Baking, its joys and pains.

Hello! (think PinkiePie, all excitement and energy and high pitched.)

I have always loved baking, but recently I’ve been trying to do more. The only problem with this is I have no one to eat it. I have never been all that big into eating sweets, and I definitely prefer baking and making them to eating them. Except gummy worms, those are a weakness of mine. I don’t have an abundance of people in my life who enjoy eating massive amounts of sweet baked goods, so I tend to not bake for the sole reason that we still have some left from the last time I baked.

Recently I baked a batch of about 20 white vanilla cupcakes, and they taste delicious, but we still have about 10 left sitting on the counter. I want to do more baking, but it would just be a waste at this point. You can see my conundrum. I want to do some baking with cinnamon hearts in it, cookies, cupcakes, etc. but I hate to see my baked goods go to waste, and if I bake new treats now the white vanilla cupcakes will definitely remain untouched until they go stale.

Our oven is broken, but so broken that we can’t use it and then gets fixed. Oh, no, the oven is broken just enough to be annoying while cooking and baking but to not be a priority on the ‘To Do List’. The bottom element (which is the one that is mainly responsible for baking and cooking) is malfunctioning and not turning on. We only have the top broil element, so in order for me to even bake the white vanilla cupcakes, I had to turn the temperature up to 450°F and put the rack at the very bottom of the oven. At least we have a temperature gauge in the oven, so I was able to know what temperature I was actually baking the cupcakes at.

I’m always looking for new recipes to try and make, so if anyone has any they are willing to share, I would really appreciate it. You can email them to live_life_to_the_fullest@live.ca.

On another note that’s completely unrelated to baking, I’m thinking about creating an email address just for the questions I’m planning on asking about feminism. When I do, I will post it here so that anyone who wants can contribute.

Another completely different topic, I loved getting dressed today. I have most of my favourite fandoms represented, and days like that always make me happy.

Thank you and have an amazing day!
Rachel

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Pottermore, finally!

I got a text this morning shortly after waking up from none other than Kali informing me that the one thing I’d been waiting since October for is finally here. Pottermore is finally, finally, open to the public! Instantly upon reading this text message a great sense of wonder, happiness, and excitement filled me. I was literally bouncing up and down on the bed/couch in my living room while letting out this very excited and high pitched squeals. If my roommates had been home they probably would have cringed. XD

Immediately I opened up my internet browser and pulled up the long awaited potter more site and that’s when I saw it. The absolutely wonderful “Sign Up” button. With a growing anticipation and excitement I clicked the button, filled out the information, and then sent it all in. Minutes later I received the validation email and was able to validate my account. It was then that I found out some very saddening news, I couldn’t explore the wonderful world of Pottermore until I’d received an email telling me I could. Since then (about an hour ago) I’ve been eagerly awaiting the email’s arrival.

Kali told me that they were trying to process and get everyone into Pottermore as quickly as possible, but I doubt I’m the only one excited to get into Pottermore, so the backlog will probably be horrendous. I can only hope that they hurry.

Many magical dreams to you!
Rachel ❤

P.S. (written at midnight!)

It took 9.5 hours for the email to arrive, and only about 4 to work my through the first book (which is the only one currently available). It was tremendous amounts of fun and I love being a part of Pottermore. Spells were tricky at first to cast and get the hang of, but I love making potions. XD

Also, I’M A GRYFFINDOR!! When I went to take the test for which the sorting hat, I was so nervous and excited my heart was beating so fast and for a good five minutes I couldn’t actually calm down enough to take the test. How pathetic is that? I loved every minute and am more than proud to be in the noble House of Gryffindor. I was thinking it would be either Hufflepuff or Gryffindor for me and would have been able to live happily with either one, though I am really glad I got gryffindor. It also means that in my group of friends here at university there is a member of each house amongst us. Slytherin even has two.

The only thing I wonder about Pottermore is if there is a way to make more galleons than just the ones you pick up while wandering around the game? If anyone knows, I would appreciate the sharing of this wonderful and all important knowledge.

Vancouver, what fun you were.

Okay, just let me get this out of the way, and then I won’t mention it again: SCHOOL STARTS TOMORROW! ❤

~.~

On the night of December 28th, I slept over at Kali’s place after a long day (which, to be honest, I don’t remember why it was long, I had to do something…) because we had an early morning and Kali didn’t trust me to get up in time. I have a tendency of hitting the snooze button until I have barely enough time to scrap together the minimums of what I’ll need before dashing out in order to not be late. A bad habit, I know, but tell that to my sleepy brain. Might I add that this brain is also good at ignoring me? There was adventure involved with getting to Kali’s house, despite the fact that we live close together, and it came in the form of her door. Or that fact that no one was answering her door. I rang several times, accompanied with numerous text messages, with absolutely no reply from Kali’s end. As it turned out, when some phones are plugged in to charge, they don’t vibrate. When said phone is on just vibrate, nothing happens. I was able to get in when some people left (a miracle at 11pm at night) and then get into her place (even knocking on that door did nothing to rouse her from the sleep she’d fallen into). Kali finally woke up when I crawled into the bed. I was just glad that I didn’t have to walk back home that late at night with all my luggage for the trip.

Now, let me just say, I had a lot of fun on this trip and found it to be an absolutely amazing time. Even if I did have to get up so early (7:25am). We took two busses to get out to ferry, and I even enjoyed those, a true sign of my excitement for the trip. Some very common words for Kali and I to say were: “Guess what!” “What?” “WE’RE GOING TO YULE BALL!” and I’m pretty sure the people surrounding us were soon tired of hearing us.

We made the 9am ferry and I was nervous when we pulled up that we wouldn’t actually make it in time (the line for tickets was outside the door) but those self-check out tills got us through in under 10mins. Apparently everyone in the long line wanted to talk to a person or check a bag, thankfully. My aunt picked us up from the ferry and after feeding us some delicious soup at her house, kindly drove us to metrotown where we spent all the time we could going through the hundreds of shops. The only ones to take our money, though, were the Disney store and Build-A-Bear. One store almost took some of mine, in exchange for a large huggable, squeezable, adorable pikachu but it was about $10 too much. It made me sad.

Our flat bears: Luna and Teddy Lupin

Since I saw my first Build-A-Bear store, when I was so young I don’t remember my exact age, I have wanted to build a bear, but never been able to. I am going to say this right now and get it done with: I love teddy bears. I love cuddling them, holding them, naming them, and yes, dressing them. This past thursday, December 29th, I was finally able to build a bear. After some debate, we chose the bears we wanted (a matching set with gloriously soft fur) and got into the long lineup. We quickly decided against buying any clothes for the bears (which were almost as expensive as a bear itself) and decided that we would just make any clothing we wanted for them. Well, I wold make the clothing because Kali has a self declared inability to sew. It was probably advantageous for more than our wallets since we were already pushing the time for when we had to leave to get ready for Yule Ball. It had been decided, though, that we would not leave without our bears. So, we stood there in the line and watched the slow progress. There were about 6 bears in front of us, and it took about 30mins to get to the front of the line and to finally be able to stuff our bears. It was fascinating watching our bears being filled with the stuffing that was kept in the big round tumbler in the centre (also along the right side wall) of the store while we stepped on the large peddle.

Luna being stuffed.

There was a step in the fairly simple process (a process that still had us confused at first) that I was pleased to learn about: every teddy bear built at a Build-A-Bear has a heart inside of it.  All of the hearts were the same see and shape, but the pattern and colour varied. The one I chose was a simple plain red satin heart that came included with the price of the bear (already nearing $20) even though the profits (or partial profits, depending) of the other hearts went to charities.

To make sure our bears had strong hearts, we had to hold them in our cupped hands and rub them while jumping 7 times in place. To ensure our bears had strong lungs, needed to breathe several slow deep breaths onto the hearts. To make sure our bears had stamina, we needed to dance crazily in place (which we gleefully did). And finally, to ensure our bears were strong we needed to flex some muscles. All this while holding the hearts and rubbing them to keep them warm.

FLASHMOB! ❤

Aw, they're holding our wands for us! Wait, how did they get them...

Once we had our bears finished, we hurried over to the ‘bathing’ station and gave our bears a ‘bath’ a quick brush before heading to the till. We skipped the creation of the birth certificate in order to save time (my aunt (LOVE YOU) was already waiting in the car for us). With our bears (and for me, Disney store purchases) in hand, we raced (as fast as we could) to the car and headed to my aunt’s place. The first thing we did upon returning to the house, was have a mini-photo shoot for our bears. Aren’t they adorable? —->

These photos apear to be the last of the non-Yule Ball related photos… guess we forgot to take some more in all the excitement of the rest of the trip.

Getting ready for the Yule Ball was fun, but theYule Ball it’s self was a blast, though I was annoyed at and disappointed with the lack of Wrock (even from the DJ). My highlight of the Yule Ball was definitely when “Dumbledore” By Alex Carpenter was played and everyone created this huge conga line that high-fived each other when passing, as well as had Snape dancing along.

The Day After

The day after Yule Ball brought my first time on Vancouver Public Transit as well as the SkyTrain. I LOVE the SkyTrain. That whole day was an adventure. We headed down to Metrotown again and almost completely ignored my aunt’s directions on ho to get there by bus and went with what Kali’s amazing app told us to do (it seemed so much simpler, and was). After Metrotown (and the purchasing of shirts in the amazing Disney store) we headed downtown to find the store with the giant Gummy Bears and Worms. It took us quite a bit of walking (and getting off the SkyTrain early, walking in the wrong direction, twice, the liberal use of Kali’s app, and google) to find the store where we then proceeded to buy candy. Lots of candy (for me, anyways). I tried to mostly get candies that I couldn’t get somewhere else or hadn’t seen in a long time. Such as Giant Gummy Bears on a Stick, and pop rock lollipops, and some british/european chocolate/candy bars. By the end of this, though, we were both done and started the journey to the ferry. One SkyTrain, a long wait, and a bus later we were at the terminal and waiting for the ferry ride home on one of the new ferry’s that they have. It was close to 11pm when we finally made it back to our places and I proceeded to drop into my bed after checking if my fanfictions had updated.

It was an amazing trip and a definite (unless we both find ourselves absolutely broke) for next year and many years to come.

Vancouver Yule Ball

“Guess what?”

“We’re going to the Yule Ball!”

This was the repeated question and answer duo on Thursday. In fact I’m kind of surprised Rachel’s aunt didn’t kill us both. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera to Vancouver so all the photos were taken on my iPhone (which I call Draco). Hopefully they’ll be okay even though I know the quality isn’t that great. Rachel and/or I will cover the rest of the Vancouver trip in later posts, but I wanted to write about Yule Ball ASAP.

The short version of the story is: it was awesome. However, the long version of the story is a bit more interesting.

Rachel’s aunt drove us to the Heritage Hall where the event was taking place. We arrived a bit after seven and ran through the rain inside. When we got inside there were a fair few people. Enough to be slightly intimidating – if they weren’t Harry Potter fans anyway. The check in went pretty quickly although it took them a moment to find my name on the list for online tickets. We handed in our canned goods and surveyed the room. There were four tables – two on each side. The tables were, obviously, divided into houses. Before we could decide where we wanted to sit though we decided to take a look around.

That’s right, it’s Snape

That’s right. They had a giant Snape. I was blown away. The decorations were really well done. The entire place was covered in proclamations made by Umbridge and awesome slogans. After squeeing over the decor we went back to arguing about where we should sit. Rachel didn’t want to sit at the Slytherin table and I didn’t want to sit at the Hufflepuff table. We would have sat at Ravenclaw, but there weren’t two chairs beside each other available. By this time we were feeling a bit awkward. We were standing around and everyone else was sitting and talking. Finally I convinced her to sit at the Slytherin table. We watched a guy drawing dark marks onto people and basically just took it all in.

The room was starting to fill up, but even though we knew we wouldn’t get our seats back we decided to head to the bathroom. The bathrooms were downstairs and I don’t know about the guys’ bathroom, but in the girls’ I got the shock of my life when I saw Myrtle peeping over the bathroom stall!

What are you doing in my bathroom?

After we got over the novelty of that we headed back upstairs. As we expected, once we got back our chairs had been occupied. That was okay though as we wandered around some more and found the table full of prizes (spoiler alert: we didn’t win any). Soon enough the host of the evening (who was dressed up as the Whomping Willow) introduced the Heads of Houses and the Yule Ball Headmistress. Soon after that the music began.

The DJ who played the music for most of the evening was pretty good, but there was a disturbing lack of wizard rock. The only wrock song all night came much later (Dumbledore by Alex Carpenter) and was (in my opinion) the highlight of night, but more on that later. Rachel and I were kind of dancing really awkwardly and then we fell into conversations with Stella and Marcel (I’m not sure of the spelling of her name unfortunately). It was kind of funny when they asked us where we went to school and we answered that we went to UVic. They were, apparently, from North Vancouver.

As soon as we made friends the four of us (all Slytherins except Rachel still) started dancing. We spent the whole evening as a foursome. This is another thing I love about the Harry Potter community – the friendships can form in such a short period of time even when you’re from different places and are different ages (the both of them were in grade 11 so must have been about 16 to our 19 and 20).

The band playing the evening was called the Snapes of Wrath. With a name like that I was expecting wizard rock. Unfortunately I was disappointed, although, much to my surprise, not as much as Rachel who actually seemed to get a bit angry. Although there were a few songs relating to Harry Potter (or, at least, I think there were, it was kind of hard to hear) most of it was muggle music. However, considering the fact that BC is pretty much a wrock blind spot I wasn’t that surprised. Despite the lack of wrock though, the band was still good and everyone was dancing.

At intermission the four of us took a seat at the Hufflepuff table and we saw these.

“Dumbledore is Gay, and that’s OKAY” – JFF

Just for Rachel, Our Hufflepuff

The pictures were taken upside down if you were wondering why they looked so odd. Dancing recommenced, but we ended up back at the same table for a while later where I began speaking to a girl who looked familiar. She thought I looked familiar too and it turned out we had met at the Harry and the Potters show last summer. She, because she’s awesome, is starting a Vancouver chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance! I’m on the email list and am hoping to get out there sometimes to help them out. Rachel and I want to start a Victoria chapter, but who knows whether it will actually ever happen and this way I can (hopefully) be more involved. In even bigger news though, she’s going to try and get a wizard rock event in Vancouver in May 2013! BC may not be a dead zone forever!

I was still talking to her when she asked if we wanted to go dance to Alex. I was completely confused until I realized that Dumbledore by Alex Carpenter was playing. Well, we all made a beeline for the dance floor and joined the giant conga line that was going on. We screamed the lyrics and high fived as the conga line whirled around the floor. Someone even grabbed the giant Snape and put him at the head of the line. It was pretty much madness, and it was an indication that Yule Ball needs to play more wrock next year. I’m not sure why they didn’t have more to be honest.

The prizes were drawn – one girl in pink won almost half the raffle prizes. There was a costume contest. A guy dressed as Colin Creevy and a young Slytherin won the competition. I loved them both, but I also loved a girl dressed up as Lily Evans (NOT Potter as she made very clear). Slytherin won the house cup by donating the most food and books (and they say Slytherins are all evil). I guess that ambitious streak paid off.

The evening was winding down so we decided to take a few pictures in the props corner

Rachel and I – Tired, but Happy

Marcel, Stella (Stellatrix), & Voldemort (faces blocked for privacy)

The rest of the night was quieter. We managed to dance a bit more – we even danced with Snape for a bit. The guy dressed as the willow seemed to want Snape to himself though. We sat down at the Slytherin table for a bit and did some talking… and stole a couple Christmas ornaments (hey, we are Slytherins after all).

All in all the night was fantastic. Lacking in wrock, but still a whole lot of fun. Apparently they sold out of tickets and this was the first year that had happened so I’m pretty sure there will be a next year. And, depending on finances of course, I know Rachel and I will be there in 2012.

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s a few more pictures from the Yule Ball.

Volunteers Only

“I’d Get Sleazy for Ron Weasley”

“Make Love, Not Horcruxes”

– Kali

Winter Break

Wow, it’s certainly been a hectic week or so. All my exams are over now and I’m just awaiting results to come in. I’ve gotten my mark for my EU class and I got an A. I’m really happy about that. I even think my theory exam went alright, but I haven’t gotten my mark for that class yet. I’m expecting it any time now though.

My dress for the Yule Ball arrived from ModCloth. It’s really pretty and I’m so excited for Yule Ball now (not that I wasn’t before). I think I’m more excited for that than for Christmas oddly enough.

Fortunately for me Rachel’s aunt is letting us stay with her when we’re in Vancouver so that takes some of the cost out of the trip. Currently the plan is to go over on the Thursday and come home on the Friday, but if Rachel isn’t working it’s been suggested that we go over on the Wednesday and spend some time in the city. You certainly won’t hear me complaining, I love cities. Unfortunately my job ends after boxing day which means I’ll be on the job hunt… again. On the plus side though, that means I don’t have to worry about taking the time off for the ball.

I really do hate job hunting though so that’s going to be a pain. Plus it will be after Christmas so nobody will be hiring. I guess I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. At least I’ll have plenty of time to study until I find a job (if I manage to).

It’s also weird to think that two weeks today (at this time actually) I’ll be sitting in a classroom as the first class of my second semester (International Relations) will just be starting. I’m really excited though. Plus, now that I’ve gotten all my student loan stuff sorted out I have a load off my shoulders.

Now I just need to finish buying Christmas presents and finish buying textbooks. I think with Christmas with Rachel and attending the Yule Ball this is going to be the best winter break ever!

– Kali

The Last Days

From today on, my classes are officially the last one. The thought of this brings on a nostalgia for me; despite everything I had enjoyed my courses. Yes, there were times when I just wanted to give up and curl into a ball, but I see that as a part of university. Two of my five classes today were the last ones. Ever. Tomorrow two more will be over, leaving just one class and a tutorial on friday. It is finally starting to dawn on me that this term is over. My first term as a second year student.

My hopes for this term were much higher: for my courses, my grades, and my work ethic. Every one of those disappointed. My courses weren’t as interesting as I thought they would be, my grades aren’t going to be very good or even better than last year, and my work ethic sucks. As soon as I discovered a FanFiction site that opened up hundreds of thousands of Harry Potter and specifically Snarry fanfics, everything else was pushed to the side and forgotten. The only things I managed to do were eat, sleep, go to classes, and go to work. No homework or course readings were done, not until the last minute possible, and even then it wasn’t as good quality it could have been. I am disappointed in myself, to be honest.

From this day until my last exam is over, I will not start a new fan fiction story. The only extracurricular reading I will be doing is the new updates of fanfics that are already on my alerts list. No more. This is my promise to myself, for I have a lot of work to do before the end of exams.

Today is also the last day of NaNoWriMo, and I am still 2,200 words away from being finished. That is the 50,000 word goal and not my personal one of 75,000. This, as well, is another thing that I foolishly pushed aside for Snarry fanfics and a source of regret. I know I will reach the 50,000, but it’s still a disappointment. I will be able to order the really cool winner’s shirt, but not according to my own word goal (not that that is going to stop me, it is a really cool shirt).

There is hope yet, not for one class, but for the rest of them, if I study hard and diligently. A lot of planning and will power will be required for this, but I believe that I can do it. If I try.

On a much happier note for me, I ordered my wand from Whimsic Alley for the Yule Ball coming up on the 29th (that I am very very excited for). I couldn’t actually decide between two wands, so I ordered them both (they were having a sale) as well as a sheath (that I am going to use to store my wand on my thigh). This was not my only purchase for this week, ModCloth was also having a sale and I purchased two skirts. Two absolutely adorable skirts that I can’t wait for them to arrive. Hopefully the email notifying me they have been sent out will arrive soon; I have already received the email declaring the order has been received and is being processed.

The Yule Ball would have to be the one event of the next few months (if not the year) that I am most excited for. I have never been to a Harry Potter event, and I find myself a little nervous about what to expect, not too much, though, for Kali will also be there. I have yet to decide if I want to get a new dress for this or not, only time will tell.

~Rachel

Wannagoballwime

I’m a Harry Potter fan.

I’ve never hid this fact, and I never will. Since the release of Deathly Hallows (Part 2) on November 11th I’ve been keeping myself busy with NaNoWriMo, but it’s hit me that Harry Potter events are going to be few and far between now. So, today I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and purchased my ticket to the Vancouver Yule Ball.

In 2009 when I went to my first Wrockstock (for those of you not in the know it’s a Harry Potter music festival in Missouri) I met a whole whack of awesome people. On the last night at the bonfire I began talking to these two girls. I had gone most of the weekend without meeting anyone even from Canada let alone from the west, but when I said where I was from an explosion happened.

“ARE YOU THE GIRL WHO IS ON THE LIST FOR AN ‘I BELIEVE IN NARGLES’ SHIRT!?”

I was that girl and it turned out that these two girls from Vancouver had posted a note looking for me near the Room of Wrockquirement (the main stage for bands). They invited me out to the Yule Ball that December.

I didn’t end up going that year because I got busy with work and forgot about it. I remembered about it last year, but I again didn’t end up going since I didn’t want to go to Vancouver alone. In hindsight that seems a bit ridiculous since when I went to Wrockstock I went alone both times (although of course I knew people when I got there the second time) and that was a lot further away than Vancouver.

Last June I went to a Harry and the Potters concert in Vancouver. It was really my first time in the city, despite the fact that I’ve only lived an hour and a half away for my entire life. Of course I have been there a few times before, but since I’ve been old enough that I remember it clearly it’s only been twice, once on a school trip to Science World and once just to go to the Vancouver airport when I went to Spain.

I’ve always said I loved cities and Vancouver proved it. I fell in love almost instantly. The Harry and the Potters concert was AMAZING. I’d never seen them before (one of the downsides to living in western Canada is that almost no wizard rock bands come here), but they put on a heck of a show. At the show I ended up hanging out with a great group of people (mostly Slytherin, just like me) and then I got to have another one of those fantastic moments that show just how interconnected Harry Potter fans are.

“You obviously really like wrock if you came out here for the show, have you ever heard of Wrockstock?”

Had I ever heard of Wrockstock, heck yes I had! I ended up talking to this girl and we found out that we had actually been at Wrockstock together, which was awesome. She and her friends brought up the Yule Ball and I promised to go. I have a few friends from university who are Harry Potter fans as well and we’ve all decided to go this year, although I think I’d go this time regardless. Especially now that I’m a little more familiar with the city.

I’ve got my ticket. A ticket for one is called ‘The Snape’ and a friend of mine joked that that’s because he’s your date. Since we’re both major Snape fans (and Alan Rickman fans. Yes, there is a difference) this made me deliriously happy.

Something that I really love about the Harry Potter fandom is its propensity for helping others. All proceeds from the ball go to the Surrey Food Bank and to the libraries of two elementary schools in Vancouver. To encourage donation there is a ‘House Cup” (SLYTHERIN FTW!) which is won by the house that donates the most non-perishable items. I love my fandom.

If you live anywhere near Vancouver consider getting your ticket to the Vancouver Yule Ball and come out and party with us. It’s on Thursday December 29th and I’m already super excited. If you don’t live near Vancouver there are Yule Balls hosted in many other places as well

Now only one thing is left to decide; should I wear formal dress or a Harry Potter themed costume?

– Kali