Why You Should See Harry Potter in Concert

Few things make me happier in life than Harry Potter and when I heard the Goblet of Fire was coming to the St. Louis Symphony thanks to CineConcerts, I knew I had to see it. Have I seen the movie over 100 times? Yes. Did that stop me from crying, laughing and cheering the whole way through as if it were the first time I was seeing it? Absolutely not.

There is something about seeing a live orchestra play a movie score live alongside the movie. You can feel the music throughout your body and feel connected to what’s happening on screen as it’s being played out. The quiet moments are more pronounced. The loud moments are more in-your-face. It forces you to be in the moment and it’s wonderful.

While it obviously wasn’t the first time I’ve seen the movie, watching it with the crowd and the symphony felt like seeing it for the first time. We were told by the conductor, Justin Freer, that we were allowed to participate: ‘We ask that you boo your least favorite characters and cheer on your favorites.’ And cheer and gasp and laugh and cry (yes, cry, RIP Cedric), I did. Being around a crowd that loves this fandom as much as I do was a wonderful experience. I saw young kids experiencing the movie for the first time with hands covering their eyes when Voldemort rose once again. I saw an older woman laugh hysterically when Ron was asked to place his hand on McGonagall’s waist. It felt like a joint experience. Something we were all actively participating in together.

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter or just a fan of movie scores in general, I can’t recommend seeing Harry Potter in Concert enough. They are currently on a global tour (yes, GLOBAL!) and will be doing all 8 films (and I personally cannot wait to hear Alexandre Desplat’s score).

Get tickets and see where they’re going to be at next.

Advertisements

How to have a very Potter-filled September

The train for the Hogwarts Express leaves on September 1 and the start of Albus Severus Potter’s (still not over that name) second year at Hogwarts will kick off. Since we’ve all surpassed the entire timeline of Harry Potter as of last September, it seems like more and more Harry Potter pop-ups, events and podcasts are happening all over the place. And while we wait (and wait and wait) for that inevitable Harry Potter Netflix reboot (it has to happen, right?!), here are some things you can do this September to make sure that your month is filled with all things HP.

4

September 1: Stripefy: A Stunning Burlesque Tribute to Harry Potter
To celebrate the first day back at Hogwarts, Stripefy is bringing a magical show to St. Louis. Join an incredible cast for a night of frivolity and delight as they peel back the layers of beloved (and abhorred—hello, Voldemort!) characters to reveal them in their truest form—naked for all the world to see. Enjoy Potter-themed cocktails, trivia and loads more.

September 7: First Friday at SLSC
St. Louis Science Center’s First Fridays are back and this time they want you to explore science through the magical world of Harry Potter! Participate in wizarding activities, browse Harry Potter-inspired arts and crafts, and learn about the controversies of the Harry Potter franchise with special presenter Kayla Davis.

September 14-16: Harry Potter in Concert at Powell Hall
CineConcerts is back at it again this time with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Enjoy an epic night of Harry Potter with a live orchestra playing the entire movie score. You will feel like you’re watching the fourth movie for the first time and relive the magic of the Boy Who Lived.

September 20: Harry Potter Party STL at The Ready Room
Get ready to dance all night long at Hogwarts. Wizard Fest is coming to The Ready Room where there will be Harry Potter-themed drinks, Quidditch Pong, a costume contest and so much more.

October 1-31: Wizarding Month
Okay, okay, I know I said month of September, but since this is happening all of October, I thought I’d do a special mention. La Patisserie Chouquette is hosting a Wizarding Month all of October with special treats for the witch and wizard in your life. The best part of this month? The Afternoon Tea that will be happening every weekend. If you love delicious cakes, hot chocolate, tea, butterbeer and a plethora of other goodies, you’ll want to reserve a spot asap.

A Weekend Guide to Edinburgh

It’s been awhile since I’ve traveled abroad (insert laughter as people remind me it’s only been three months), so as I’m in the midst of planning my New Years Eve trip to London, I thought why not make another guide? Edinburgh is one of those places that I have been to a fair amount of times and each time, I discover another extraordinary place. It’s like any city that way, but instead of all the hustle and bustle you feel from a city like London, New York, Paris, and Rome, it feels more relaxed, laid back, more Scottish. While I am no expert when it comes to Edinburgh, I’ve had friends let me in on their dirty little Edinburgh secrets that I’ll share with you.

IMG_0669

Where To Stay

Hotel Indigo
Located right on Princes Street, literally across the road from the Edinburgh train station, Hotel Indigo is a gorgeous hotel that has a rustic and charming look that you want in your Scottish hotel. With images lining the walls of the staircases to the smoking chairs on each floor to the wonderful views of the castles from the rooms, Hotel Indigo is the spot to lay your head at night when you’re in the city built on top of a city.

Airbnb
The past couple times I’ve visited Edinburgh, I did Airbnb. I stayed in a room in a house where other people were living and it was one of the best times I’ve ever had. I’ve met so many interesting people who’ve given me insight into the city, and have also cooked me some really great food.

Castle Rock Hostel
If you’re on a budget, I recommend Castle Rock Hostel. The location seriously could not be better. It’s around a 10 minute walk from the train station and a one minute walk from Edinburgh Castle, could anything be better?

IMG_0654

What To Do

Arthur’s Seat
Yes, yes a cliche, but seriously it’s an incredible hike with views that are worth sweating quite a lot to get to the top (or is that just me?).

Edinburgh Castle
While I don’t think you need to necessarily pay money to go inside, I do think you should head to the top of the Royal Mile and see the castle up close and personal. The views from the top are spectacular and, in my opinion, worth mixing with the crowd.

Red Door Gallery
I can’t rave about this spot enough. Every time I go to Edinburgh, I immediately head here for some new cards to send to people in the post, new posters to hang in my non-existent house, and pins to add all over my denim jacket. If you’re a lover of all things Star Wars and Doctor Who, trust me when I say that this place is the one for you.

Diagon House
Victoria Street is a treasure trove of amazing little shops, including this one. If you’re a Harry Potter nerd (how could you not be?), you need to head inside. Diagon House is home to all things Harry Potter and looks like a shop you might find if you went to Diagon Alley before catching the train to Hogwarts. The winding staircase, the Deathly Hallows jewelry, and Hogwarts house scarves will leave you with very little money when you exit hours later.

Hannah Zakari
Tucked on a side street before you enter Grassmarket is Hannah Zakari, a gorgeous quaint shop that has jewelry, clothing, cards, and a plethora of other little odds and ends from independent artists. Whenever I want to grab a souvenir my friends will actually like, I head here for funky rings, cat t-shirts, and cards with boobs on them.

IMG_9145

Where To Eat

Mary’s Milk Bar
I think this little secret isn’t so little anymore. Mary’s Milk Bar in the Grassmarket is a gorgeous little ice cream and hot chocolate spot that I’ve frequented more often than I’d care to admit. The selection of flavors are ones you can’t find anywhere else (Mince Pie, anyone?) that will make you want to sample every one of them. Plus, the inside and outside are Instagram-worthy.

Lovecrumbs
Thanks to the wonderful What Olivia Did, I stumbled upon this place on the way back to my Airbnb in February. While it was blistering outside, I snuck inside for some warmth, brownies, and delicious peppermint tea that made me one of the happiest people on Earth.

Montpelier
I needed a place to sit and work for awhile and Montpelier was the perfect setting for me to do that. With amazing wifi, delicious tea and coffee, and a phenomenal brekky, I was hooked (might have gone here quite a few times. Don’t mind me.). Also, if you’re looking for somewhere to get a fancy cocktail and some locals, this is also the place to be.

The Elephant House
If you haven’t guessed, I’m a massive Harry Potter fan which is why The Elephant House is on this list. The “birth place of Harry Potter,” as the sign boasts outside the door, has some of the most delicious sweets I’ve ever tasted. I highly recommend grabbing a warm brownie with ice cream on top with a side of tea and resting for the afternoon with a book or great company.

Karen’s Unicorn
This is a little pricier but I think it’s so worth it. Karen’s Unicorn was some of the best Asian food that I’ve eaten (plus, had a really great house red wine that I downed). With some fantastic mood lighting and very personable staff, if you’re in need of Asian dishes, Karen’s Unicorn should top the list.

Cigs and Pine // Scotland

Cigs and Pine // Scotland

12 October 2013; 8:23AM

Cigarettes and pine is what Scotland smells like. Nat and I got off the £13 MegaBus smelling like sweat and lack of sleep after 9 hours of attempting to sleep in an upright position.

The bathroom was our savior at 8 in the morning where we wiped down our skin with baby wipes I kept in the sides of my bag and dry-shampooed the sides of our hair. I watched as Nat meticulously put on her MAC Russian Red, fluffed up the sides of her hair before shaking her head and shoving her orange beanie over her blonde hair.

IMG_1016

Cigarettes and pine. What an odd smell.

It was too early to check in with our Couchsurfing host and the light was just coming up in the Medieval town. The dark stones echoed under our boots as we made our way to the city centre to find wifi and coffee.

Costa.

After sitting in Costa for nearly an hour, we found food and the bus to our home for the weekend. The place was weird with a bunkbed in the living room and two couches. A Spanish couple mumbled something to us as we walked through the door. A South Korean boy nodded as he grabbed tea from the kitchen. Another boy from the Philippines asked us our names while our host locked the door behind us. A cat walked around my legs.

IMG_0921

I’m Natalie and this is Mackenzie.

We took another bus. We had no idea where to go. The Docs were too expensive, so we ended up looking at bargain priced items from Misguided and looking at old Cathedrals. We walked up the streets and down the streets and through old churchyards where graves have been since the 1600s.

The city built on top of another city.

We were tired and decided to see The Elephant House, where JK Rowling wrote those books on a napkin. I had a coffee while Natalie read which bands were going to be playing at some festival sometime soon in the local paper that happened to be laying on the table next to us. There was graffiti in the bathroom.

IMG_0946

This way to the Ministry with an arrow pointing down into the toilet.

Across the street was Nandos where we stuffed our faces with peri-peri sauce and a nice cheeky chicken sandwich before walking to a local Tescos at night. Edinburgh Castle was lit up in the sky like some kind of beaconing force lighting our way forward to aisle 4 to pick up cheap red wine.

We sat outside in a hotel parking lot next to a movie theatre and popped open the bottle of wine. Stumbling out of the bars next door were girls in short dresses and heels waiting for their boyfriends to slip their arms around their waists to take them home. After a half hour, we had a buzz going and bought tickets to see a movie. I fell asleep in the movie. There wasn’t a happy ending.

We took the wrong bus home.

Glasgow from a train is beautiful. Fast, wild and free. It is full of bacon butties and IRN-BRU. When we got out of the train station the air was full of feathers in the square. It looked as if they just had a pillow fight and everyone was laughing.

IMG_0991

We walked to another Cathedral where people were checking the “vibes” of the spirits in the place. I was really hoping there wasn’t anyone there as I stepped on a gravesite to get the perfect picture for Instagram. Sorry.

I found my own personal TARDIS. I found signs outside bars that I identified so well with. We had pizza and white wine and talked about boys and walked through a fun fair watching children screaming and eating candy floss by the fist full.

IMG_0992

IMG_0995

Two hours later, we were watching Children of Men with the South Korean, the Spaniards and the Filipino and sipping Soju.

The next morning we almost snuck out through a window since the doors were locked but we made it to the train station in time all while Nat wore her dollar sign socks.