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.


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.


Lovely little place, isn’t it?


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.



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.


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


How to Have a Cheery Rainy Day


Sunny days aren’t the only ones that can be exceptionally cheerful. Give me a good misty, gray day and I can be quite happy about the whole event. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case with many people, so I thought I’d share some ways I make rainy days cheery…



  • Keep your feet dry and warm. This applies to both warm and cold rainy days. No matter the temperature outside, keeping your feet dry and warm will make all the difference in whether or not your rainy day is cheery. I know those cute flats are really tempting, but soggy feet have a way of letting misery creep in like nothing else. Wear something that will keep that moisture out, or bring an extra pair of socks to work/school. And when you get home, pull out those fuzzy socks!


  • Let your hair do what it wants. This hits particularly close to home as I am one who has unruly half-straight, half-curly hair. On rainy days I know there is no point in straightening my fringe because with the first sign of humidity– boing! So take some stress off your day, let yourself sleep in a bit longer, and don’t get frustrated when that *thing* (whatever it is) happens with your hair. Rock it, just for one rainy day.


  • Put on some good jams. Listen to music that makes you happy! Sometimes I like listen to something pretty mellow with a bit of spunk (read: Jack Johnson or jazz), but in general it’s just most important remember that rainy days don’t have to be just slow, depressing music. It’s okay to bebop around town with your favorite summery music or even just the radio. It’s okay to crank up some classical while doing the dishes and pretend you’re posh and elegant (or at least I’d be pretending). It’s even okay to throw it back with some disco (and accompanying bell bottoms, duh). Honestly, any and all music has the potential to be a good soundtrack to a rainy day, so don’t limit yourself.


  • Eat your favorite food. Not that you really need an excuse, but rainy days are good ones for eating your favorite food. Knowing you have that “hot and ready” pizza waiting for you when you get home can be really motivating and exciting. Making the short drive to Starbucks for a cup of hot chocolate on your lunch break can make the afternoon seem a little more cozy. Popping a bag of fig newtons in your purse to munch on later could potentially change your world forever (or at least a day that might otherwise be dreary).


  • Get a colorful umbrella. Just because the world is gray doesn’t mean you have to be! This goes for your clothing as well, but I have found investing in a good, happy umbrella has made a huge difference in my rainy days. In a sea of boring, gray and black umbrellas, your little guy will be a beacon of color and cheer for more than just you. I can’t tell you how many comments my own floral umbrella has received! Besides the fact that it just makes me happy. Confession: Sometimes I look forward to rainy days because I get to use my umbrella. It’s sad.. sad, but true.


  • Spend time with your pet. If you have a pet, spend time with it. Granted, fish aren’t so easy to spend time with, but a good cuddle with your puppy can make the world seem much brighter.
  • aaalaundry2Do something productive. Most of us have work and/or school that helps us fill our time on rainy days, but even if it’s your day off, do something productive. I find sometimes a wave of grogginess comes over me when the sky is low and wet and I end up sort of laying around and hoping for dryer days. Just getting up and doing something– anything– can help break that dumb feeling and kick your mind into enjoying the coziness of the hour. Rainy days are perfect for blankets and netflix and warm beverages, but sometimes you just can’t enjoy those things as well until you’ve gotten up and done something useful with yourself. Check something off your to do list and you’re sure to better enjoy another hour in your blanket fort.


  • Chapstick. Don’t as questions, just use it.


  • Watch a TV show/movie or read a book. Basically, just do something fun (after you’ve been productive), and don’t feel guilty about it! It’s raining out anyway, what else are you going to do? Take a walk? Didn’t think so.


  • Have a good attitude. THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT. But also probably the most difficult. If you start your day with a negative mindset, your day is going to be a lot harder to make cheery. And, unfortunately, rain gets blamed for a lot of un-cheeriness. Just because you wake up to find the yard is covered in slosh doesn’t mean you have to huff about the day. Yes, you could potentially get soggy on the way to work. Yes, it makes grocery shopping particularly annoying. YES, it means no good beach weather. But you weren’t going to be able to go to the beach anyway, right? Besides, now you have a great excuse to be extra cozy and warm and cheery. It is raining after all, so why not make the best of it? Keep that chin up and smile at the beauty of a world dotted with raindrops!

 Warm and cozy,

Anna Beth

 Images courtesy of images.google.com

My Favorite Things. Sort of.

If this snowstorm has given me one thing, it’s time to get things done. Which, as it turns out, now includes stupid blog posts and useless videos. Huzzah! Enjoy the following video in which I am really awkward and bad at explaining things:


A list of all the items I mentioned and where to find them:

Cool Thing: Bath and Body Works Paris Amour 3 Wick Candle (or any candle of your choice!)

Reason I love it: Um, duh. It smells really nice. Well, that and it is quite pleasant for early morning bathroom routines.

Price: $21.69


Cool Thing: Fleece Lined Leggings

Reason I love it: It’s like wearing a fuzzy blanket all day long. Basically heaven on earth.

Price: Depends a bit– apparently you can get the brand I have off of Bed Bath and Beyond’s website for $9.99 (link above), but there are countless other brands of fleece lined leggings that range anywhere from $10-25. Search Amazon and I’m sure you’ll find some.


Cool Thing: Brookside Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranates

Reason I love it: Delicious, addicting, great for munching, and did I mention delicious…

Price: $16.07


Cool Thing: Hair flowers and bows

Reason I love it: Not only are the super cute to wear with a bun, braid, or even your hair down, they’re great for distracting from a bad hair day.

Price: $1.20-3.80/2


Cool Thing: Clinique Different Lipstick in “Rose Aglow”

Reason I love it: Lovely rosy, matte color that’s great for winter! Also a great lipstick in general, no matter what color you get.

Price: $15


Cool Thing: Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

Reason I love it: Fantastic biography of a bombardier’s difficult journey in the South Pacific theatre during WWII– researched and written in a very thoughtful manner without shying away from the hard truths of war and suffering.

Price: $14.12 for hardcover, $10.99 for Kindle


Let me know if this inspires you to try something new, or post a comment of something you’ve enjoyed and think I should try! 🙂

 Anna Beth