. Of course, you are more than welcome to dress from head to toe in wizard appropriate attire - I'm certainly not going to stop you, but for the less dedicated just cover up those tank tops and cut-offs with a full length black cloak...and maybe a hat if you have especially muggle-looking hair.

There's the tiny hitch of it being located in Orlando which is basically the equivalent of living on the Sun during most of the year (and a black cloak seems like the least obvious choice in such temperatures), but I'm sure that can be remedied with a couple of billion dollar snow machines (small price to pay for authenticity) which was my only other point of contention. I can't fully enjoy the snow covered majesty of the Hogwarts' rooftop when I'm sweating like a Slytherin in church.

Surprisingly the one thing that I expected to disappoint did not - the Butterbeer. Sure, one could argue that everything tastes better when it's on draft at the Hog's Head Pub with a view of Gryffindor tower, but I'm pretty sure this actually tasted good. If you want to experience your own but can't make it to the heart of one of our country's least favorite states - then just follow this recipe. I swear on Godric Gryffindor's sword that it tastes as if Madam Rosmerta served it herself. But I can't do anything about getting you a giant turkey leg. You're on your own.

And pour one out for Fred Weasley while you're there.

 

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Disney World.

"After Disney World, everything is like garbage." - Eli, 8 years old

  Magic Kingdom / October 2013 / Happiest Place on Earth

Magic Kingdom / October 2013 / Happiest Place on Earth