Halloween at Hogsmeade

a sign at one of the entrances to "Hogsmeade"

This past weekend my boyfriend and I took a trip down to Southern California for Halloween. We spent our first day out there at Universal Studios Hollywood, and most of the time we spent at Universal was at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I grew up with Harry Potter, the age of the trio roughly coinciding with my own age as the books came out. I still find going back and reading the books to be very comforting, so it was fun getting to immerse myself in that world again.

The Wizarding World section of Universal is modeled after Hogsmeade village in winter. Fake snow covers all the buildings, which clashes oddly with the balmy Southern California weather, but looks beautiful. It was a bit overcast the day we were there, so it definitely looks nice and cool in the photos. You wouldn't know that I'm just out of shot, sweating from running about in the heat.

The store fronts all look beautiful, though you can't enter every building. The shops you can't enter are still decorated nicely so you can see interesting details when you peer through the windows, and often the storefront displays are interactive. If you purchase the right type of wand and cast a spell in the right way in front of a window you can make parts of the display move. I didn't get a chance to try it out myself (I left wandless, unfortunately) but it was fun watching other people try it out!

Honeydukes is filled with a variety of sweets mentioned in the books; Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Sherbet Lemon (Dumbledore's favorite), etc. I picked up a Chocolate Frog that contained a Rowena Ravenclaw trading card and a Pumpkin Juice, which I was pleasantly surprised to find contained some actual pumpkin (though it's still mostly apple juice). I'm keen to attempt to recreate the drink at home soon.

In Hogsmeade there's a recreation of The Three Broomsticks, where you can get food and drink. The food is fine, but I was able to finally get a Butterbeer, which was quite good if you're into that sort of thing (it's very sweet).

As I understand it Universal in Orlando has a functioning recreation of the Hogwarts Express, but the one at Universal Hollywood is stationary and just for show. Still, most of the day they have a conductor standing in front of it for photo ops.

And here I am, full geek, trying on my house robes. I was (and continue to be) in denial about getting sorted into Slytherin. I've always thought of myself as a Ravenclaw. But, I've been sorted into Slytherin something like 3 times now, so I'm just starting to accept it, haha.

Autumn Champagne & Gold - Shopping

When I was younger I was incredibly resistant to wearing gold, but as I've gotten older I've warmed to the idea. A few years ago bought my first piece of yellow gold jewelry, then I got a gold iPhone. My jewelry box is still primarily filled with white gold and silver, but I've started to make a little room for gold and rose gold.

Many weeks ago I received a mailer from one my favorite online lingerie stores, Journelle, containing an image of the Champagne Balcony Bra from Fleur of England (above right). The color of the straps caught my interest immediately and I've been obsessed with their Champagne collection ever since. Fleur of England's Sophia collection actually contains 'rose gold' but I find it's a little too pink-leaning for my liking.

More than half of the jewelry I've collected as an adult is from Bloodmilk. Jess offers a lot of her work in a rose gold variant, and eventually I'll pick some up. And, of course, I'm always clad in black, but I find little places to slip in some gold when accessorizing though. Who knows, maybe one day I'll have just as much gold in my wardrobe as silver.

Aromatherapy - Photo Box

It's a long weekend and I decided to take a day to treat myself. I made it out of the house to see X-Men: Apocalypse at Alamo Drafthouse, which was a fun distraction, but it's not exactly poised to become my favorite X-Men movie.

having a reason to dress up was also nice

On the plus side, they often create themed cocktails for showings and the drinks they created for Apocalypse were named after different mutations. I got the Super Strength Shake, which was great. I wanted to try Flight and Immortality, but I'm not a big drinker, so I didn't have room for them.

On the way home I stopped at Paxton Gate and I found a few little things to pick up. 

Sydney Hale Co. makes hand poured soy wax candles and 10% of all profits are donated to dog rescue, which is pretty cool.

The candle I picked up seems to be older stock, from prior to the rebranding they seem to have done recently. I'm hoping their new labels have a protective finish, because I'm sure I'll be picking up more of these in the future and that was the only thing I felt needed to be improved upon.

Applewood & Birch is fresh and lightly sweet. This would make a terrific Fall scent, a nice alternative to the more intense, cloyingly sweet, pumpkin spice candles that are ubiquitous during the season. I'm used to apple-y scents being paired with spice, but this is a different and very pleasant offering. This morning, with the cool breeze flowing through my windows and this fragrance in the air, it almost felt like October.

I also picked up Lavender Eau de Parum by elizabethW. It smells absolutely divine and it actually reminds me of the (now, sadly discontinued) For Strange Women scent, London Fog. However, like London Fog, it has some of the least staying power I've ever experienced with a perfume. I'm not sure if it's this particular scent or my body chemistry or what, but the scent lingers for about an hour before fading completely. I practically doused myself in it and it was almost undetectable in less than two hours. I'm not sure if this is one I'll purchase again even though I'm in love with the smell. What I may do is pick up the hand cream or body oil for this scent and see if the staying power for those products is any better.

It's been a stressful few weeks and I haven't been posting much, but you'll be hearing from me more frequently soon. At any rate, all these nice smells are putting me in a much better mood.

Hope you're all having a pleasant Memorial Day weekend!

Cemetery Drive

draped midi skirt in black nuit | snake harness in oxblood zana bayne | heattech shirt uniqlo | the medium lily dale spiritualism necklace bloodmilk | combat boots volatile

This is a very brief outfit and photo box post because I've been absent for a few weeks! I went graveyard haunting at the Mountain View Cemetery last weekend and I'm extremely glad that I wore comfortable shoes. The cemetery itself is absolutely enormous, and I only really got to explore a small portion of it. The most well known person interred here is probably Elizabeth Short (aka The Black Dahlia) and after a decent amount of searching we did manage to find her grave and pay our respects.

This was my first chance to wear my Nuit draped skirt and it was every bit as comfy as I had hoped. Hiking around in this outfit was a lot easier than I thought it would be. You can't really go wrong wearing mostly jersey and heattech.

I didn't take that many pictures because I was a little allergic-y and tired, but it was a lot of fun all the same. I'm looking forward to making it out there again because the cemetery is beautiful and I'd love to spend more time in it.

Also a huge thanks to Camden Hartley Tayler for taking all of the photos of me, saving me the trouble and embarrassment of fiddling with my tripod and remote shutter in front of a bunch of strangers!