I’m only 18 years late.

Remember that one time I said I was going to write more? I know, it’s been so long ago, even I barely remember that happened. What is it with life and getting in the way of things? Between traveling, getting work/school/life stuff squared away for the fall, and family duties, this summer has flown by faster than Harry Potter on a broomstick.

Oh, what a convenient segue…

Harry Potter spoilers to follow. So if, by some weird twist of the universe I am NOT the last one to get on board the Harry Potter train– or should I say, the Hogwarts Express– you might not want to continue this post just yet.

One thing that has not gotten dropped by the wayside, however, is my finishing reading the Harry Potter books. I know, I know, I’m late to the party. REALLY late to the party. Like nearly twenty years late to the party (and my mom thinks ten minutes is bad). But I finally found my other shoe and ate some dinner on the way in the car and ARRIVED to the sweet, blissful, heart-wrenching, lovable party world of Harry Potter. And I quite love it.

Firstly, there’s the whole “the books are amazing,” thing, which I don’t feel I need to reiterate too much because there’s been a whole eighteen years of people gushing about them. They’re well-written, interesting, nostalgic, clever books that’ll have you holed up reading for hours. And if, perhaps, you’re not so keen on doing the hard labor of reading yourself, there are two amazing audiobook versions (that have probably started real-life minor skirmishes in rural parts of the fandom. Guys, they’re both great. Settle down.). Not to mention an entire fan culture already in place from several decades of books and films. It’s the stuff of dreams, really. But, we all know that stuff and it’s pretty much universal knowledge at this point. So cool beans, whatever.

But NOW… now that I’ve finally read all the books, I can allow myself to dive into the vast fandom culture and enjoy the whole world of Harry Potter goodness. From Pottermore (apparently I’m a Ravenclaw) to funny tumblrs like this one to the films and beyond, I can finally chill out about Harry Potter spoilers and enjoy social media for the first time ever. Seriously, there’s HP stuff everywhere. STILL. Like, yeah I knew Dumbledore died (although I thought it was in the last book, so when he died before that I had the equivalent of two cows), but aside from that I tried to keep myself as pure as possible to have the best first-time experience I could, and do you know how hard that was? TOO HARD. But totally worth it.

I’m sort of glad I didn’t start reading until everything was completed (books and movies alike), because just thinking about having to wait a year or two in between installments is a special kind of torture. The original book releases span ten years. Ten years of traveling with Harry on his journey. I only spent a year reading through them and I’m already exhausted. But in a really good “I wish there was more” kind of way. I am a bit jealous of the much deeper emotional component that I’m sure came with the slow, gradual unfolding of the story. I mean, you spend seven years reading about good-hearted Dumblydore and then he up and DIES? And then gets trash-talked for most of the last book? I would be in tears every day. Not to mention the reveal of Snape, the death of Fred, or the courage of Neville. Heck, if I think about it too long, I’ll be in tears just thinking about how I would be in tears if I had lived the real-time story of the series. BECAUSE FRED. Excuse me while I go cry in a corner.

Speaking of Fred, one of the biggest shocks to me was the fact that the Weasley twins became my favorite characters, even from book one. Going into it I fully expected to find them annoying, but heck no, techno. MY FAVES. My babies. AND THEN FRED FREAKING DIES. I hate J.K. Rowling. But I love her. But I hate her.

So basically I’m in a weird state of elation and depression about finishing the books. Yay all the other HP stuff! Boo not having anymore books to read. Excuse me while I go waste away exploring Pottermore for the next 67 years.

I thought I was a Hufflepuff all this time,

Anna Beth

P.S. Do leave a comment with any interesting, funny, essential, etc. Harry Potter related things I should know about. Aside from this youtube video, I’m a pretty blank slate.

Trivia Crack SHOTS // Those Crazy Gingers

As if getting questions wrong on Trivia Crack wasn’t humiliation enough, we’ve gone and added another soul-crushing, gag-inducing consequence.

I must admit, the bloopers might be my favorite part.

Head on over to Youtube and give a thumbs up if you liked… AND BECAUSE I FREAKING DRANK VINEGAR. Gross. I feel like I deserve a medal or something. But… a thumbs up would do, I suppose.

Still feelin’ a bit sick,

Anna Beth

Can you have too much beach?

After my exciting Hilton Head trip, I met up with the fam and headed off to Holden Beach for (almost) a week of family time.

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Lovely little place, isn’t it?

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This was the little peach beach house we rented. Built in the 1930’s, it was rather charming! Dark wood paneling; old, comfy couches; fun mosaics on the bathroom floor; and cute little door knobs much older than I.

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The rustic (but fully furnished) inside made the perfect place for evening board games and movies.

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My bedroom had the most darling little white dressing table. I quite enjoyed the coziness of the setting for a read during late night thunderstorms.DSC03734a

The front porch was just as darling as the inside– a perfect perch for reading or rocking or snoozing with the beach right in view.

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DSC04118 DSC04048 DSC03804Mom particularly liked making sure the local seagulls were nice and fat.

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Not to forget the fun beachy amenities, such as an outdoor shower, hose for sandy feet, and porch-strung clothes line for soggy suits.

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Surrounding the house were tons of brightly colored wild flowers– with practically a field of them behind– and a little garden of yellow ones in the front too.

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Holden is also a perfect distance from both Wilmington, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC, so the family enjoyed several little part-day trips for putt putt, seafood, ice cream, and shopping.

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And then there was the beach. A right nice little beach, mostly full of families and couples. Hilton Head was so fun with it’s hubbub and plethora of things to do, but Holden was a happy contrast with few tourists and a very laid-back feel.

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I even bought a skim board and gave it my best go. After seeing it done all week on HHI, how could I not? Spoiler: I sucked. But I’ve vowed to work on my skills so I can one day wow passerbys (yeah right).

DSC03378And thus concludes a little peep into our relaxing week at Holden. I quite enjoyed it and hope it becomes a family tradition. Can’t wait for more sand and sun next year!

Anna Beth

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Sticky Hotdogs

Well hello there! As requested, here are a few pics from my vaca to Hilton Head Island. Admittedly, they’re more “here are some things we did and I took crappy pics with my phone because Jon was using our good camera for a work video shoot” and less “yay pretty pictures!” Regardless, hope you enjoy. After all, it doesn’t take much to get across just how lovely the beach is, does it?
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Meet Chelsea, my bestie and general adorable person. Thanks to her putting up with me for nearly my entire life, I got invited on the family vaca to HHI. Clearly she was pretty darn excited to arrive.
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She even puts up with my FIFA obsession and watches matches with me (even if we’re on vacation and there are lovely beaches calling her name). How great is she? Also, GERMANY YESSS.
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Everyone knows beach vacations aren’t really beach vacations if there aren’t puzzles involved.PHOTO_20140714_151738

MY BEST FRIEND IS GORGEOUS OKAY.
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This, ladies and gents, is the sign of a true friendship. Ugly picture contest and I’m pretty sure I won, thanks very much.
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Harbor Town is quite the charming little spot.PHOTO_20140714_190211

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Don’t you just want to roll around in this grass? It was so soft and fluffy and cushy.PHOTO_20140714_212936

Beer tasting games are fun. I lost. But it was still fun.PHOTO_20140715_150034

Leave it to me to find everything Disney.PHOTO_20140715_150349

This day brought a trip to Shelter Cove, by way of bikes and “who can run over the most pine cones and not die” games.PHOTO_20140715_150947

Yes, that is a jet packing water superhero. Not as cool as Jango or Boba, BUT STILL.PHOTO_20140715_152125

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OKAY STORY TIME: One summer many years ago baby Anna Beth went to HHI with her family and the only thing she remembers from this vaca is eating Itzakadoozie Popsicles, throwing a tantrum about not getting her own bike to ride, and getting really excited about Shannon Tanner. For many years present day Anna Beth didn’t even know if Shannon Tanner was a real person or if she’d just made up some random name and inserted it into her memories (mainly because any time she brought it up people were like, “I’m sorry what.. that is not a real person. Like Shannon Tanner? What kind of a name is that? Definitely not a guy’s name. Pshh.”). WELL GUESS WHAT HE IS REAL AND HE STILL PLAYS AT SHELTER COVE AND IF THAT ISN’T THE MOST SATISFYING THING FOR BABY ANNA BETH I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS.

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It makes me a little angry how good they looked after a 10 mile bike ride in the heat and humidity of HHI in July.PHOTO_20140715_155946-1PHOTO_20140716_150744

Proof of wildlife. Little baby crabby who was crittering around my towel and looking all cute and stuff.PHOTO_20140716_170225PHOTO_20140716_171249PHOTO_20140716_185444

More food. There was a lot of food.PHOTO_20140716_194101PHOTO_20140716_185747

Typical.PHOTO_20140717_063414

Waking up at 4:30am and not being able to sleep only means one thing when you’re at the beach: SUNRISE.PHOTO_20140717_070310PHOTO_20140717_124216

Bike ride scenery.PHOTO_20140718_174721Attempted to make a sand castle, only got as far as the base before we left the beach for the day. So instead I christened it a dog bone with a moat.

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Walking around Coligny is always fun, especially when there’s a performer who in every way look, talks, sings, and acts like Andy Dwyer from Parks & Rec.PHOTO_20140718_195308PHOTO_20140718_212015

No slacking on the fun scale for our last night in town. The dueling pianos show at The Electric Piano proved to be quite entertaining. Accidentally talked to one of the performers for 15 minutes before the show, and thusly got an embarrassing shout out. I saluted. Like what?? Who salutes to a shout out? I’m clearly not fit for social interaction.
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And there you have it! A very brief review my lovely week on HHI with Chels and her fam. I didn’t do the best job capturing all the best moments (like kayaking and eating seven dozen cookies), but in case you’re wondering, the lack of documentation in no way detracted from maximum enjoyment.  We had a BLAST.

Beach vaca #2 pictures coming soon!

Still salty,

Anna Beth

It’s cliche. It’s over done. It’s my brother and me lip-synching Frozen.

Dad requested this for Father’s Day because this is obviously the best way to show your adult children off to office staff. Obviously. And it wasn’t like we were going to deny him his wish for Father’s Day, I mean how cold hearted could you be. So this happened, and I have no regrets.

Everyone, meet my bro, Jon. And prepare yourselves for melodramatics.

Anna Beth

Pennsylvania Adventures

Took a lovely little road trip to PA this past weekend. Here are some pictures and video of what I got up to!

Since I didn’t bother explaining much in the video, here’s a short recap so you know what all of those beautiful places were:)

The first day was spent driving– actually the first two days were spent driving. Actually, we drove a lot every day because apparently nothing is close to anything. But I guess it wasn’t too bad since the scenery was A++.

The second day consisted of (more driving to) Grove City College, where my best friend is finishing up her undergrad in history something or other. Come to think of it, I’m not actually sure what her degree is called, which maybe makes me a horrible friend. Oops. Anyway, I’ve heard how lovely the campus is practically since I was born since both of her parents went there, so I was excited to finally see it first hand. It only took me four years of my bff being up there to finally make it.

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For instance, here is a really beautiful, old stain glass thing. Window. Whatever. The important part is that it is beautiful and represents all of the beautifulness of Grove City. So you’re welcome.

Basically, we spent the day running around the campus like my puppy Levi when he sees the laser pointer and trying to catch all of the events Chelsea (yep, that’s the bestie) was in– a dance production, Greek sing, etc. etc. etc. It was great to see her in her natural college habitat.

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Yay it’s us. (Except for Chels who was at dance rehearsal. Oops. Sorry Chels.)

The third day we had planned on going into Pittsburg, but when we found out the Pittsburg marathon was going on, as well as several sporting events, we decided to skip the traffic chaos and go in the opposite direction towards Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. It was a lovely day of driving through the PA countryside and stopping whenever we felt like it at little country stores and local bakeries.

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Whoa, flash.

The next day we finally made it into the ‘Burg, took a ride up the incline to view the city, ate lunch at the famous Primanti Brother’s in the Strip District, walked the streets of P-town, and ended with a refreshing tour through Phipps Conservatory. Mom was especially excited for that because she’s a hardcore garden nerd.

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As if you needed evidence that it disappeared quickly.
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After that there was just a lot more driving and admiring scenery, but I figure you’ve gotten the picture by now. We had quite a lovely time and I wouldn’t mind going back and exploring more of the city sometime. I found it rather appealing in a steel mining, rustic type of way. Maybe I’ll drag my brother up there on our roadtrip next summer. We shall see.

Happy Travels,

Anna Beth

Tips for a Clearer Face

If you’re a human being, you’ve probably experienced acne in some way, shape, or form at some point in your life. If you haven’t, you probably have flawless skin that my not-flawless skin says hi to but also doesn’t like because … Continue reading