That One Time I Stole my Best Friend’s Car

Where do I begin?

Huzzah Valley Float TripI guess I’ll start at the beginning…with the float trip. When I was a noob adult, fresh out of college, I would spend a long weekend in the summer with a large group of country boys from Central Illinois and college friends. It started small with about 15 people, but by my last year, it was up in the high 40s. We’d caravan down from Chicago to Missouri in a snowball fashion, picking up more cars along the way.

We had walkie talkie communication between cars, as this was before the days when everyone had a reliable cell phone with unlimited mobile to mobile talk time, back when roaming was expensive and people could go off the grid for whole weekends without Facebook or MySpace or whatever it was that we used. Nobody went into withdrawal or anything either. It was nice. And entertaining. We’d pass each other on the road and make commentary on the other cars/people we were passing.

We’d drink, camp, drink, eat, drink, swim in the river, drink in the river, float down the river, drink on the rafts that float down the river…and so on and so forth listening to country music all weekend long. Basically, we spent an entire weekend hammered, eating breakfasts of Beerios (Cheerios in beer when milk was scarce) and lunches of Pringles and jello shots.

One such float trip, I convinced my dear friend Mark (name changed to protect the innocent) to come along. Little did I know, he hated camping. Drinking, he loved, but when the opportunity to sleep in a bed jumped at him after night one, he was all, PEACE OUT BITCHES.

His best buddy from high school lived close to our campsite and he spent half the weekend with him. Which would have been fine if he returned to the campsite before everyone else had left.

One of my girlfriends and I had ridden down with him from Chicago and on Sunday morning, as everyone else packed up their stuff and rolled out of town, we sat there. Waiting for Mark. The last man standing, the guy who organized the trip stuck around with us for a while longer, waiting for Mark’s imminent return…but it wasn’t happening. We tried to call him, but the campsite was getting zero reception for our phones. The other guy was ready to leave. And we were two twenty-something girls in the middle of Missouri. This was a bad horror movie waiting to happen.

So we did the only logical thing we could think to do. We got into Mark’s car and started driving. The plan was to go somewhere with phone reception (and people in a public place), call Mark and wait.

Except that Mark was driving past us with his friend and kind of freaked out when he say his car.

There was some serious yelling. On both sides. I was clearly pissed that he would leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere, and he was pissed that I “stole his car.” I mean, to be perfectly honest, I can’t blame him. My driving record at the time wasn’t the greatest…To say that the 6 hour ride home was stilted and awkward was an understatement. Sometimes, I wonder how he still loves me. But the best kind of friends forgive, I guess.

Have you ever done anything really crazy and really pissed off your best friend? What’s the worst fight you’ve ever had with a friend?

The Ponytail Hack Every Girl Should Know

You guys. This weekend I stumbled across an amazing hair hack. And then I skeptically tried it. And it flippin’ rocked.

You can create a long luscious ponytail without the use of extensions or fancy hair products.

If you remember back in the spring, I chopped the fuck out of my hair. It was all bobby and kind of adorable, but pretty much the shortest my hair has ever been. So it’s growing like a weed, but still not quite long enough for a perfect ponytail. I always have a few stray hairs falling down (especially from the cowlick at the base of my hairline).

When I saw this little trick, I thought to myself, yeah. Right. Like that’s going to work.

But to my complete surprise on Monday morning (almost as complete a surprise as me waking up at 7 am and having 10 minutes to make myself presentable and get my ass to the car), it worked. Quickly. Which is great because I didn’t have time to shower (whoops!), and the dry shampoo I ordered from Julep hasn’t arrived yet.

All you have to do is pull a decent chunk of hair into a half ponytail at the crown of your head (as neat or messy as you like – I certainly wouldn’t judge). Then, clipping the pony away from your head (and really, who am I kidding? I just pushed that shit out of my way with one hand), pull the remaining hair into a second ponytail an inch or two below the higher pony.

You can create a long luscious ponytail without the use of extensions or fancy hair products.

You REALLY can’t tell the voodoo magic below the higher ponytail. I made my ponytail look longer and fancier (well, okay, not so much fancier).

In the car, I asked Brian if he could see the second ponytail, and he had no idea what I was talking about. He gave me that , is this one of your loony toons morning discussions again, CHRISSY? Because I’m not getting trapped into talking about your hair…again, looks.

So I showed him what I meant and his response was, “Weird.”

I figured I’d take it to an expert and asked my coworker/cube buddy when I got into work.

“Do you like my ponytail?” (Thankfully, the lovely buddy that sits next to me doesn’t think I’m crazy and accepts that I ask random questions on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.)

“Did you get extensions? It looks longer.”

And THAT, my friends, is what we call a sweet little success.

What do you do to speed up your morning process? What hair hacks do you have? Do you think this would work for your hair?

I Accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge. Will You?

While the ice bucket challenge seems like all fun and games with adorable videos from Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner and hilarious videos from Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters, this is a very real cause.

When it first started trickling around my corner of the internet, I wasn’t really sure what was going on, because I saw more negativity than anything else. People bashing it for not being a good campaign.

Except…

Well…it’s a great campaign. You donate money to ALSA. Whether or not you dump a bucket of ice water over your head. You donate money. To a noble cause. This is raising awareness AND money. In my video, I challenged a few bloggers, but here, I am challenging you. Whether you choose to dump a bucket of ice water (or a bucket of water with about 8 ice cubes) over your head or not. I challenge you to go read about ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). And donate if you have the means. By the way, I have fancy analytics in the back end of this here website, so I know if you’re clicking that link above. So click the link.

ALS Challenge

As I prepared for the challenge, I put ice into the bucket and started filling it with water. And it started getting soapy. So I had to dump it all out and try again.

And again.

And again. Until there was no soap that would go in my eyes…And only a few pieces of ice. But I did it. As far as the sirens going off in the background…I didn’t do it. I swear.

Crazy things I’ve done as mentioned in the video:

Sat in the snow in below zero windchill

Ran into Lake Michigan in the middle of March

Had a cooler of ice water dumped on me

Have you accepted the ice bucket challenge yet? If you haven’t been challenged, consider this your challenge. Will you support ALS research?

5 Reasons Childless Adults Love Back-to-School Season

If you’re new here, you may not know I don’t have tiny humans of my own. Yet. And probably not yet for a while. But I probably get just as excited for back-to-school as the moms out there. Obviously for different reasons, but excited nonetheless. Of course, it was even more exciting when I was a server/bartender/retail associate because I wasn’t always working during the day.

5 Reasons Childless Adults Love Back to School Season

1. The train is just a little less crowded

In the summer, the commute can fill up with people who don’t know the drill. Families and teens on their own flood the city to visit the beach, summer festivals, museums, shopping and more. Most of the time, this is no big deal, but there’s always that one random occurrence that really irritates the daily commuters.

2. I can relax in the park on my lunch hour

I work three blocks from Millennium Park in Chicago. In the summer, it’s swarmed with teens in high-waisted short shorts and crop tops. Sure, there may be the sporadic field trip to The Bean or a couple tourists, but the mass exodus of the parent-less hormonal teens at the end of summer sets my heart a flutter.

3. Tourism dwindles

Every year as summer begins and the hoards of local and exotic tourists descend upon Chicago, trolling up and down State Street, outside the building where I work. I look at these people and scream in my head, “Where were you when the temperature was well below zero?!” So when they go away, and there are fewer people in my way as I head to/from lunch and work? Ecstatic doesn’t begin to cover it.

4. Vacations

While I’m all vacationed out for the year,  this os the absolute best time for childless people to hit up the great vacation spots typically overrun with kids and families. Brian and I visited Disney World the week  after Labor Day a couple years ago and it was AMAZING. If I could plan all of my vacations during this time, I totally would!

5. Matinees

I don’t get to experience this nearly as much as I did when I wasn’t working a 9-5, but oh my GOD did I love going to matinees after the kids went back to school! Empty theaters all to myself at the lower price! Glorious.

Are you looking forward to the kids going back to school? What reasons do you have? Do you have kids or are you without them like me?

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Nerds!

Good afternoon Blog Friends!

I have returned from Indianapolis with about 10% of the games and things that I wanted to purchase (while still finding a few gems and winning a few sweet freebies.)

Gen Con Games
The Spoils

I can’t wait to pop these babies, ESPECIALLY the Firefly expansion. Of course, I also can’t wait to have a house to display my ridiculous game collection in one beautiful game library so I’ve decided this is the week we’re going to find our house.

All that aside, it’s time for the Gen Con recap.

We, along with 50,000 or so other nerds, geeks, and gamers, descended upon Indianapolis for 4 days of unadulterated gaming.

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What I wore to Gen Con

As with most nerd cons, it’s important to show off your finest geekery. I opted for two days of total geek chic and two days of comfort. Yoga pants dominated on the days that involved driving. But I’m pretty proud of the two full days’ ensembles.

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Spreadshirt Sloth Tee

On Friday, I busted out my brand new sloth tee from Spreadshirt. This shirt was sent to me so that I could tell you how awesome they are. I was actually super impressed with several things that Spreadshirt printed shirts had to offer. First, the collection of tees and designs are pretty vast. I went to the site looking for the perfect shirt to wear to Gen Con. I knew I found it when I saw the big happy sloth who definitely doesn’t run.

Sloth t-shirt
Ironically, Brian really did want to nap instead…and I wanted to get to Gen Con OMGASAPNEEDNEEDNEED.

The shirt took just a few days to ship – two to be exact. Unlike other make-your-own printed stuff sites, I received this shirt in less than a week from the shipping date. Just in time for Gen Con.

The best part about Spreadshirt was the customer service. Each step of the process came with an e-mail letting me know when my shirt would arrive and I received a final feedback request that felt personalized. It was a great experience.

As far as the shirt? I ordered a woman’s V-neck XL. I would order a different style/size next time, as I felt the shirt was a little short for me. Otherwise it was comfy and soft. And got a TON of compliments from other gamers.

TARDIS dress

As I scoured the mall looking for another tee to wear, I stumbled across this dress that pretty much made my day. And FIT ME.

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Upon entering the con that day, I immediately found my Dalek foe and went to wreak havoc on him for existing. Unfortunately, there was no chatting with a Dalek this year.

I did think it was super interesting, as I had never been in one place where so many people were wearing the exact same thing as me (and I went to Cheer Camp!).

On Wil Wheaton

Man! How cool would it be to be as cool as Wil Wheaton?! These are just a few things I saw:

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I failed to purposely accidentally run into him again, but I think I’d be so nervous if I did, I wouldn’t say anything at all.

The Games

I love demoing games. I love demoing games at Gen Con. I didn’t get to play nearly as many games as I would have liked, but here are a few that really stood out to me.

Alpha Bandits

Alpha BanditsThis game from Wiggity Bang Games  was just funded on Kickstarter last month. I love the colors of the tiles, but the play of the game is really fun. It relies on creating words for points, but also sneakily changing up your opponents’ words and ending the round to garner the most points. It’s a really great word game for anyone who loves them some Scrabble/Words With Friends. I actually have a demo print and play version of the game already, but it’s still on my list of to-buy games when it comes out in a few months. Especially since this wordsmith kicked the game designer’s butt in a demo game!

Of course, because I beat the designer, I won a different game from Wiggity Bang games, Mad Quao (which I also got signed by the designer). I’ll let you know how it goes.

Seven Wonders with the upcoming expansion

I love this game as a stand-alone game or with its current expansions, and I really enjoyed playing one part of the new expansion. Each of the add-ons in this expansion offer help and hindrances depending on how you play your game. The one we played added a group card that everyone needed to work together to achieve. With a success, everyone who helped received a sweet bonus and with a fail, anyone who didn’t help was punished (in the game people!)

Run for Your Life Candyman!

Oh. My. God. You should probably own this game. The premise is Candyland. But with the added slogan of Smirk & Dagger Games, “Games are a lot more fun when you can stab a friend in the back.” And it’s amazing. We played in a 2-hour tournament game at 11:00 pm. What made this especially fantastic was the gingerbread cookies and food coloring gel.

You can watch as my cookie, Taunty, slowly loses every part of himself. Playing this with a group of strangers was surprisingly awesome. We had a fantastic group and Smirk & Dagger makes this an amazing experience with their enthusiasm and super fun game.

We spent most of the game in a candy cage match where we basically just ripped at each other until everyone had someone else’s candy limbs. It was fantastic.

There was SO much more, but I figured all you needed was a small glimpse into this year’s Gen Con experience.

Have you ever been to a game or comic con? What’s your favorite board or card game?

Sometimes We Just Need a Reminder

Good morning, Blog Friends!

Brian and I are on our way to Gen Con right now. You may find me Twitterstalking Wil Wheaton or racing around Indianapolis playing ALL THE GAMES.

All Gen Con gaming joy nerd stalking aside, I’m sharing my view from here (which I guess isn’t here, like, Chicago-here, because right now it’s somewhere-between-Indianapolis-and-Chicago here, but the general premise is that it’s my view of my life which is in the Chicago suburbs and stuff) over at Dancing in the Rain today. So if you’re interested in reading about how Brian and I work through the tough stuff and the reminder that helps us daily, please go and check out my guest post A Life Full of Awesome.

I’m closing comments on this post so that you follow the internet rabbit hole and comment on my post at Jennifer’s blog home so that she thinks I’m cool. I’m really excited for you to read this one, so go check it out.

10 Things I Learned From Robin Williams Characters

My heart hurts today. I know that Robin Williams was not my personal friend, but he is one of the few actors who I spent the last 30ish years admiring and enjoying. I’m about to send myself on a serious Robin Williams movie marathon, starting with Dead Poet’s Society and working my way through as many nostalgic flicks that I can.

Photo from Eva Rinaldi
Photo from Eva Rinaldi

Interestingly enough, I was thinking about Mr. Williams on Sunday, when I posted an image with the phrase “carpe diem.” I meant it as a joke, but the message is still the same. Seize the day.

Robin Williams Carpe Diem Seize the Day

I thought it would be an apt tribute to discuss just some of the the very important life lessons that I learned from this Chicago native through his brilliant and beautiful character portrayals. Each role that he chose carefully crafted an epic view of the world as we know it, and it truly is magical when you combine them with each other.

  1. Words and ideas can change the world.
  2. Always keep windows open. Never ever ever close them.
  3. The bad days will remind you of the greatest pieces of your life.
  4. Be cautious and be daring and be wise.
  5. Find your happy thought and keep it in your heart for the days you need to fly.
  6. Seize the day.
  7. Families that have love are the ties that bind.
  8. Believe in magic and fairies and the power of love.
  9. Fight for your family.
  10. Humans are passionate. That is part of what makes us special.

And from the man himself, I was reminded of this:

Depression is real. The funniest, wisest person you know may be suffering deeply on the inside with little internal hope of escape. It may even be you. I encourage you to ask for help should you consider self-harm in any of its forms. As the very funny and very wise and often depressed Jenny Lawson reminds us, depression lies. Please don’t ever forget that. You are not alone.

The lack of negativity that I’ve seen in response to this tragedy is awe-inspiring. The world lost a bright light to the darkness, and the entire internet is hugging right now. Let this be a step toward the realization that there are many people who suffer from mental illness and they need support.

Go out there and seize the day, my friends. You only have this one life.

Were you as surprised and devastated as I was by the news of this wonderful comedian’s passing? What Robin Williams films, characters, or quotes resonate with you?

I Didn’t Even Go to Lollapalooza, but Still got to Encounter the Crazies

If you follow me on the media that is very social, you probably know that last weekend, some of our friends decided we should lock ourselves in a room with a zombie. You know…to practice for the inevitable. More on that later.

Of course, when you gather a group with 12 of your closest friends, scheduling becomes…slightly difficult. So we found one weekend this summer (that’s right, one) that worked for us. And we obviously needed to do this as immediately as possible. We opted for August 2. Gearing up with excitement, we quickly realized…Oh fuck. It’s the same weekend as Lollapalooza. And Bears Family Day. But mostly it was Lollapalooza. And did I mention that Trapped in a Room with a Zombie is RIGHT across the street from Lolla?

So it was.

Lollapalooza Crazies

Traintertainment

Four of us commuted into the city together via train because we’re commuters and that’s how we roll. (Fuck driving through swarms of teens in crop tops and high-waisted short shorts.) When we jumped on the train, it appeared that we were going to get some free entertainment from the guy in our train car with a guitar and a singing voice. And so we did.

In which I engaged in conversation with one of the crazies

After we got off the train, I was in need of a little something to cure my stomach ache, so we stopped at the nearest 7 Eleven (convenience store). Everyone waited outside for me, so I was on my own in this little establishment.

As I’m deciding what to get this chipper fellow in his mid to late twenties, clearly high as a kite, bounces into the 7 Eleven, grabs a couple cans of beer and heads to the register, where I got in line behind him. While I waited in line, I overheard him talking to the cashier.

“So…like…do you know anything about Lollapalooza?”

The cashier just kind of shakes his head and rings up his tall boys and smokes.

“Cuz like, I’m thinking about sneaking in.”

Here’s where I chime in with my goody two shoes. “I’ve heard that’s a bad idea.”

And then he started addressing me.

“Yeah, but like do you know if  there will be more cops than last year?”

“I have no idea.” “Because I heard it was pretty easy last year. I’m thinking I’ll just wait until it gets dark and hop the fence where no one’s looking. I don’t think the security can arrest you.”

“I wouldn’t be too sure of that.”

“Well this guy that I smoked with last year told me it was really easy to do and he did it.”

“Okay then…”

At that point, his purchase was rung up and the cashier was ringing me up. Then one of the two teenagers (a girl and a guy buying Arizona iced tea) behind me chimed in.

“Are you talking about Lollapalooza?”

The guy responds, “Yeah! I’m just going to sneak in.”

“Oh cool! That’s what WE’RE going to do too!”

Oh my fucking God. 

“You guys wanna come with me? I’ve got some beers.”

Oh my fucking God.

“Yeah! That sounds awesome.”

“Okay, so if we’re going to do this, we have to  do it right. I’m from Hinsdale (a rich suburb of Chicago) and my dad knows a lot of cops. So like, we should be able to get out of trouble and stuff. I’ve been in jail once, so we  have to do this right. Just follow my lead.”

At which point I walked outside, burst out laughing and walked half a block down before I could relay the conversation back to my peers.

Sometimes I’m a little crazy or clumsy. One of those.

We made our way to one of our (my) favorite loop eateries, Elephant and Castle (I don’t like to drink here, though because booze is expeeeeeeensive), where I became one of the crazies…when I broke the motherfucking toilet paper dispenser in the family bathroom. Broke the bathroom Broke the bathroom

Cool shoes, bro

After an hour locked in a room with a zombie, we realized that Lolla was ending and ending fast. We knew we needed to hightail it outta there before the crazies made it to the train… As we were walking back to the train, this random guy starts talking to no one in particular, but maybe me. I don’t actually know. “I’m so glad I didn’t wear sandals or boots, man. Like, these shoes are awesome.” At which point Brian walks up closer.  “Dude, these shoes are the BEST. It’s like walking on yoga mats, man. They were only $9.95! You should get a pair!” Walking on yoga mats, indeed. We hightailed it across the street in a jaywalking fashion that would have been weird if 3 of the 4 of us weren’t commuters who did it everyday. Although, maybe not weird, considering the number of unobservant Lolla kids who were drunk/stoned/high/didn’t give a shit. Probably that. Lolla had screwed up the train schedule, so our train was an hour later than we planned for and by the time we left the station, it was standing room only. I was pretty thrilled we had secured a seat, but less impressed with the drunk, half-naked teenagers standing next to us.

Do you go to big festival concerts? Have you been to Lollapalooza? What crazies have you encountered lately?

Sorry Not Sorry

I can’t put this book down.

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I have 4 half posts written and a book to finish reading. I’ll be back next week. Or tomorrow if I stay up all night to finish Ready Player One. One of those.

Have you read this book?

Vacation Fashion Fails

Good morning Blog Friends!

I thought today was as good a day as any to tell you of this year’s vacation fashion whoops moments…because I tend to have a lot of them.

I bought several new dresses and outfits to wear on our trip, as vacation seems to be my favorite time to get a new wardrobe. Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t fuck it all up every now and then.

The first fashion fail entails our drive out of San Francisco, which is a wonder since it seemed to take 2 whole days before wrecking myself. This dress was a try-it-on-three-times-before-deciding dress, as I wasn’t quite sure I wanted it. I probably should have left it at Forever 21.

We had been through a whirlwind morning in an almost-failed attempt to acquire a rental car that resulted in a $50 town car ride to the airport and a significantly cheaper car rental than you’d find in Downtown San Francisco. We figured the town car would be nicer than a cab ride and it was the same price.

Of course, I was donning one of my never-before worn dresses, feeling all sorts of fancy. Until I ripped it getting out of the car.

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As you can see, it’s a pretty bold and busy pattern, so you won’t notice that I continue to wear the dress even with a hole in it.

I’d like to tell you that this next fashion fail was a result of shot time with Pocketful of Joules, but I’d be lying.

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And since there is Instagramic proof that I was having problems with this dress from the beginning…you wouldn’t believe me anyways.

This dress was the dress I almost bought a house in. It started the vacation at my mom’s house, where after one wearing, I required a seam fix in the arm pit and a stain removal from that one time I thought it was a good idea to cook with oil while wearing a new dress and a few additional spills…from wearing it once. Mom fixed it up and delivered it to me the day of our flight to San Fran. Best. Mom. Ever.

It was probably bad luck to bring it along as it was, but I’m a big fan of living on the edge.

As you may have seen on Instagram, I had problems from the moment I put the dress on.
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The cutouts at the bottom of my dress were going to be the death of this dress. Somewhere between getting caught in the hair dryer cord and doing shots with Joules, my dress was ripped in q big way that Mama can’t fix…though she did offer to try.

Luckily, it’s a pretty flowy dress amd you can’t TOTALLY see where it’s ripped…so I’ll still be seen wearing it.

My final fashion fail wasn’t so much a rip or tear as it was poor planning on my part. I had planned to wear this saucy little black dress on a fancy dinner night with Brian…but things don’t work out the way you plan and it became my McDonald’s closing party duds.

It was strapless and practically backless, so wearing a bra wasn’t about to happen. Brian thought it looked spectacular, so I rolled out to meet with the Bloopies(a group of bloggers that I’m a part of).

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You can kind of see that the dress didn’t seem to be holding up as much as I would have liked…

Thankfully, I’m often surrounded by people who are smarter than me and one of these delightful women, the brilliant genius that is Lily Connelly, suggested that I use my scarf to hold the dress up after seeing my insecure struggle to keep it from giving all of BlogHer a free show.

So my fashion fail actually turned into a fashion hack, in which I wrapped the scarf through the center tie and back around my neck, thus keeping my boobs in place and out of sight.

Fashion hack: use a scarf to hold a strapless dress up. ALSO, this may be the nicest port-o-potty ever.
Fashion hack: use a scarf to hold a strapless dress up. ALSO, this may be the nicest port-o-potty ever.

Have you ever had a fashion fail? Do you rip holes in clothes as often as I do? What’s the best fashion hack you’ve discovered?