How To Throw A Harry Potter Movie Night

My parents are top notch, but they failed me in one major way.

None of my birthday parties were ever Harry Potter themed.

I KNOW, right?! It just seems like the worlds biggest oversight on their part. Would I ever have rebelled as a teenager if I had gotten a snitch shaped birthday cake even once?! Something to think about. The world will never know. 😉

Anyway, I’m sure it surprises no one that the idea of hosting any Harry Potter themed get-together sounds like heaven to me. I’ll probably overcorrect from my failed childhood (lol, kidding) and make every one of my future kids’ birthday parties Harry Potter themed. My hypothetical wedding might have some Potter-ish aspects to it. Today, though, we’ll start with an admittedly lower stakes kind of party: a movie night.

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Throwing a Harry Potter movie night is kind of like…duh. What better way to celebrate than by watching 1 or 2 of your favorite Potter films with some friends? It doesn’t take a ton of expertise to pull off, but I thought it would be fun to share how I did it.

The Guest List

First things first? Knowing who to invite. My ideal guest list for a Harry Potter movie night is a bunch of already established fans (or at least people who know the story and appreciate the franchise). If you have a bunch of non-Potterheads on the guest list, you run the risk of a few things happening: 1) they won’t appreciate the little details and extra efforts you made as a hostess, 2) you might have to stop the movie(s) to explain things to them (annoying), 3) playing themed games might be less fun for them, and 4) they will probably hate it when you and your other Potterhead guests recite the very famous lines along with the movie (when I went to the Hollywood Bowl to watch Sorcerer’s Stone, literally every single person in the amphitheater recited the line “she NEEDS to sort out her priorities ” at the same time and I was so happy I almost passed out).

The Decorations

For any kind of organized gathering, it’s best to have some sort of decorations set up. If it were closer to Halloween, I might’ve thrown up some spider webs or brought out some skulls and potion bottles. Since it’s the middle of summer however, and I really didn’t want to go digging through my holiday decorations, I chose to go a more classy, subtle route. Flowers are always a must for me. I stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up some dark red blooms, golden mums, calla lilies (a subtle homage to Lily Evans!) and eucalyptus for dirt cheap. The rich, moody colors and greenery went well together and were so on theme.

Candles are also a requirement for any HP themed event, preferably tall tapers with either black or gold holders. For me, candles helped set the mood with some medieval vibes and warm tones.

I like displaying quotes, especially since Harry Potter has so many good ones! So I used my letter board to showcase a silly, well known quote that guests were bound to recognize.

If there’s ever an appropriate occasion to bring out some souvenirs you might have from the Universal Studios Wizarding World, it’s this. I happened to save a few boxes from Honeydukes that I strategically placed about. They were obvious, but not over the top in your face, so they worked. You can also order these or download printables from the internet!

Finally, with a little more time I would have loved to hang some Hogwarts acceptance letters with fishing line from the ceiling in my entryway, so it resembled this scene & so guests felt like they were entering a little realm of magic right away! Next time, for sure.

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The Food

Obviously, the menu is crucial. Most of the food mentioned in Harry Potter are types of sweets. Luckily, it being a movie night, sweets are definitely appropriate. It took no effort at all to set out some jelly beans to resemble Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans, & chocolate coins to look like big galleons (wizard currency). I even made Fizzing Whizbees, a popular candy from Honeydukes, which couldn’t have been easier (you just add melted chocolate and Pop Rocks to a bumblebee candy mold, freeze, and serve). 

No movie night is complete without popcorn, and no bowl of popcorn is complete without m&m’s sprinkled throughout. I chose to put out a big bowl of popcorn and surrounded it with smaller bowls of m&m’s separated in the colors of the four Hogwarts houses. Guests can prepare their own personal bowls and choose the m&m’s that represent their own house. It’s fun to see how all your friends have been sorted! 😉

Not everyone has as big of a sweet tooth as me, so I always think it’s a good idea to set out at least one savory option. An easy flatbread or a moody cheeseboard are perfect candidates.

Finally, every event needs a signature cocktail! I set up a mini martini bar so that guests could make their own Voldemortini (which is really just a dirty martini). So easy and so fun!

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The Games

Whether or not games are needed depends on your crowd and your preference. Some people just want to get right to watching the movies, and I respect that! But if you have time to kill, or you’ve all seen the movies 100x and can afford to play/chat as you watch, consider a game of Harry Potter themed Trivial Pursuit. Or Harry Potter Clue. Or make up hilarious drinking game rules! “everyone takes one drink every time Ron says “bloody hell!”

The Movies

Nobody asked my opinion, and everyone has a different answer for this, but my definitive ranking of the Harry Potter films are as follows:

  1. Sorcerer’s Stone
  2. Deathly Hallows Part 1
  3. Prisoner of Azkaban
  4. Chamber of Secrets
  5. Deathly Hallows Part 2
  6. Order of the Phoenix
  7. Half Blood Prince
  8. Goblet of Fire

So, that’s my recommendation. It’s probably best to take a vote on what movie(s) your specific group wants to watch. Recently, when my family was tasked with choosing a movie to watch together, we came up with a bracket system and everyone had to make spirited speeches for the movies they wanted considered. Choosing the movie became as fun as watching the movie itself!

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There ya have it! Honestly, the most important thing is to have fun and try not to cry an embarrassing amount when you see the golden trio together for the first time in Sorcerer’s Stone. I know, easier said than done.

Thanks for reading!

Valentine’s Day Recap

Valentine’s Day has come and passed, and it was the best day ever over here! I was lucky that the day coincided with one of my days off, which meant that I got to spend the majority of the day being festive with my honey. I shared a lot of the day on my Insta-stories, but I love doing holiday recaps here too. So here we go!

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Mark had some morning clients, so he was gone when I got up. While he was out I set up my main surprise for him, which was pink post-its in the shape of a heart, each with a different trait/thing I love about him. He loved it! We giggled together at some of the funnier traits I had written down (his ability to quote Family Guy verbatim, his inability to dance well), and I think he felt valued reading some of the more sentimental items (his loyalty, his impressive wealth of information, how kind he is to our families). 

He surprised me with a bouquet of fresh roses and a bag of fun-sized crunch bars (my absolute favorite)! Flowers are my love language, so I was ecstatic. We had a few hours to kill until our lunch date so I made us both lattes and we snuggled in bed drinking coffee and eating a few too many crunch bars before getting ready and heading downtown.

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This year we’d decided to go out for a lunch date instead of a fancy dinner. It worked better for Mark’s work schedule, but we also realized that it would be waaay less expensive and we wouldn’t have to battle as many crowds. It was the best hack ever! Mark took me to a beautiful restaurant in DTLA called Cafe Pinot, where we sat in the almost-empty garden section. The cocktails, food, and dessert mousse we shared were all incredible and the whole thing cost us half of what their dinner menu would have cost! We could talk at normal volumes (no crowds!) and nobody was around to look at me strangely while I took pictures of our food. 😉

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After lunch we got to spend a few more hours of quality time together, and I even convinced Mark to work out with me so we could burn off some of lunch. While he was with his afternoon clients I went home, cleaned up a little, painted my nails pink, and watched Enchanted because it just felt right for the occasion. I also finished his second lil surprise, this cute card that’s just so perfect for the two of us!

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For the grand finale of our perfect day, we decided to make a homemade heart-shaped pizza. Why the hell not, right?!

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I feel so loved and in love. Can you believe this is our 7th Valentine’s Day together? Some have been more extravagant than others (pretty sure this year is topping the list so far) but at the end of the day the thing that always makes it one of my favorite days is that we get to focus on being together. We don’t (or shouldn’t) really need a holiday to do that, but I like the cheesiness of it all just the same. Love you Mark Bell, lucky to have you as my valentine!

Hope you all felt loved and had a great day! I’m sad to see it go, but at least we have Mark’s Birthday to look forward to!

 

DIY Floral Wreath

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Hi!

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a DIY. Was it maybe even last Valentine’s Day!? That seems absurd but it’s entirely possible.

Anyway, comin’ atcha live today with a DIY floral wreath project. I love wreaths, the greenery and color add so much to a home.  But I figure I don’t really want to buy a million for every season (which I would 100% do if given the funds and storage space) so why not just make them?! I have enough creative direction for that, and I think it ends up being less expensive in the long run: you buy a few standard materials once and then you just buy different blooms as you go along.

Remember a while ago when I did a DIY floral arrangement? I mentioned I went to the Los Angeles Flower Market because you get good flowers for real cheap. I did that again. They upped the prices a little bit since it’s a big week for flowers, but it was still worth it. $30 for everything I used and I had enough left over for an arrangement for my coffee cart.

Everything else I bought on Amazon. THANK GOD FOR PRIME, Y’ALL.

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Supplies Include: thiswreath frame, this wire, flowers, scissors, and ribbon.

Once we got home from the market I got right to work. My first step was adding the greenery to the wreath and making it look lush and full. I took things one stem at a time, used the wire to wrap around and secure the stem to the frame, and filled things in slowly as I went. Pretty simple!

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Then I did the same thing with the big white flowers (ranunculus, one of my favorites!) I was pretty intentional here, dispersing the flowers evenly but making it visually interesting by adding a couple grouped close together and keeping a few more isolated.

Finally, I added in the roses. I cut the stems really short for these since things were getting crowded, and I just folded them in. Some I secured with wire. It was really just what my heart desired.

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I knew I wanted the wreath to hang over our bedroom door. I just felt like there was less likelihood that it would get ruined that way (verses a front door). So I fastened a command strip to the back of the door facing upside down, and then measured some ribbon so it would go over the door and hang the wreath at my ideal height.

I only tied a knot at the end of the ribbon, and kept the wreath merely resting on the ribbon. No need to add extra stress to the blooms by tying a knot around them!

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Once I hung it I felt instantly giddy. It added so much life to my door. And so much festive energy to the general space!

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I’ve filled a spray bottle with some water and lavender essential oil to hopefully keep the flowers looking fresh for a bit longer (at least 5 more days, please!), but it’s so dry and hot here that I’m not too optimistic. Even if they die tomorrow, I’m happy with the result. It was such a fun, simple DIY project. And it’s really nice to know that I made the damn thing and didn’t waste money on a cheaply made fake wreath that’s just going to take up space in my apartment! I’ve been so against buying non-versatile, hard-to-store decorations lately. v adult of me, no?

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Are y’all into DIY projects? I think they’re so much fun, especially when they’re holiday-themed. Comment if you’re making or crafting anything interesting for the occasion, I’d love to hear about it!