10 Things You Should Bring with You to Harry Potter World

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If there was one thing we learned when we were in Harry Potter World (LA) it’s that stuff is reeeaaaalllly expensive, in a kind of unnecessary way. Not that we didn’t expect for things to be expensive in an amusement park, but the price of things in Harry Potter World were just ridiculous (with the exception of the food which seemed to be pretty similar to what you’d expect).

I guess I just don’t feel like I should be hearing kids ask their parents for allowance from the past 6 months so they can buy a journal, a pen and a pin. That really happened. I’m not kidding. The 8 year old kid paid $90 of his own money for three things. This is wrong.

Needless to say, I didn’t end up buying much of anything there. And once I reached my house, I actually breathed a sigh of relief because I DID THE RIGHT THING. There is no reason to spend those prices at the park itself. We had an amazing time running around the grounds with our wands and my Harry Potter glasses (both of which got a whole lot of compliments from the people who worked there — in total I had bought them both before the trip for $15).

Before you, or your family, venture to Harry Potter World I thought I would make a list of a few things so that you can shop like a Malfoy on a Weasley budget. Because hey, I want you to look amazing and I believe we all deserve to be able to look straight outta Hogwarts.

Phew, that video gets me every time. But here they are, 10 things that I found for way cheaper than when we were at Harry Potter World (click on the images for links). Let’s start off with the things I bought before going:

Where to Buy Your Wand: 

I bought my wand on Etsy at the shop: Osbornes Wand Shop. And this was my best purchase…maybe ever — definitely in regards to my Harry Potter fandom. I got so many compliments on it while I was in Harry Potter World! The best part? It’s not some mass produced item – it’s customized to me!

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Harry Potter’s Glasses: 

Here’s a fun fact, these aren’t even sold at Harry Potter World. Which is such a missed opportunity, I feel. I still don’t understand why they weren’t there. I also got a lot of compliments on these. In fact, one of the ladies who worked there was like, “Where did you get those!? I’ve been looking for a pair everywhere!”  You can snag your pair by visiting this shop: Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4

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Everything Else:

*Disclosure* I am a very proud Slytherin and hence all of this gear will be Slytherin based. If you participate in a Hogwarts house that has a problem with that…

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Mugs:

I really wanted a mug because I sit at a desk 8 hours a day and having a Harry Potter mid-day reminder is never a bad idea. But I was a bit shocked when I turned the mug at HPW upside down and saw the $40 price tag! That was just a no-go. Buying something that will potentially break during the transfer back home, for $40, was just not going to happen. Luckily, I found literally the cutest Hedwig mug the world has ever known AND a Slytherin mug both of which could be purchased for less than that price. At $10 for one and $18 for the other it’s an investment I can definitely swing.

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Sweatshirt: 

I’m not even going to tell you how much I wanted to buy a Slytherin sweatshirt when I was in HPW but with prices at $60 – $80 that just wasn’t going to happen. BUT I found some beautiful sweaters online that don’t break the bank, and actually look better! In love. Check out this beautiful Slytherin Quidditch sweatshirt from Etsy!

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Journals:

I’m a writer, so obviously I can never have too many notebooks, journals etc. I pretty much always carry one with me, so it was kind of disappointing to find out that the journals for sale in HPW were like $40. I mean, come on, they didn’t even have real leather covers. I was trés sad. When I got home I found this beautiful journal for $13 from Amazon that looks pretty much exactly on point with what I was holding in my hands at HPW, at a fraction of the price.

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Passport Cover:

Obviously I travel a lot. So when I saw that HPW was selling passport holders I kind of lost my mind. Then I looked at the price $25…not bad. But then I looked at the quality: shit (sorry mom – but it WAS). The passport cover wasn’t real leather and the stitching wasn’t even in a straight line. So, for this one, it’s not even about the price, just about the terrible quality. I found a beautiful leather (customizable!) passport case on Etsy that is just about the stuff of dreams…for the same price.

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Banner: 

Wall banners were a really big thing at HPW and I really wanted one. Maybe it’s because I’m a Slytherin and want everybody to know it (we tend to be very pro-us). Who knows? All I know is that there was a big green thing on the wall with a snake that said “I’m better than you” (that’s what the Latin translates to, right?) and I wanted it. Good thing I waited. Those bad boys were pushing $40 and I found a much prettier adult one, for $20 (by adult I just mean that I can actually hang in my house without people staring).  P.s. If you want a more colorful one, you can find them on Amazon for much cheaper, as well.

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BONUS!

One of the best things we saw someone wearing at Harry Potter World couldn’t even be bought there. We were obsessed with a Gryffindor letterman jacket of British girl in front of us was wearing and seeing the Slytherin version is even better! Right now you can grab one at HotTopic for under $40!

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Fantastic Beasts…Anything:

The most disappointing part of HPW was that there was absolutely no mention or anything close to purchase from Fantastic Beasts. I was so sad because I had planned on buying the screenplay there, and then it wasn’t even for sale. I did find it for sale at the airport for $30 but even that was a stretch. Luckily Amazon has it right now for $15, so it’s a must buy.

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As a side note, you definitely should buy some butter beer and have a meal at The Three Brooms restaurant. Comment below with your favorite Harry Potter themed items, and let me know if you end up buying any of these awesome pieces above! 🙂

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Doing Seattle Summer Right: 5 Ways To Rock With A Limited Budget

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Coming back home to Seattle has been pretty amazing, but the reality of moving back (or really, moving in general) is that it costs a lot of money. And, even though I am working, having to fit moving costs and living expenses etc. in definitely drains the “fun budget.” That being said, I’ve actually had such a busy social life since I’ve been back – the secret being that I haven’t spent $1 on any of my amusements. How have I done it!? Well a little bit of luck, a whole lot of crazy and some fun tricks I’m going to let you in on! Grab a notepad or iPhone or whatever it is kids are using these days, because some of these things I didn’t even know about before moving away. Ready? Okay, let’s go:

1. Volunteer: One of my favorite things to do is to volunteer at events. Not only do you generally get back stage access/get to meet the artists (how I met Mary Lambert!), but you also get to give back to your community! It’s a win-win, right!? I volunteer at the Fremont Abbey a lot and I absolutely love supporting such an amazing community of artists and musicians. Whether it’s working with the bar, the glam task of stacking chairs, or being a volunteer painter/artist during a show, there are always so many ways to help out! Oh! And volunteering = free entry to any show at the abbey.

2. Know your community: Along the same lines, there are some awesome community events in Seattle that are free. During the summer there are free outdoor movies in most neighborhoods, Shakespeare in the park, free museum days and all kinds of festivals with little to no cost. Don’t think that not having a huge budget means you have to sit in a corner all summer!

3. Check your assets: You might not even know what you have access to, but you might have freebies already! I’ve just taken to reading any and everything that comes into my hands and guess what!? I found some awesome events/passes through my local library and my bank (weird, right). If you bank with Bank of America, for instance, you can get a free pass to the Seattle Art Museum, Northwest African American Museum and Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience and many others in cities other than Seattle.

4. Get to know people: We have a saying in our classroom that “It’s better to make friends than enemies. Because you never know what you’re missing out on with most people.” People in Seattle have some of the most eccentric tastes you could probably find and making friends is an awesome way of finding out about awesome things going on around Seattle that are fun, low budget and may be something you’ve never done before! This is how I’ve ended up at the semi final Women’s World Cup game, concerts and COMING SOON: hikes that are going to kick my ass (Paris has left me so out of shape it’s an actual tragedy). Don’t burn bridges – build them! (Another favorite is to join up with a Meetup group!)

5. Keep your eyes open: I do a lot of awesome things that are last minute and random and awesome, and the reason for that is because I love looking around reading signs, picking up fliers and going to things that might not be on my normal agenda. For example, I love going to pre-screenings of movies. And companies love me going to pre-screenings of movies. I’ve seen some great documentaries and movies (the last one being Inside Out) for absolutely free just because I picked up a flier that was “admit one” for a pre-screening. There are several spaces you can find tickets, but a good starting place is with Universal pictures, which does a lot of pre-screenings that you can sign up for notifications for (and usually you can bring a friend!).

Do you guys have any money saving tips for summer????