Dinner with the Professors – Hogwarts Dining


The main theme of my Harry Potter party was “Dinner with the Professors” where each guest got to enjoy a Hogwarts style dinner and be assigned a Hogwarts professor role.  Like I said in my first post, I decided to make everyone a professor instead of assigning them as the students to make the party a little more adult and not have to wrestle who would be Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

Hogwarts is known for their hearty and mouth-watering food, and I wanted every one of my guests leaving with full and satisfied stomachs.

For appetizers, I set out some veggies and pita chips with Greek yogurt dip (Martha Stewart’s recipe).


 I also made a warm and cheesy marinara dip to go with some crostini (Mozzarella Fonduta recipe here).


Dinner consisted of:

1) Short Ribs – This recipe from Giada de Laurentiis was originally meant to be eaten with pasta, but I decided to just cook the meat and serve it with potatoes instead.  It IS time consuming and rather pricey, but the result is super luscious meat that becomes more tender, the longer it simmers over the stove.


2) Drumsticks – My mom made this special for my party, but unfortunately, I do not have a recipe at the moment.  My mom goes off by her own tastes and not strict measurements, which is a true sign of a great chef.  I wish I had that ability.  Like the short ribs, the chicken was also very tender, and the meat slid right off the bone.  These are drumsticks that Ron Weasley would definitely scarf down.



3) Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemon – Another Giada recipe that is definitely a keeper.  This recipe is a wonderful twist on your standard potatoes, and offers a zesty and vibrant flavor due to the lemon dressing.  The key to smashing potatoes is to very gently press on them and not push them down all the way.  It took a few potatoes to get the smashing right, so I say boil a few extra for trial and error.



We ate by candlelight and underneath the Bewitched Ceiling.


To create the Bewitched Ceiling, I just used stencils of different size stars and spray painted them gold once they were all cut out.  I then just used regular Scotch tape to stick onto the dining room ceiling.



Dinner is served!


For dessert, my guests caught their very own edible Snitches (Ferrero Rocher chocolates – peel off the sticker label and brown paper to leave a gold shaped sphere that looks like a Snitch), and me and the other birthday girl were surprised by our very own birthday cake. Image


Banana chocolate meringue pie: very special indeed!


I also served apple cider floats that posed as butterbeer.  The apple cider was heated over the stove with some cinnamon sticks and served in mugs with caramel flavored ice cream.


When the ice cream melted in the apple cider, it created a white froth on the top and looked a lot like what I envisioned butterbeer to look like.  The cinnamon stick was a delightful garnish in the mug. The sweet and sticky caramel from the ice cream complemented extremely well with the warm apple cider, and I felt like I was experiencing what Harry Potter and his friends must have drank at Hogsmeade.



I used the measurements given in the recipe here, but if I was to make them again, I would use smaller mugs/cups or make more cider and ice cream to fill the mug.


Once everyone filled their tummies with seconds and thirds, I allowed the guests to open their parchments to find out which professor they were.  For most of them, I matched one quality of each guest to their professor (for example, one of my friends is a nurse, which is why I assigned her Professor Sprout, who nursed people back to health with her Mandrake potion).  I made myself Dumbledore, since I was the host of the party, and he’s the headmaster at Hogwarts.

The description of each role definitely gave my guests a good ribbing, but I made sure to add some positive comments to soften the blow =P


To make the scroll holder, I used a toilet paper roll and printed out a name tag and pasted it on there.  I embellished it with a little black ribbon on the edges.


Here are all the professor descriptions I wrote for each person:

1) You are Professor Minerva McGonagall, Transfiguration teacher and head of Gryffindor house.  You like to be in control and keep things in order.  You are a strict disciplinarian but are admired by many for your intelligence and drive.  Even though you intimidate most students, you have proven just as much that you have a big heart and go to extremes for others.  You are a strong warrior and remain to be Dumbledore’s right hand (wo)man.

2) You are Professor Remus Lupin, the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher during Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts.  You used to be best friends with Harry Potter’s late father.  Serving as teacher and mentor, you taught Harry to face his fears and defeat evil.  Not many are aware that you are secretly a werewolf.  Despite the mischief in your youth and the occasional wild streak every full moon, you turned out to be a very wise and gentle soul.

3) You are Professor Gilderoy Lockhart, the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher during Harry Potter’s second year at Hogwarts.  You are extremely vain, but also, extremely charming.  You have published many best-selling books and won Witch Weekly’s Most Charming Smile award five times.  Unfortunately, you are not a very adept wizard and turned out to be a fraud.  Despite being somewhat dimwitted, you are extremely gifted at wiping other people’s memories with Memory Charms.

4) You are Professor Sybil Trelawny, Divination teacher at Hogwarts.  You are odd and eccentric and not understood by many.  You strongly believe in horoscopes and fortune telling and are very passionate about your craft.  Not everyone believes in the powers of Divination, but other people’s opinions never seem to bother you.  Your predictions are hardly every correct, but you have made several substantial prophecies that came true, especially those concerning Harry Potter.

5) You are Professor Pomona Sprout, head of Hufflepuff house and the Herbology department.  You are not a very tidy person, but a little dirt never bothered you.  You prefer to stay indoors and tend to your plants.  You have proven to be extremely knowledgeable and patient in your field.  Those at Hogwarts rely on you to nurse them back to health with your various herbs and spells.  You are very approachable, and no one ever has a bad thing to say about you.

6) You are Professor Severus Snape, Potions master and head of Slytherin house.  You are very serious and mysterious and like to keep to yourself.  You don’t like many people and not many people care for you either.  Underneath the dark facade though is a very noble and courageous wizard.  You were picked on a lot in the past, but love and honor always drove you forward.  Many question where your loyalties lie, but you have proven to be Dumbledore’s dark knight.


If you’re not sick of Harry Potter just yet, I still have a few more posts about my party that I will write in the next week or so.  Please also check out the links below to more posts based on my Harry Potter party.

  1.  Harry Potter Overview – a look into my magical celebration.
  2. Owl Post Invitations
  3. The Art of Transfiguration: Transforming My House into Hogwarts
  4. DIY Aragog/Giant Spider Decoration

DIY Warrior Shirt



Hi all ~

I have been wanting to post some more about my Harry Potter party, but I was so busy these past couple weeks that I am unable to complete an in-depth blog post at the moment.  So in place of it, I am writing a short post on how I made my warrior shirt for the Warrior Dash this past weekend.

Warrior Dash is a 5K run with 14 obstacles along the way and mud pits to get dirty in by the end of the finish line.  I had such a blast, and I cannot wait for my next one.

To keep with the warrior theme and save money, my team and I decided to just cut up old T-shirts and put on sweatbands and face paint like we were ready for battle.  Everyone made their own version of the shirt, but I feel we still looked very cohesive in the end.






To create my shirt, I cut off the collar and sleeves and cut further to create an asymmetrical neckline.  I then decided where I wanted my slashes to be and started snipping and tearing.  To create the open and gaping slashes, you snip in the middle of where you want your slash to be and pull on both sides to tear the shirt.  This also creates a worn down and beaten effect.  To create less gaping slashes, you simply cut the whole slash with scissors.  [First picture below shows the front of the shirt with more open and worn out slashes while the second picture shows the back and has more clean and less gaping slashes.]



I also cut off the seamed edges of the cut out shirt sleeves and used them like ribbons to tie it into a sleeveless shirt.  [The picture above is an incomplete version of my shirt and only shows one of the sleeves tied up.  The picture below shows that both my sleeves are tied up.]



In retrospect, I really did like how my warrior shirt turned out and it put me in the warrior spirit; but if you decide to make and wear this for a mud run, make sure it’s a warm day.  The day was not completely sunny, and there were cold breezes that ran through the gashes in my shirt, which made waiting in the long lines for the bag check AND the separate long lines for the showers absolute torture!  You would think the mud would insulate some sort of heat, but it most definitely didn’t.  Now I know why elephants cake themselves in mud on hot days..  So before wearing, either check the weather, or have your family and friends there to hold your bags while cheering you on.



Hope this pumps you up to try a muddy 5K yourself.  Just have fun, be safe, and don’t take it too seriously.  It’s a welcoming environment for people of all fitness levels, and even complete strangers helped each other along the way.

Please feel free to comment below and let me know your experiences with mud runs.  I would also love to know more tips and tricks on tackling a 5K, if you have any.


DIY Aragog/Giant Spider Decoration



Here are the steps to make your very own Aragog!  It is rather simple and very cheap.

1) Materials needed are: Wrapping paper, something to use as filling (I used leftover padding from a mail-in package. Newspaper could also work), scissors, hot glue, and tape.


2) Form the head and body with your filling (tape to hold the form if needed), and wrap it with wrapping paper. Tape the ends of the wrapping paper underneath the formed head and body. Once the body and head are formed, hot glue the head and body together. Flatten and shape as needed.


3) Now for the legs! Lay out your wrapping paper, and start rolling in from one edge to determine how thick you want your spider’s legs to be. Once you figured out how thick you want your spider’s legs, mark where it is rolled to with a pen or snip the edge.


4) Turn the wrapping paper around, design side down, and crease from the marked point to the other end. Cut out the rectangular piece you just folded.


5) Now the rectangular piece could be used to measure your other 7 legs. Lay the cut out piece on top of the wrapping paper and mark to make 7 other rectangular pieces of the same size. Cut each rectangular piece out to make 8 rectangles in total.


6) With each rectangle, lay it out, design side up, and roll inwards from the longer edge. Keep rolling until you reach the end, and tape to secure.


7) Once all eight legs are made, approximate where you would like to place each leg and bend the leg piece where you think it looks best (bend close to the center of each leg).


8) Hot glue each leg to the body. You can also tape the legs, but hot glue keeps the legs more securely in place. [NOTE: I adjusted the placement of the front two legs so that it was further back from the head. The legs on the finished product are different from the picture below.]


9) Once the glue is dried, spray paint the top and bottom of the spider black. You may have to spray multiple coats to make the color opaque because the spray paint drips a little off the paper.



And there you have your very own creepy Aragog! I could see this giant spider being perfect for Halloween as well, and all you need to do is be creative with leftover materials.

Please feel free to comment below, and check out my other posts on my blog, including my Harry Potter birthday party.



The Art of Transfiguration: Transforming My House into Hogwarts

To transform my house into Hogwarts, I knew I had to create a rustic and warm welcoming feel, since the school is very old but enchanting. All throughout the house, I put out knick knacks that were appropriate to what you would see at Hogwarts and lit a lot of candles or placed some unlit ones around to be seen.  I also used the Harry Potter books as displays since they have delightful works of art on them. I considered laying out my Harry Potter DVDs, but it seemed to lose the Hogwarts feel when displayed.






I made my very own Snitch using this tutorial at WikiHow. Isn’t it cute?? =)


The table in the living room acted as a place to play wizard’s chess on as well as hold the photo booth props. I printed the “Witch Weekly” title and glued a black border on it before gluing the final piece onto one of my Vogue magazines. It just so happened that Taylor Swift wore a big hat on the cover that made it look like a witch’s hat when gluing on the title.



To create my spooky bathroom, I based it off of the second book/movie, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” since the bathroom was such a pivotal setting in that book. I printed out a sign warning my guests about Moaning Myrtle, who bothers all the students with her crying and incessant floods when throwing tantrums.


Inside the bathroom, there was another warning stating that the Chamber of Secrets was open. My sister finger painted this warning on plastic wrap and taped it to the wall. Pretty creepy!

ImageImageYou can also see the basilisk eyes looming in the frame to emulate the creature that hunted all that were not pure blood wizards (that really just made me sound like a Harry Potter nerd haha). The Hogwarts monogram was laminated and taped to the toilet cover.



As specified on the invitation, I told my guests to follow the spiders, and they will lead them to the Hogwarts entrance. This is supposed to be reminiscent of the second book/movie, once again, where Harry Potter and Ron Weasley followed the spiders to find Hagrid’s giant pet, Aragog.


I bought some plastic spider decorations off Amazon for really cheap to create my spider trail, and I made my own Aragog using wrapping paper and some leftover packaging used in my mail order from World Market. World Market seems to be green and not want to use any plastic, so they have some interesting looking packaging made out of paper, which I reused to make Aragog and Nagini (Voldemort’s pet snake, which I will show later in a future post on how I made it). Click here to learn how I created this giant spider and make one of your own!


For the welcome sign, I freehand copied the owl using a picture I found on the Internet, and colored, cut, and laminated it to make it sturdy. I found a small plywood board from Michael’s and freehand copied the Harry Potter font to say, “Welcome to Hogwarts”; then I hot glued the owl on top. The board had a plastic hook on it already, which I used to hang on the door.


Wizards need a place to park their brooms, so I designated the “Broom Parking” on the opposite wall of the entrance.  Nice to also have a tool on hand to do some last minute sweeping of the porch =P



Please check back for the next few weeks for more detailed posts on my Harry Potter party and see my next post here on how to create your very own Aragog! Please feel free to comment and check out my other posts based on this theme party (links provided below).

  1. Harry Potter Party Overview — a look into my magical birthday celebration.
  2. Owl Post Invitations

Owl Post Invitations — Harry Potter Party


As shown in my Sneak Peek post, I made these creatively unique invitations for my Harry Potter themed birthday party.  In our social media obsessed world, I could have easily sent out the invites through email or posted a Facebook event, but there’s still something about an actual paper invite that is so much more special and thrilling to receive.  Plus, that is not how Hogwarts would have done it.


Since I couldn’t rely on magic due to being a Muggle or have actual owls on hand to send a post, I found the next best thing while browsing online.  This idea has been recreated by several bloggers, but I was most impressed by these two blogs, lizzy writes and Uniquely Grace.  It emulates an owl post by drawing an owl on a floating balloon and attaching it to the invite.  I love the kids’ reactions in Uniquely Grace’s blog post.

I got the balloons at Party City and bought the Hi-Float ones for about a dollar each.  I decided to stick with neutral beige and white tones because that was the color of Harry Potter’s owl, Hedwig.  I freehand drew the owl based on the pictures on the previously mentioned blogs.


I bought cream colored envelopes for about $5 and used the same address as Harry Potter’s so that each person could feel as specially selected as he did.  I tried my best to copy the same font used in the movie.  {The rest of these envelopes were used to create the photo booth backdrop.  Check my previous post to view the photobooth.}




I also found printable stamps from just Sweet and Simple and glued them onto the envelopes.  {They also offer free printable invitation paper and special envelopes.}

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Each invite also included a complimentary one way train ticket to Hogwarts from Platform 9 ¾.


Underneath the header, here is what the invitation states:

Dear Mr./Mrs. _________,

We are pleased to inform you that you are hereby invited to Dinner with the Professors at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Dinner is in celebration of Goldie Choi and Elaine Trinidad’s 28th birthday.  Each one of you will be designated a Hogwarts professor role at the dinner.  Whether you arrive in a bewitched car, fly in on a broomstick, or hop on the train at Platform 9 3/4, please arrive promptly at 5:00 pm on March 8, 2014.  (Complimentary train ticket is attached.)

Address:  _________________

Attire:  No dress code… although full wizard attire is welcome =D

Entrance:  Please follow the spiders to guide you to the Hogwarts entrance.  Must use password, “Happy Birthday,” to enter.

What to Bring:  Your appetites and inner geekdom.

Gifts:  No presents for the birthday girls are required.  If you must, Goldie would like the last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, on paperback.

Each attendee will go home with a goody bag and a chance to win the House Cup!

We await your owl, phone, or Facebook confirmation by no later than February 16, 2014.

Yours sincerely,


Albus Dumbledore

Albus Dumbledore

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry



You can find the Hogwarts emblem by Googling it and download free Harry Potter fonts to use.

My friends were really impressed by the invitations, and it really wasn’t that difficult to make.  The extra effort was definitely worth the reactions.


Check back all this month for more blog posts on my Harry Potter party, including what was made for dinner and how I created the photo booth!  In the meantime, please feel free to comment below and visit my previous post showcasing the highlights of my birthday party.

Happy Blogging!

A Magical Evening – Harry Potter Party Overview


Although there were no actual spells or enchantments cast nor flying owls soaring around at my birthday party, that is not to say there was no magic created that night.  My Harry Potter birthday party was a complete success, and despite all the hours and stress put into the project, I am incredibly pleased with how it all turned out and would do it all over again, if I had the choice.  I also cannot thank my friends and family enough for helping me out, especially after falling ill two weeks before and falling behind on decorating.

Because there was so much put into this party, I will write several more detailed posts on it within the next few weeks, including how I made the decorations and what activities were held at the party.  But for now, this post will show you an overview of what my party was like.  Enjoy!!

As written on the invitation, the party guests were to follow the spiders to the grand entrance to Hogwarts.  Here, they can also park their broomsticks as well as meet Aragog, Hagrid’s giant pet arachnid.




Once they entered Hogwarts, they were greeted with appetizers and got to embark on a scavenger hunt looking for Voldemort’s Horcruxes.


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Hogwarts décor would not be complete without some candles and the Golden Snitch.  That Snitch was actually handmade by me! =)

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Beware of Moaning Myrtle and the thriving basilisk in the bathroom!  The Chamber of Secrets has been opened.  Enemies of the heir, beware…

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Arguably, the best feature of the party was the photo booth.  I recreated the scene where Harry Potter gets flooded with Hogwarts acceptance letters at the Dursley house and used it as the backdrop for photos.  I am still amazed that two of my friends and I were able to make this look astounding.  I also made my own photo booth props to play with and placed them on the wizard’s chess table.


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Dinner by candlelight and starlight!  We ate underneath the Bewitched Ceiling.  As you can see in the picture below, each person received a personalized scroll that designated who was which professor.


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Dinner is served!  Marinated chicken, short ribs, and lemony potatoes… a hearty meal fit for Hogwarts.


No Hogwarts dinner is complete without dessert.  Guests caught their very own edible Snitch (Ferrero Rocher chocolates) and were served butterbeer (apple cider floats).


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Me and the other birthday girl, who collaborated with me on this birthday party, also received our very own surprise with a chocolate banana meringue birthday cake and presents.  I got the last Harry Potter book to complete my set =D

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After dinner, my friends got a chance to win the House Cup by playing a trivia game.  Admittedly, those questions I came up with were very hard!



Although not everyone was a winner that night, every guest got to go home with a goodie bag, which included a quill pen, a chocolate dipped pretzel wand, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans (really just regular Jelly Bellys.. my sister told me how traumatized she was after someone fed her the vomit flavored one), and homemade Chocolate Frogs with a peanut butter filling inside.


The night was indeed magical, and the best party I’ve thrown thus far.  It just goes to show that turning 28 does not mean you have to deny the kid inside.

Please check back all this month for more detailed posts on my Harry Potter party!


Sneak Peek – Harry Potter Birthday Party


The older I get, the more celebrating my birthday becomes less and less of a priority.  Because of that, I’m less inclined to figure out what to do for my birthday when my friends and family ask me.  Of course, my family and friends have the best intentions, but sometimes I really would rather sit at home in my fat pants after a long work week and binge watch my favorite shows on Netflix.  Isn’t it my day after all?

 Sometime last summer though, I was browsing through a friend’s Pinterest page and found all these brilliant recipes and other cool ideas based on the Harry Potter series.  I really am such a nerd for Harry Potter and was easily taken away by the magic at Hogwarts and the rise of an unsuspecting hero.  So, in turn, I was eager to recreate what I found, but was completely unsure of when it would be appropriate to serve something like butterbeer.  Soon enough, lightbulb popped up – I’m going to throw my own Harry Potter themed birthday party!!

 I know most people would think I’m weird and crazy for planning my own birthday party, but even someone as self-involved as P. Diddy throws his own birthday bash.  He just has more money and servants to make it happen.  Fortunately though, I love party planning and creative crafting, and I was relieved to finally know what to do for my birthday this year.

 Funnily enough, a good bulk of my ideas for the party came to me while getting a massage.  It’s the most interesting feeling being inspired while relaxing.  I wrote down every idea I had when the massage was over and researched further online (Pinterest is such a God send to craftsters).

 So as a sneak peek of things to come, here is a pic of my friends with their special invites.  The invitation replicates a special owl post fit for a wizard.  This idea has been recreated on many blogs, but I enjoyed the pictures from lizzy writes the most.  The balloons were only about a $1 each and the drawing was easy enough to copy on the balloon.


To make the party more “adult,” I’m not enforcing any costumes and setting it as a “Dinner with the Professors” in order to assume the roles of the adult characters.  Each guest will be assigned a Hogwarts professor role, just for fun, and there will be several other surprises along the way.

I’m super excited for my party, which is this upcoming Saturday, and really hoping that all the hard work will pay off.  This party is many months in the making, so I’m expecting it to be an epic birthday!

Check back next week for a detailed account on my party.  Look forward to seeing several additional posts with links and tutorials of my own (including the owl post invitations) as well.

Have a magical day! =)