Unveiling The Menu For The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley!

On Friday, May 30, Universal Orlando Resort revealed details about the variety of new food and beverage options which will be available in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ? Diagon Alley, opening this summer at the Universal Studios theme park.  From traditional British favorites like Bangers and Mash served in the Leaky Cauldron to ice-cream with unique flavors such as Chocolate Chili and Butterbeer from Florean Fortescue?s Ice-Cream Parlour, guests will savor all-new dining experiences created exclusively for the new land. Featured in this photo is the Ploughman's served in Leaky Cauldron. HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. © 2014 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Today, Universal Orlando revealed details of what food will be on the menu at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley expansion. I see that the Leaky Cauldron will be serving British recipes – the question is, will they import the sausage to make it authentic? This hungry Brit is asking the truly important questions about this theme park, clearly. ;) Check out the full menu details:

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 30, 2014) – Today, Universal Orlando Resort revealed details about the variety of new food and beverage options which will be available in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, opening this summer at the Universal Studios theme park. From traditional British favorites like Bangers and Mash to ice-cream with unique flavors such as Chocolate Chili and Sticky Toffee Pudding, guests will savor all-new dining experiences created exclusively for the new land.

Universal Orlando’s culinary team has gone to great lengths to ensure the food experience in Diagon Alley is as authentic as possible. After years of studying the books and films; gathering inspiration from British pubs; developing authentic recipes with imported ingredients from England; and holding countless tastings, Universal’s culinary team, in collaboration with Warner Bros., has created an incredible variety of new foods and beverages the whole family can enjoy, in environments inspired by popular locations from the Harry Potter series.

Guests can stop inside the Leaky Cauldron, the popular wizarding pub and inn where they will be greeted by the savory smells of traditional British dishes such as Bangers and Mash (traditional roasted sausages with creamy mashed potatoes), Fisherman’s Pie (salmon, shrimp and cod baked together under a potato crust), Toad in the Hole (traditional sausage baked into a Yorkshire pudding and served with onion gravy), Fish and Chips, and the Ploughman’s – a feast of English cheese, crusty bread, cornichon pickles, apple beet salad, Branston pickle and a Scotch egg). Guests can also sip on new draught beers created exclusively for the land – Wizard’s Brew and Dragon Scale – and enjoy popular drinks, like Pumpkin Juice and Butterbeer, as well as new beverages like Fishy Green Ale and Tongue Tying Lemon Squash.

Further down Diagon Alley is Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, the same ice-cream shop where Hagrid bought Harry a chocolate and raspberry ice-cream with chopped nuts in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Stepping inside the whimsical and colorful shop, guests can indulge in more than 20 tantalizing and unique ice-cream flavors including Earl Grey and Lavender, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Chocolate Chili, Clotted Cream, Salted Caramel Blondie, Apple Crumble, Strawberry and Peanut-Butter, Orange Marmalade and even a soft-serve ice-cream flavor of Butterbeer. Also available will be a variety of fresh pastries, scones, tarts and sweet cakes.

In Horizont Alley – a street branching off Diagon Alley – guests can enjoy delicious elixirs from Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment. The available elixir selection at this cart includes Draught of Peace, Babbling Beverage, Elixir to Induce Euphoria and Fire Protection Potion. By adding these magical elixirs to Gillywater, guests will see their drink transform before their eyes and experience delightful flavor surprises.

But First, Let Me Take a Selfy

Selfy

Complimentary Selfy provided for consideration.

“Selfies” have become a ubiquitous part of cell phone culture, even earning a spot in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 2014 edition. And now selfies even have their own cell phone case: Selfy, the case for iPhone 5 that has a removable wireless shutter button built-in.

Selfy case

Unfortunately, the Selfy iPhone case is only made for the 5 and not compatible with my iPhone 4S, but the wireless shutter still works. It was surprisingly fast to set up – Selfy pairs quickly with your device via Bluetooth, and when you click the button, it immediately snaps a photo.

Selfy packaging

Here’s the photo I took with the Selfy clicker, of the Selfy packaging. Very meta, I know.

I could see this being fun for taking better photos with friends without messing around with a self-timer, or filming quick v-logs on the road. Although the case itself doesn’t work for me, I’m still going to keep it so I can use the shutter button, as I can see it coming in handy.

Selfy is currently running a contest for your chance to win a case by sharing your own selfies with hastag #iLuvSelfy – so get your duck face ready and click here for all the contest details!

Lysol No Mess Max Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Review

Lysol Automatic Toilet Cleaner & iTunes Gift Card

Lysol No Mess Max Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner & iTunes gift card provided for this article.

According to a recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research, 1/3 of respondents said that they regularly use a digital device in the bathroom. This points to the overall trend of phone obsession, work overload, and multi-tasking that are now daily parts of life. Although I relish any time that I can get away from my phone, I do like using it with one of our bluetooth speakers to blast upbeat music while I’m taking a shower. It seems silly, but when I’m getting ready for a work event at 4AM, having peppy dance music going helps get my energy up. I do have a regular old radio in my shower as well – remember those?! – but our local stations are fairly limited, so it’s nice to be able to switch it up and listen to my custom Pandora stations, too. Using my phone to play tunes is also nice, because I can set alarms and timers to interrupt the music while I’m getting ready – this helps me keep track of time while I’m doing beauty treatments.

Lysol No Mess Max Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Since we’re all so pressed for time, Lysol has introduced the new No Mess Max Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner. This is an updated take on the traditional “Blue” tablet cleaners, featuring gel tablets that affix to the rim of your toilet bowl and clean with each flush. They sent me one of these cleaners to try out – along with an iTunes gift card in honor of their bathroom survey!

The No Mess Max is easy to install – you’ll want to look at the directions since it’s not necessarily intuitive just by looking at it, but it’s not at all difficult. The plastic holster affixes to the side of the bowl – it can be done without even touching the bowl if you’re careful! The gel then sits on the side and releases cleaning agents into the water when flushes.

It’s a little different than other cleaners in that it doesn’t turn the water blue, which I actually like, but I can notice suds going into the water. As is the case with all “Automated” cleaners, this doesn’t eliminate all cleaning, since you’ll still need to clean the top of the bowl/seat/etc., but I do feel like having the cleaning solution dumped into the water every day helps avoid build-up and lends to an overall cleaner appearance. The No Mess Max also has a fresh fragrance, which is nice. Now maybe I can use some of that extra time saved cleaning to do another beauty masque!

Kushyfoot Have Got Your Tootsies Covered

Kushyfoot

Kushyfoot socks provided for review.

I’ve been in love with Kushyfoot socks ever since I was first introduced to them last summer. These cushy dress socks fit perfectly underneath my “Business” shoes – they have become a staple in my suitcase every single time I travel. In fact, as the year has wound on, some of my favorites have disappeared/been eaten by the dryer/gone wherever it is that missing socks go, so I’m down to just a couple of trusty pairs that I wear every time I go on a trip. So when Kushyfoot reached out to see if I’d like to review their new Spring 2014 line, it was a total no-brainer!

Kushyfoot low cut

First up, we have the Ultra Low Cut Foot Covers and the Extreme Low Cut Lace Foot Covers. I actually find the “Ultra Low” foot covers to be too tight to wear – I think this is because they are one size, as opposed to the “Extreme Low Cut”, which fits sizes 5-9 – I wear between an 8 and 9 in shoes, so these ones fit me well.

Kushyfoot in LA

Wearing my Kushyfoot Lace Foot Covers in my hotel in Hollywood as the lights of LA twinkle in the background.

I wore the Lace Foot Covers during my recent trip to LA, and they were great! Kushyfoot are awesome to wear on business trips, because they are thin enough to fit underneath my dress shoes, but still provide a little bit of padding. They also protect your feet from the ground when you take your shoes off to go through airport security, which is nice too!

Kushyfoot Sport Foot Cover + Others

I also LOVED the Sport Foot Cover – this gives more coverage to the foot, but still stays tucked underneath my shoe. Very comfortable cotton! The Sheer Anklet is also really cute – since this one comes up higher, it would be good to wear with a pantsuit…or with pajamas around the house, if you’re me. ;)

Finally, we have these Toe Cover Pads. I was expecting a pair of dainty covers, which I thought would be great for open-toed heels. I was surprised to see that they also have a clear plastic strap that wraps around your heel to hold them in place – that’s actually a pretty good idea, considering that it is see-through and could be tucked underneath shoe straps.

These felt pretty good with their padding on the bottom of my toes, although it was a little tight around my big toe, probably from being one size. It’s interesting how two of the “One size” varieties fit great while two of them were tight or borderline tight – such is the variables of sizing. Since I haven’t been wearing high heels due to leeriness about my knees, I haven’t had a chance to see how these wear under shoes yet – I could certainly wear theses with my flat dress shoes, but I prefer full foot coverage for those. But I think these will be great to try with a pair of strappy pumps in the future!

I’m as big a Kushyfoot fan as ever and happy to have added a few new pieces of my dress sock collection – I know they’ll serve me well this summer! For more on these and other products, visit Kushyfoot.com.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Diagon Alley: Vacation Packages Now Available

Diagon Alley Vacation Packages-Now-Available

You’ve all been waiting, and now the time has come: You can now officially book a package to visit the Diagon Alley expansion at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Here’s all the details you need:

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 22, 2014) – Universal Orlando Resort is announcing an all-new exclusive vacation package giving guests the opportunity to enjoy this year’s most anticipated theme park experience: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. Travel for the vacation package begins June 29.

The new travel offer starts at $135 per adult, per night, tax inclusive for a four-night stay on-site at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and includes multi-day Park-to-Park tickets to experience both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. As part of the vacation package, guests will enjoy access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, plus exclusive benefits like Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade and the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley. They will also receive a specially themed Welcome Parcel delivered to their doorstep.

Additional vacation package details can be found below.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Exclusive Vacation Package

Summer Package

~ Starts at $155 per adult, per night, tax inclusive for travel June 29 to Aug. 16

Fall Package

~ Starts at $135 per adult, per night, tax inclusive for travel Aug. 17 to Oct. 2 and Nov. 30 to Dec. 18

· 4-night on-site hotel accommodations at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort – an all-new hotel inspired by the iconic beach resorts of the 1950s and 1960s

· 3-day Park-to-Park tickets

· One breakfast per person at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade and the all-new Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley

· Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme parks open

· Special themed Welcome Parcel

· Complimentary on-site transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk

· Book by July 31

· Upgrade to one of three AAA Four-Diamond deluxe on-site hotels at Universal Orlando Resort to receive complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines at select attractions in both theme parks all day (a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day)

· Vacation package also available at Universal Partner Hotels

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida will double the size of the Harry Potter experience offered at Universal Orlando Resort – expanding it across both of Universal’s theme parks. Guests will pass through London and the iconic brick wall archway into Diagon Alley – a bustling, wizarding hub within a Muggle city. The new land will offer one-of-a-kind adventures where guests can:

· Experience the next generation thrill ride – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – where guests are propelled into a pivotal scene from the final Harry Potter book and film

· Stroll along the streets of Diagon Alley and stop inside well-known shops like Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Magical Menagerie and Quality Quidditch Supplies

· Experience the darker side of magic in Knockturn Alley

· Witness the magical experience of a wand choosing a wizard at Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC

· And more!

And, just like in the books and films, guests can ride the iconic Hogwarts Express to travel between King’s Cross Station in Universal Studios and Hogsmeade Station in Islands of Adventure. The scenic, breathtaking journey will transport guests through the British countryside as they encounter magical creatures and familiar Harry Potter characters.

In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, which opened in 2010 at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, guests can experience Hogsmeade village and Hogwarts castle – which houses the groundbreaking Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction.

To book a vacation package, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com. For additional information about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com/HarryPotter.

Healthy pet treats from Halo

Halo 1

Samples provided for review.

I recently adopted a cat from a local rescue organization. I spent weeks preparing and planning for her arrival, getting all kinds of toys and treats. Here’s a small corner of what my apartment now looks like.

halo cat (2)

However, I knew that simply getting toys and a ridiculously good name (Purrtrude Feline, after author Gertrude Stein) was not enough. I also wanted to think about her long-term health.

halo cat (1)

Enter Halo Pet Food. They only use all natural ingredients, fiber from fruits and vegetables, and no artificial flavors or colors. This ensures that your pet stays trim and healthy, and isn’t eating empty calories from fillers like corn, wheat, or sugar.

halo cat (3)

The Healthsome Seafood cat treats interested me in particular — they’re small and crunchy, to help keep cats’ teeth clean. Poor Purrtrude has some dental problems — that’s what happens when you’re a street cat for a few years! — and so needs to make sure her canines stay in good repair.

halo cat (6)

Yes, but how does it taste? As you can see, Purrtrude enjoyed chowing down on a small handful.

halo cat (4)

She’s still a bit skittish around new people, and so I plan on using the Seafood treats to help socialize her around visitors. That way, she can feel more comfortable around guests — and I can rest easy, knowing that even when she’s snacking, she’s eating right.

Halo Healthsome Seafood cat treats are available on Chewy.com for $3.79. And don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

New Details About Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Check out the brand new info just released this morning on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, coming soon to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

HP and the Escape from Gringotts 2

HP and the Escape from Gringotts 2

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 13, 2014) – Today, Universal Orlando Resort revealed details about Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – the revolutionary attraction found in the heart of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. The Grand Opening date for the spectacularly themed environment will be announced at a later date.

Imagine being part of the iconic moment from the Harry Potter film series where Harry, Ron and Hermione break into one of the most guarded places in the wizarding world – Gringotts bank – to retrieve a magical object that will help defeat Lord Voldemort. You’ve seen the action on-screen, and now you get to be part of it.

Universal’s creative team worked hand-in-hand with Stuart Craig and his production team from the Harry Potter films to immerse guests in this pivotal scene from the final Harry Potter book and film.

During an action-packed, fully-immersive journey on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, you will:

· Marvel at the 60-foot, fire-breathing Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon atop Gringotts Wizarding Bank

· Tour Gringotts bank and pass through the marble hall where you’ll see goblins hard at work

· Race through a labyrinth of underground Gringotts vaults

· Encounter the villainous Death Eater, Bellatrix Lestrange, as she attempts to send you to your doom

· Come face to face with He Who Must Not Be Named

· Experience even more mind-blowing moments

The multi-dimensional, multi-sensory attraction, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, will revolutionize theme park entertainment. This next generation thrill ride seamlessly integrates a compilation of the most innovative technology ever created, 360-degree themed sets, 4K digital high-definition animation, state-of-the-art 3-D Infitec projection systems and live special effects with beloved characters and breathtaking moments from the Harry Potter books and films.

“Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts will change the way you think about theme park attractions,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. “We’ve created an entirely new type of ride that propels guests into the story like never before, and guests will remember it long after their visit to Diagon Alley.”

CLICK HERE to watch a video with more details about Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will bring even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life. The new area will double the size of the sweeping land already found at Universal Orlando, expanding the spectacularly themed environment across both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Inside the land, guests will enjoy themed shops, dining experiences and the groundbreaking thrill ride – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

For additional information about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com/WizardingWorld.