Week in Review {HAPPY HALLOWEEN!}

Happy Halloween, bloggy readers!

What are you doing to celebrate All Hallow's Eve? I'm staying in and relaxing after a busy day spent grading and lesson planning. We didn't have any big plans this year since Ricky has an important case coming up in court next week and I had all this last-minute grading to do. But last night we watched this scary movie called The Evil Dead that is pretty much nightmare-inducing. If we hadn't followed that up with Jurassic Park 2, I don't think I would have slept well last night!

The rest of my weekend has been pretty chill. I needed it after that hellish work week! Not that anything particularly bad happened at work or anything, it was just a mountain of little annoyances that kept piling up. Which made me REALLY appreciate my weekend.

Here are my blog posts from the past week in case you missed any: 

21 days left...

The Impotence of Proofreading

Little Bee

Lolcat of the Week

Ricky & me last year on Halloween.
Hope you're having a safe & happy Halloween! :-D

These are a few of my (current) favorite things...

Rose Absolute.
I first heard of this perfume about six years ago. I'm very picky when it comes to scent, but I fell in love with this perfume from the get-go. It smells just like the heart of a rose -- it's that intense, that pure. And it was designed by Stella McCartney, Paul McCartney's daughter. So that ups the perfume's coolness factor by like a bajillion or so. This is the only perfume that has come close to being called my signature scent. Unfortunately, it seems to be out of production at the moment, so for now I am treasuring the bottle that my parents gave me for my birthday.
freshly laundered sheets.
There are few things better in life than snuggling into bed after you've dressed it with freshly laundered sheets. Ahhhh...

"everything" bagels.
Bagels are always yummy, but I think "everything" bagels are especially yummy. It's the bagel equivalent of "everything but the kitchen sink." It tastes amazing with virtually any flavor cream cheese. And it's pretty much amazing.

flannel shirts.
Thanks to this lovely lady, I have recently been inspired to give flannel a chance. Given the fact that I haven't respected flannel since my grunge stage in the 1990's, this is a pretty big deal. The good news is that brands like Old Navy and Modcloth have updated the flannel look, bringing it in a bit at the waist and adding clever little details to help pretty it up. I won't say how many flannel shirts I've purchased in the past few months, but let's just say I'd give Paul Bunyan a run for his money. ;)

When I worked in Miami International Airport all those years ago (it seriously feels like another lifetime), I used to wear a uniform on a daily basis which basically consisted of a shirt, skirt, jacket, and heels. After I finally completed my undergraduate work in English Literature and started teaching, it was a relief to give the uniform a rest. Gone were the skirts, jackets, and heels. Which is not to say I began dressing like crap -- I understood that I had to reflect a professional demeanor in my dress, but I learned how to do that in button-down shirts, slacks, and cute flats or kitten heels. This became my uniform of sorts, and I stuck to it for the next 7 years or so of teaching. Until this year. Lately I've been dressing up a bit more, adding jackets to my ensembles and venturing into shoes with a wee bit of a higher heel. I like how this makes me feel like a professor, especially the jackets, and while I haven't gone so far as to wear a skirt or a dress, I appreciate looking more professional in my attire. And I have a feeling that reflects somehow in my teaching, too -- I think it allows my students to take me a bit more seriously.
The Age of Adz.
I first fell in love with Sufjan Stevens after his Illinois album, and I've been catching up with his music ever since. I love his music because his voice is so soothing and his musical compositions are uniquely stirring, and his lyrics are also thought-provoking. His latest album, The Age of Adz, is no exception. It may prove difficult to listen to at first, but that's only because it's so different from anything you've ever heard before, even from him. But after two listens, I was hooked.

You can give The Age of Adz a listen here:

What are your favorites this month?

{all pictures credit of we heart it.}

21 days left...

...until I get to see THIS in the theater:

I can't wait!!! What scene are you most looking forward to seeing in Deathly Hallows Part 1? Let me know in the comments! Also, please do yourself a favor and read Busy Bee Lauren's post from earlier today concerning pumpkin juice. Too. Funny.


The Impotence of Proofreading

As an English teacher for students in grades 9-12, looking out for spelling or grammatical mistakes isn't just my day job, it's my passion. I get a kick out of catching mistakes in published books, magazines, or newspapers. I really do. I have even been known to manually correct these mistakes on the printed page. Something about finding those mistakes, whether it's the writer's inability to distinguish between than/then, theirs/there's, or my personal favorite, its/it's, makes my brain hurt. So I just have to correct them. You know, to make my brain happy.

Now I know that mistakes happen sometimes. I'm not trying to say I'm perfect. God knows I'm not! I'm sure some of my blog posts might have an error or two in them. And mistakes aren't necessarily a bad thing, because they can serve as learning tools. But when the mistakes are plentiful, when it's obvious the writer did not even glance at his/her paper before handing it in, that's when I take it personally. Because it's a lack of respect to the reader, which is motivated in turn by a lack of caring on the part of the writer -- he/she couldn't spare the extra second to proofread his/her work because he/she just doesn't care.  He/she doesn't care about you, the reader. Or if the paper ever gets read. In fact, he/she is probably hoping it never gets read. Especially by someone wielding a red pen.

What did you think of the video? Do you proofread any work you write before submitting it, whether academically or professionally?

Kudos to my bloggy friend Asheyna for sending me the video! You inspired this post. :)


Little Bee

Now that I'm done with my thesis work, and all the editing and re-editing is DONE, it is such a pleasure to enjoy reading as a hobby again. For a while there, it felt more like a chore!

As you probably know, I recently reread the Harry Potter series for the third time. I think every time I reread that series, I'm reminded of how wonderfully written it is -- and how vastly inferior the Twilight series is in comparison. If you've been reading my blog for a long time, you know that at the height of the Twilight frenzy, I was a huge fan. But something happened over time -- it's like I grew weary of sparkly vampires and hormonally challenged shape-shifters. Of course the fact that everything media-related became over-saturated with Twilight didn't help.

But I will say this -- even at the height of its popularity, the Harry Potter has never ceased being fascinating and amazing for me. I think that's the mark of a well-written book series, don't you?

Now that I'm done with Harry Potter (again), I've been turning my attention to new books. I recently read Little Bee by Chris Cleave. And by recently I mean last night. I first picked it up around 7 PM yesterday, and when I got home at 10 PM, I decided to read a page or two more before going to bed. One or two pages turned into a hundred. Then two hundred. And before I knew it, it was 3 AM and I had finished the book.

It's obviously a page-turner!

Have you read Little Bee? I don't want to say much about it in case you haven't read it, because to discuss the plot would give away the experience of  finding it out yourself. It's not so much that the novel contains a twist as it harbors secrets, secrets that a discussion might reveal prematurely for anyone who hasn't yet read the book. So let's save the discussion to the comments. If you HAVE read Little Bee, I want to know your thoughts on the novel. I've been dying to discuss it with somebody ever since I finished reading it!

If you haven't read Little Bee, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. It's terrifying, beautiful, and poignant all at once. It's one of those books that stays with you long after you've put it down.

Up next on my reading list is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. What are you reading right now? :)


Week in Review

Yeah, yeah, I know -- last week's Week in Review post is a little late. You can blame this for my tardiness:

That's right, I was too busy reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yesterday to blog. And you know what? I had a great time rereading that book, such a great time, I didn't even miss blogging. Or doing anything else for that matter, hehe. This was my third time rereading the series and I'm always struck by how well constructed Rowling's plot sequence is throughout the series, especially in the last book.

Have you read the Harry Potter series? If so, which book is your favorite? (Mine is a tie between the Prisoner of Azkaban and the Deathly Hallows.)

Here are last week's posts in case you missed any:

Hope you are having a great day! :-)


Lolcat of the Week

Dood... I wish I could sleep in this Monday morning! Have a great Monday, bloggy friends. :)


Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, bloggy readers!

I am so blissed out that Friday is finally here. This has felt like a never-ending week. I guess the stress from my thesis defense had me wound so tight that even though the defense has been over since Tuesday, I was still feeling tense. I kept falling asleep on Ricky all week! I'm not kidding -- minutes after arriving at his house, I would sink into his bed and pass out, before he could put a DVD on for us or anything. Poor thing. I don't know how he puts up with my narcoleptic ways, I swear. *shakes head in disbelief*

I have no major plans for this weekend, and that suits me just fine. I have to grade my students' end-of-term projects, polish off my final thesis draft and make sure the margins are all perfect so I can deliver it next week, and I had wanted to start up the NaNoWriMo thing this weekend so I'd be all set for November. In between all that, I might be meeting up with some friends for drinks and dinner, which is always nice. After hanging out with hormonal teenagers all week, it's a breath of fresh air to hang out with people my own age. ;)

Before I close, here are my answers to Lauren's fill in the blank for this week:

1. I am... a lover, a dreamer, a planner, a writer, a reader, a teacher, a daughter, a friend. 

2. I wish... sometimes that Ricky and I were married already, and that we had that cute little house with the white picket fence and the 2.5 kids and everything, but then I remember we're happy, and I regain faith that it will all happen in good time.

3. I like... to laugh. A lot. There are few things I love more than a good joke.

4. I can... stay happily at home for hours at a time without getting bored. I think it's the natural temperament of a bookworm/writer -- leave me alone with my books and my computer, and I'm perfectly content.

5. I hope... to have at least one kid before I die. I used to want four (!), but I've scaled that number down considerably after weighing the pros and the cons. ;)

6. I think... some things in life are better left a mystery. It keeps things interesting.

7. I try... to avoid confrontation whenever and wherever I possibly can. I avoid it like the plague! I know sometimes a little confrontation can be a good thing, but I hate it all the same.

Any interesting plans for the weekend? Let me know in the comments! :)


And the winner of the Busy Bee Lauren giveaway is...

Using Random.org, I selected the following number:


And the commenter with the lucky 5th comment was:


Congrats Micaela! I will be emailing you shortly to get your mailing address for the prize. :D

Stay tuned for post #2 with my answers to Lauren's fill in the blank for this week. And thank you to everyone who entered this giveaway. Extra special thanks go to Busy Bee Lauren for sponsoring it. Let me know if you would like to sponsor the next one!



Ricky and I love to kill time by looking up cool videos on YouTube. Here's one we found the other day. It's for a scene that wound up being cut from the original "Fantasia" film. It's beautiful and evocative, but what makes it especially cool is that it was a collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali. 

What did you think of it? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!


A Very Good Day.

Yesterday was a very good day. In case you didn't know, yesterday I had my defense for my master's thesis. Some of you asked what my thesis topic was, and this is it, in a nutshell: Displacement, Identity, and Assimilation in Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient. That was my thesis title. Still doesn't make sense? Here's my abstract:
Displacement is a prevalent issue today, with immigration being such a contentious topic. Immigrants often find themselves marginalized and must sublimate the irreconcilable aspects of their past in order to assimilate. Much of postmodern literature explores the issues of displacement and marginalization, with emphasis on the concept of the Other.
The purpose of this discourse is to discuss how author Michael Ondaatje develops the themes of displacement, identity, and assimilation in the novel The English Patient. Both a biographical and a postcolonial approach were utilized in my discussion – biographical, because Ondaatje himself experienced displacement as an immigrant, which greatly influenced his work, and postcolonial, because The English Patient explores the tension between Eastern and Western cultures, particularly in postcolonial India.
In case you've never heard of the book before, here's its Amazon page, which has a brief synopsis. The English Patient is my all-time favorite book -- has been, ever since I first saw the film my senior year of high school and learned it was based on a book. As much as I loved the movie (even though I cried like a baby at the end), the book was a million billion zillion times better. But isn't it always?! As romantic and haunting as the film is, the novel is just amazing. If you are looking for a good book to read, a book in which to really lose yourself, give this one a try.

But anyway, I digress. Back to yesterday. So I was a nervous wreck all day. Worried I would forget to bring something important, worried my outfit wouldn't look good, worried there would be traffic causing me to be late, and generally worried I would make a fool of myself. My loving boyf lovingly drove me to the university and sat in the hall while I met with my committee. Thank God for him -- I honestly don't think I could've gone through the entire process without him. He really calmed me down yesterday.

My committee members were great, too. These were the professors who agreed to be part of my team, two of whom I'd met as their students at FIU. So they knew me and were familiar with my work. My third member was a last-minute addition after my original lead member retired before I could finish my thesis (this was totally my fault -- I had major writer's block shortly after picking my thesis topic). I gave up all hope when I couldn't find a new committee member. And I knew time was running out -- I had only until Fall 2010 to complete my thesis and graduate on time. And then the head of the English department (who just happens to be a member of my committee) stepped in to save the day. He found me a new lead professor. He pretty much saved my life!

And oh yeah, my new lead professor kicked ass. As much as I love my original lead professor, I think my new lead professor gave me that sense of discipline I so desperately needed. He would gently urge me in the right direction every time I lagged, and he writes the.most.encouraging.emails. Seriously, they would make my day and inspire me to keep writing.

As supportive as my committee was during the writing process, they were especially so during the defense. I had no idea what to expect. I thought it would be like those scenes in in detective shows, where the suspect is handcuffed to a table with a bright light shining right into his eyes, blinding him. Thank goodness that wasn't the case at all! The meeting was held in a conference room on the English department floor. There was no one else present, just my three committee members and me. And there was no handcuffs, no blinding light, no incriminating questions. They just asked me questions about my thesis that were honestly a pleasure to answer, things like, what inspired you to choose this topic? And, how does this relate to your life? As displacement is something that greatly interests me, my being the daughter of immigrants, this was a topic I could warm up to easily. And obviously it helped that I love the book so much.

After 45 minutes of this informal Q&A session, they asked me to step outside the room so they could deliberate. This is when your committee decides whether or not they're going to approve your thesis. I sat on a chair in the hall with Ricky, nervous as heck, but I was confident my defense had gone well and that kept me hopeful. Five or ten minutes later, they called me back into the room and congratulated me on being approved. They even brought out a little cake! I was so touched. :*)

Here are some pictures we took:

My committee members and me. I love how ginormous my smile is here, heh.

Ricky, me, and my congratulatory butterfly cake.

After we left FIU, Ricky took me to a nearby Borders to kill some time while the traffic died down (it was rush hour at that time), and I got to use a giftcard I'd received for my birthday. I bought myself two new books: Harry Potter Film Wizardry and Crescendo. Then Ricky took me to Carrabbas for dinner and we followed that up with an impulsive trip to Yogurtland, where I discovered to my extreme happiness that they now have red velvet yogurt. SO HAPPY. That was an excellent way to celebrate my defense, as I got to experience all my favorites: books, Italian food, and frozen yogurt!

So what's next now that my defense is done? What's next is turning in the final copy of the thesis, which has to be printed on bond paper (fancy, no? ;D) and turned in inside of a box. What's cool about this is that my university, FIU, will publish it and then I will be able to visit my thesis in the school library, where it will live with the other books. How cool is that?!

Today some coworkers were asking what I am going to do with all my newfound free time now that my thesis is done. Honestly, it feels a little weird not having that responsibility in the back of my mind anymore. For years now, I've been neighbors with that thought -- I came to know it very well. I think I'll need to continue writing in some way to help ease myself out of that routine, so I'm considering doing NaNoWriMo. I have an idea for a novel I'd like to flesh out some, and it would be amazing if I could write an entire novel in just one month.

Surely this isn't impossible -- after all, I wrote my thesis, which wound up being about 63 pages, in less than a month. ;)

Before I close, I want to thank my sweet, sweet readers who wished me well every step of the way. Thanks for putting up with my thesis rambles both here and on Twitter/Facebook! You were an important part of the process, and your encouragement meant a lot to me.


Lolcat of the Week

Hm, I wonder if the old saying, "Blondes have more fun," really is true... According to this week's Lolcat, I think it might be! ;)

Have a great Monday, everyone!

Week in Review

This is going to be a very short but sweet Week in Review post. I have my thesis defense on Tuesday and I have been busy making last-minute changes and preparing myself mentally for the kinds of questions my committee will probably ask me.

I still have to make the changes the graduate office recommended I make on my thesis -- I got it back from them last week with their penciled in corrections and suggestions, and happily, they weren't as numerous as I'd feared they'd be. But they do seem to hold an unusual prejudice against the word "this" -- the word is circled practically every time I use it in my manuscript. I guess they want me to replace it with another word, to try and vary the sentence structure up a bit and make it more specific, but still... "This" is a pretty common word! Brian Eno even has an amazing song with that word as its very title.

If any of my readers have gone through a thesis defense before, especially in English Literature, please get in touch with me! I am sick to my stomach with fear curious about the process.

When I wasn't freaking out over my impending thesis defense this week, I was grading papers, hanging out with Ricky, reading some more Harry Potter (finished Order of the Phoenix and now I'm well into Half-Blood Prince), going to see a friend perform in a community theater production of "Guys and Dolls," and visiting some friends of ours in West Palm Beach. I truthfully don't know where last week went -- it was a frenzied, crazy-fast week.

Here are my blog posts from earlier this week in case you missed any:
Things making me veddy, veddy happy right now...

700 posts?! This calls for a GIVEAWAY!

Lolcat of the Week

(Birthday) Week in Review

 Okay, now that you've had the short of it, here's the sweet:

Tell me that's not the cutest thing you've ever seen... Right? Well, I hope you have yourself a great Sunday. :-) 

P.S.) I apologize for the lack of blog comments lately -- I haven't had much time to visit your lovely blogs, but I promise that will all change after Tuesday! 


Things making me veddy, veddy happy right now...

1. So I asked my students the following question as a short response assignment in class today: "What if life had a reset button?" And I got the most adorable response from this one girl, who basically said she would go back in time to last weekend when she went to an all-you-can-eat buffet and apparently ate "like a piggy" (her words). My students make my heart happy, they're so darn cute.
2. Speaking of eating like a piggy, Ricky took me to Cracker Barrel today after work for no good reason other than I was craving breakfast at 5:00 PM. This may not have been good for my waistline, but I loved it nevertheless. And I love Ricky a WHOLE lot. He gets me like no one else.
3. I am loving the cooler weather that has decided to grace South Florida. I'm not breaking out the boots and jackets ... yet. But I did buy a pretty new scarf the other day. I can't wait to wear it!
4.  Starbucks brought back their Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. And all the angels rejoiced...
5. I ordered these feather earrings from Bueno Bueno and they arrived today. I immediately ripped open the package and tried them on. And oh yeah, fell in love. I've been wearing them around the house all night. Speaking of feathers... have you entered my latest giveaway yet? If you love feathers, you might want to!

Pardon the blur -- this was taken with my iPhone.
What's making you happy right now? :)


700 posts?! This calls for a GIVEAWAY!

This is officially my 700th post. 699 posts ago, I had a brand-new blog and no followers. But I had the desire to write -- the desire to be heard, known. 699 posts later, I now have 166 followers. Which is amazing. Some of you have become good bloggy and interwebby friends of mine. Thank you for following my blog, whether you've been here for all 700 posts or are a recent follower. :-)

As a special thank-you to my followers, I am holding a giveaway that will be open only to current followers of this blog. Since this is a special giveaway, I decided to ask a special someone to sponsor it. And that special someone is none other than the lovely Busy Bee Lauren, who actually inspired me to begin blogging in the first place.

Here is the prize Lauren has so generously provided for this giveaway:

This Tigerlily hairclip is a true signature piece that will brighten up any outfit. I'm mad about feathers, so I'm truly jealous of whomever wins this prize! :)

And here are the rules for my giveaway:

1.) Leave a comment telling me one random fact about yourself. Be sure to include your email addy in this comment!
(1st entry -- mandatory!)

2.) Leave another comment if you tweet about this giveaway. Be sure to "mention" me by writing @AnnieCristina inside the tweet (that will ensure I get the tweet).
(2nd entry -- bonus entry!)

3.) Leave yet another entry if you blog about this giveaway. Be sure to provide the link in your comment!
(3rd entry -- bonus entry!)

I will be selecting a winner at random on October 22nd, 5:00 PM. One lucky winner will be winning the Tigerlily hairclip, so don't forget to enter before 5:00 PM (EST) on October 22nd. Good luck! :-)


Lolcat of the Week

Star Wars reference FTW. (Yes, I'm a geek.)

Happy Monday, everyone! :)


Hooked [poem]


Love was what you wanted to show me. You called it
Curled your tongue around the word tenderly
So that it flowed into my ears and trickled
Down my spine. You reeled me in:
Little fish me, dangling
On the hook of you.

Swimming in it, Love,
Oh weren't you just swimming in me.
We camouflaged our dreams
Beneath a surface of sanity.
I glided over you, I rippled through you.
I was the surprise of rain in your desert
You were the man I conjured up in my head.
I embodied you as fire,
But you decided to become smoke instead.

What a girl thinks of in times like these
Is hard to describe,
When the whole of Love crashes into her
And sends her reeling.
The wine glasses begin to glitter promises
And violins sound like laughter,
But roses start to look dangerous,
With their threat of thorns hiding behind a veil
Of red lace and sickly sweet perfume.

And when she is cradled, when she is spooned
Into the back of him,
Breathing in the incense of his scent,
She thinks that this must be Love, and that this
Is what she is destined for. Everything crystallized
Into this diamond drop earring of a moment
That she will wear all of her yesterdays.

This is Love, and this and this:
A faded photograph clutched to her heart
As the memories begin to disintegrate.
I can't remember his face anymore,
But I know his eyes were blue, that is all.
He taught me love, he taught me what it meant
All of its dimensions, all of its depths.

Drowning in it, Love, oh weren't we just drowning in it.


(Birthday) Week in Review

Do you know what day it is today, bloggy readers? Yes, it is 10/10/10, which is cool in and of itself, but it also happens to be my birthday. Which is pretty cool, too. My belly is full from my birthday breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes (yum) and I've got a cup of hot peppermint tea by my side (to help digest the chocolate explosion that was my breakfast), which can only mean one thing -- it's time to write my (Birthday) Week in Review post. And away we go...

So I was lame in the blogging department this week -- I only posted three times:
But I'm going to make it up to you by telling you (and showing you!) all about my week-long birthday celebration, which began last weekend in Orlando. (Yes, I celebrate my birthday for 7 days. You should try it some time. It's awesome.)

Last Saturday morning, Ricky was at my house bright and early at 6 AM. After some last minute packing and an emergency stop at Dunkin Donuts (must.have.caffeine.), we were on our way!

Nothing but blue skies up ahead... oh, and suicidal bug splatter on the windshield.
The weather, as you can tell from the picture above, was perfect road trip weather. Not too hot, not too cold, just perfect. We played our favorite CD's and sang along, stopping when we got hungry, and talking about everything and nothing.

We arrived at Islands of Adventure about 1 PM. I was jumping up and down like a little kid, so eager to get my first glimpse of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And reader, I have to say... It didn't disappoint.



As you can see from the pictures, they did an amazing job creating the world of Harry Potter. Walking into Hogwarts felt like you were walking into the movies. Plus they play music from the film soundtracks, which really helps get you into the mood. Here are some pictures from both Hogwarts and Hogsmeade:

I look short in this picture, but I'm really not.

I love the effect of the fake snow on the rooftops of "Hogsmeade." Especially when it's 80-something degrees out.

Look, that's a quaffle! A quaffle that you use to play in Quidditch! An actual quaffle! (Okay, I'll stop geeking out now.)

Ollivander's wand shop.

Zonko's. Please love my grossed-out expression over the puking pastilles.

Ricky and the Hogwarts Express conductor.
I love how authentic the stores were. Although Ollivander's had a line to get in, it was worth it just to see the wand-choosing experience. We got to see a little boy (with Harry Potter glasses but a Syltherin scarf marring the Harry Potter look) go through the experience, and I have to say, it's pretty cool. There's music, there's wind and light effects, and I confess I got chills.

Though I was a teensy bit bummed I wasn't selected for the wand experience (they randomly select someone from the audience), Ricky made my day by getting me Hermione's wand. It's a replica from the movie and so, so amazing to hold. Like you feel like you can actually produce an Expecto Patronum or something. (Or at the very least, brandish it menacingly.) Next time we go, we have to get one for Ricky -- he's thinking of getting Harry's wand.

I couldn't resist buying something from Zonko's shop -- I walked out with a pygmy puff, those little pink puff balls that Ginny is seen carrying on her shoulder in the film. The cashier working the register asked me if I wanted to name it, and so I did, and then he proceeded to ring a bell and yell, quite loudly, that my pygmy puff has been adopted into a Muggle household. And I smiled and blushed like a madwoman.

Here's my pygmy puff, "Lulu," my Hermione wand, and my beat up copy of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, which I'm currently rereading. (Yes, I realize I'm being rather slow with this particular rereading cycle. I'm trying to time it with the movie!)
The cashier, along with everyone else working in WWoHP, is dressed up in costumes from the films, to help authenticate your experience, I guess. They even go around calling you "Muggles," which I did not enjoy much, I do confess. The guy working the line inside of the Forbidden Journey ride had a snarly, mean way of calling us "Muggles" that made me want to trip him. For. Real.

With that being said, the Forbidden Journey ride was a good time. I won't give anything away in case you ever get the chance to visit WWoHP, but suffice it to say that you feel as if you are part of a quidditch match. Pretty cool.

Other cool things about WWoHP: Butterbeer! (Delicious.) Pumpkin juice! (Surprisingly tasty, too.) Random performances by the Beaux Batons and the Durmstrangs! And so much more. We honestly did not take enough pictures because we spent so much time just oohing and aaahing over everything. Oh well, there's always next time.

Below are some other pictures from the rest of Islands of Adventure, along with Universal Studios, the Halloween Horror Nights experience, and Sea World, where we spent the morning last Monday before coming back home.

Ricky at the entrance to Islands of Adventure.

Some pretty store fronts in Islands of Adventure. Plus some random people.

The Incredible Hulk coaster, one of my favey-fave coasters.

Me, acting like a fool in the Jurassic Park store in Islands of Adventure. No big deal.

The Esqueleto Muerto scare-zone in Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. (We would have taken more pictures but we were too busy trying to stay away from the scary men wielding chainsaws.)

One of the gorgeous views at Sea World.

The Dolphin Nursery at Sea World. I was dying to jump into the pool and swim with them, but Ricky recommended against it. Boo.
And there are even more pictures that I will post on Facebook when I get around to it. Including one or two from this weekend, when I celebrated my birthday some more at Gulfstream Park with some friends and also from today, when I will surely celebrate some more-more with Ricky. Good times. But hey -- you only get to celebrate your birthday on 10/10/10 once, right? So you've got to make it count.

 Thanks for reading! :)