Pepper Express

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Our Visit to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Hollywood

For Christmas my father gifted us Annual Passes to Universal Studios. We had gone before when we were little. And I have taken my husband once on a date. But this year we were more thrilled about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In case you don't know my family and I are big Harry Potter fans. I tried to do my research on Pinterest and other travel sites and couldn't find much. I wanted to give you my two cents on options you have in the park. First and for most we went on a rainy day and that had no impact on the crazy crowds. The best advice to any theme park is always arrive . before they open. Before we even arrived to the park we registered our annual passes and made sure everything was ready to. Solin was able to get in free because we are still banking on her 2 years 11 month age limit. I must tell you that walking into the park the first thing we did was make a beeline to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There is not extra charge at the Hollywood location. However, I heard in Orlando you must by another ticket to visit Diagon Alley and ride the Hogwarts Express. Once you walk through the Hogsmeade Arch you enter the land of Harry Potter and it consumes you. I'm the king of person who gets chills walking through fantasy land in Disneyland. And this I tell you is just as euphoric. Just look at the realistic snow and alleyways of Hogsmeade:
My dad and Solin walking through the alleys of Hogsmeade:
On the ride Flight of the Hippogriff is the only place that you can see Hagrid's Home. This ride also gives you a great view of the Hogwarts Castle. The only problem is the ride is literally less than two minutes. So if you wait in line over 20 minutes you might be a little disappointed. We always went on the ride when the wait time was 5 minutes.
Buckbeak at the beginning of the ride and a glorious view of Hagrid's house:
I also took this photo while we were on the ride:
When we walked up the ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey the wait time was 35 minutes. A cast member said it takes about ten minutes to actually walk through the entire castle and waiting the 35 minutes will be worth it. That is so true! There are interactive pictures and potion rooms that speak to you. Little ones are not allowed on the ride but they have a convenient ride share room that plays Harry Potter movies 24/7. Going on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey made me look like a sissy. I screamed way to much. I was not expecting actual Dementors to come at you. They look terrifying. 
The one thing that is required when you visit Hogsmeade is to have a butterbeer. My dad insisted and gave us the option of a frozen, cold or hot. I chose just a plain cold butterbeer and shared it with Solin. It was extremely sweet but hit the spot. It tasted similar to a root beer float but with butterscotch.
Once you walk around the corner of Hogsemeade you immediately wonder into Springfield and are engrossed with the Simpsons. We made a small detour and found Milhouse:
We were celebrating my sister Katie's birthday and she chose to eat at the Three Broomsticks. Most of the food is overpriced which is expected. Our family decided to get the Great Feast which served our entire family:
Sleeping Solin. We had left for Universal at 4 am that morning. This nap was required for all of us!
Going down to the lower lot you must use four levels of escalators to get there. We had our Bugaboo Stroller which was not recommended to be on the escalator. The other option was to use the handicap elevator and then wait for a tram to take you even lower. Another option is to use the stairs and get some killer steps on your Fitbit!
The Jurassic Park: The Ride is thrilling. My favorite scene is the abandoned boat with a Mickey Mouse hat floating near by:
With the rain and the big splash at the end of the ride we were soaked:
We waited in line for the Raptor Encounter. This is where you get to interact with a man dressed up in Raptor costume. He was a little intimidating. We took our pictures and were on our way:
Before we left for the day I walked passed Beetlejuice and said his name three times. He decided to dance and thrust around me. He was very crude. This actor played the part very well. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Madewell Valentine's Day Wishlist

Here it is ladies and gentleman, your Madewell Valentine's Day Wishlist. With their new release of intimates I had to share my favorite. This would be an incredible outfit to wear on a Valentine's Day date with your honey. My husband proposed to me on Valentine's Day five years ago. It sounds so cliche... but it needed to happen. There we were about to celebrate our fifth year of being together! And all I was thinking was if he doesn't propose I will! I honestly had a plan to propose to him on leap year. Which is an Irish folklore. Here we are now about to have our ten year anniversary and I want some comfy pajamas to take with me on our trip. And those Oxford Pajamas look cozy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Napa in the Winter

Growing up in the wine country I have never actually visited Downtown Napa. We usually just drive on by when we are on our way to the beach, but never have we strolled down the gorgeous streets of Napa. When our cousins were hosting a party in Napa we took the opportunity for a mommy and daddy dinner date and decided to have a fun adventure. Once we parked in the downtown parking garage we had no clue what to do. Neither one if us had researched where to go or what to do. Luckily, the Napa visitor center was just outside of the parking garage and they recommended we eat at the Oxbow Public Market around the corner. It was a very cold and crisp evening. Both of us were bundled up and walked across the train tracks to the gorgeous Oxbow Public Market. Which has the same developer as the Ferry Building in San Francisco!
I couldn't believe my eyes when we walked pass an event venue. All of these record albums upon the wall. I was literally shopping and looking them up online. I wish I wish I could find the Mary Poppins one below and if you must know I love Joni Mitchel!
The Oxbow was a perfect place for us to choose something to eat. My husband is a vegetarian and I am currently trying a low carb keto diet. Technically, we can't eat the same things (which makes dinner very hard for our family!) I was able to get an open faced rueben sandwich minus the sourdough. And RJ found a tasty avocado tostada at C Casa 
Oh and that spice shop! My husband found his perfect little store:
My handsome honey:
I would highly recommend Ritual Coffee Roasters:
Our next big trip down to Napa will consist of staying at the Napa River Inn and riding the Napa Valley Wine Train:
My hat and sunglasses were a gift from a friend a long long time ago. The only purple felt hat I cant find online is here. My coat was delivered from Le Tote and I just had to keep it! The Jeans are Madewell which I can practically wear every day. The black turtle neck and black clogs (sold out) are from Old Navy. I am in the process of looking for a better quality clog. I have these three on my mind: one, two and three. The lipstick is ANITA from NARS. And of course the personalized tote bag is from Madewell! 
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