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Posted on Apr 16, 2012 in Dear Diary | 24 comments

Harry Potter and the Epic Party (Part 1)

Ahoy-hoy, friends! I hope you all had a MAGICAL weekend, because I know I sure did! My 24th birthday party took place on Saturday and as you are all more than aware, it was Harry Potter-themed! Since I’d been touting my excitement for this party for far too long, there was always a chance that the build-up would outdo the actual party itself. Luckily, I’m glad to report that I had a smashing time! And hopefully my party guests — Muggles and Wizards and House Elves alike — did as well.

An amazing shot that Ben got of Dobby/Taylor and Harry/me before the party.

My wonderful brother graciously played the role of photographer for most of the night, so you’ll have to wait just a little longer for photos from the party itself (the costumes that some people came up with were amazing!). Before things got kicking, however, I did make sure to capture detail shots of the decorations, food, drinks, and whatnot. Prepare yourselves for a photo schmorgasbord of Potteriffic proportions! (Consider this your official nerd alert!)

IMG_6515 IMG_6517
The foyer, all done up.

IMG_6477 Dumbledax!

Order of Merlin: First Class & Chief Wizard of the Wizengamot

Harry the Gryffindor Lion!

Common Room IMG_6488
Stanley the Pygmy Puff kept watch over the Common Room.

The basement became the Dungeons, naturally!

Astronomy Tower
While Hedwig guarded the entrance to the Astronomy Tower upstairs.

Chamber of Secrets Basilisk
Guests who dared enter the Chamber of Secrets had to avoid the stare of our baby basilisk…

Potions Lab
… if they hoped to make it to the Potions Lab, where the real fun began!

Potions Lab
Cauldrons Brewing
There was a Butterbeer station as well as a batch of Polyjuice Potion (Vodka Lemonade + Blue Curacao) all brewed up!

Felix Felicis
The Felix Felicis (Goldschlager) and Veritaserum (Pinnacle Whipped) shots ended up being quite popular!

Liquid Luck

Butterbeer Bites Butterbeer Jelly Shot
As were these DELICIOUS Butterbeer Jelly Shots (thanks for the tip, Dani!!)

The Lost Diadem
Can you spot the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw?

Georgetown Cupcakes! Bernie Bott's Every Flavour Beans
And of course, we can’t forget about the food…!

Chocolate Frogs
Chocolate Frogs I made using this mold, some stuffed with Maple Almond Butter, some with cookie dough!

Golden Snitches
Golden Snitch cakepops

Snitch Cake Pops

Muggle Munchies
Mandrake Roots
Muggle Munchies, Mandrake Roots, and the piece de resistance…

Hogwarts Cupcakes
Georgetown, I mean, Hogwarts Cupcakes!!

Ravenclaw - Coconut Gryffindor - Red Velvet
Hufflepuff - Vanilla and Chocolate Slytherin - Key Lime
Ravenclaw: Coconut; Gryffindor: Red Velvet; Slytherin: Key Lime; Hufflepuff: Vanilla with Chocolate Frosting

So yes, maybe to some this seems like a dork gone overboard. But to me, it was the makings of an awesome party atmosphere! And judging by the way I felt Sunday morning, it was a rockin’ party, too. Stay tuned for Part 2!

Happy Monday!

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Posted on Apr 10, 2012 in Food, Recipes | 14 comments



Ahh, butterbeer. You glorious, glorious little imaginary drink. I had my first taste of you on this past February’s trip to Hogsmeade, straight from the taps at the Three Broomsticks, and since then I haven’t been able to get you off my mind.

Frozen Butterbeer Icey

Good thing I have my upcoming Harry Potter-themed birthday party as an excuse to reintroduce you into my life, eh?

Butter me up! Take a sip... Butterbeer!

Of course, the Butterbeers that I had at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter were frozen (which would be hard to replicate at the party) and amazing but distinctly non-alcoholic. And this ain’t a party for house elves, you know. I fully expect my guests to get their buzz on. So naturally, in order to get an alcoholic, non-frozen version right, some experimentation was in order.

Most of the recipes that I found online called for cream soda and butterscotch schnapps, that’s it. And while I’m sure that combination works for some people, the unadulterated amount of sweetness from that concoction was ridiculous. Pretty much undrinkable. Luckily, my lovely friend Lara already had a solution.


She recommended combining the cream soda with light beer as well. That way, she said, you get twice the fizzy carbonation, half the sweetness, and the sugar masks the beer-y flavor. So I took her advice and tried it out: a shot of schnapps, half beer, half soda. Turns out, she was totally on point! The beer flavor is just barely there (it would probably be more noticeable if you used a non-light/stronger tasting beer), and the butterscotch and vanilla flavors still come through!


Even by halving the cream soda, however, I did still find the concoction crazy sweet. The schnapps itself is really sweet and sugary too, after all! So my next experiment was with a ratio of almost 2/3 beer to 1/3 cream soda, and I thought it was great. If you absolutely can’t stand the very thought of tasting any beeriness, you might want to stray towards the first combination, but I found it very refreshing and still totally Butterbeer-y.

I added some coconut whipped cream to replicate the head, purely for photo effect since it added even more (read: too much) sweetness.

So there you go! My only other tip would be to make sure that both the beer and the cream soda are cold. I made my first batch with cold beer but room temperature soda and it was just slightly more cloying than I think it would have been had the entire thing been nice and cold. Not that there’s any actual kind of “recipe” involved in this, but in case you were looking for something a little more neat and tidy, here you are:



Buttershots butterscotch schnapps
Light beer of choice
Cream soda


Pour one shot of schnapps into a glass (or, probably more accurately, a solo cup). Fill it one-third of the way with cream soda, then top off the last two-thirds of the cup with beer. Enjoy, Muggles and wizards alike!


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