Archives for December 2013

Let’s Be Facebook Friends and Start a Community of Awesome

When I met Jenny Lawson, I was nervous as hell. But before I met her, she read an excerpt from her book and then opened a little Q&A. People seemed just as afraid to stand up and ask a question as me, but I did it.

I asked her what tips she would give to bloggers who are just getting started. And you know what she said?

Create your own community. Build a support system of bloggers and readers. Support other bloggers.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

Recently, I decided that I had had it up to HERE with Facebook’s page nonsense.

1350ish people like my Quirky Chrissy Facebook page. In the last month, do you know how many of them saw posts I created? Maybe like 100. And that’s being generous. Some posts were lucky to get 10 views.

I like about 50 or so Facebook pages, maybe even more. I wouldn’t know because I never see them in my newsfeed. You know what I do see in my newsfeed? Ads. Ads for pages that MY FRIENDS like. Ads for shit I could care less about. Just because I have friends with babies and dogs does not mean that I want to see posts from companies who cater to moms (of babies and dogs).

Why all of this nonsense? Because Facebook doesn’t know how else to make money. So they bully us little people. The bloggers. The small business owners. The freelancers. Buy our advertising and your fans can see your shit again.

Fuck you, Facebook.

Fuck you Facebook PagesI’m joining a slew of others who’ve already migrated to a full-fledged Facebook profile for their blog or business. And you know what? I’m excited.

Friend me on Facebook. Or follow me if you’d prefer not to share your own personal profile. Not only will I be able to share with you my thoughts and posts, but also you can share with me, and most importantly, we’ll be able to interact with each other. I want to encourage conversation and entertainment.

Because I’ve built it up, and you never know what will happen, I’m going to keep my Facebook page, but if you really want to be a part of this awesome bloggy blog world, join me on Facebook. Let’s BE a community. Whether you’re a blogger or just a blog reader, we can make this what we want it to be!

What do you think? Are you going to join my mini-revolution? Because you totally should!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night! Also, the Best Secret Santa Stuff on the Planet.

Merry Christmas Blog Friends!

I hope that Santa brought you everything you hoped for this year. Santa (AKA me) wrapped up extra just in case presents for me (AKA myself) because they were awesome and inexpensive…and I unwrapped those this morning along with delightful gifts from my wonderful boyfriend. </shmoop>

Brian totally laughed at my heartfelt and humorous attempt at pinning our relationship down with lots of cheese in a personalized book. 

But really, home life Santas and Christmas joy aside, I’m here to tell you about my office Secret Santa project and all the amusement that came from it. In pictures, since it’s a holiday and you’ve got Christmas to enjoy.

My boss’ Secret Santa brought him a Santa PJ Suit, stuffed it with newspaper and set it at his desk. He took it really well.

My Secret Santa was AWESOME. Booze. Chocolate and…a special surprise!

2013-12-20 09.55.23We did a 2-3 present Secret Santa game all week, where surprises randomly showed up when you least expected it. The reveal was to happen at our CEO (Chief Entertainment Officer–that’s me) pot luck team holiday lunch.

Everyone kept telling me who they had and I STILL couldn’t figure out my Secret Santa. And my person couldn’t figure me out at all, even though a few other people thought I was their Santa. But I was stealthy. I had the front desk girl e-mail my recipient each day I had a present for her!

I’m really lucky to have such fun co-workers. And I certainly had a pretty great Secret Santa. And so did my boss. Ho Ho Ho!

What was your favorite part of the holiday season this year?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Christmas Party Favors for Everyone!

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

I wanted to stop in before my annual Polish Christmas Eve festivities begin and give you one of my favorite new traditions…that I just started THIS year.

Every year for as long as I can remember, I’ve hosted holiday parties. I had to sucker my mom into letting me do it for many of those years, so when Brian and I moved into our little apartment of joy last November, I consider that the first official party.

This year, I wanted to offer my guests party favors, as many people come carting home baked cookies and bottles of wine (which they ABSOLUTELY do NOT have to do, but it’s what people do.) So I made a plethora of my DIY Scrabble ornaments for everyone, placed them on a mini Christmas tree and made a sign explaining that the ornaments were favors for them to take home. I used pastels and fancy paper for the sign, despite the crayon look!

Guests went home with presents and I made good like Clark Griswold with the hap hap happiest Christmas party since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny Fucking Kaye.

Every year, I’ll make a new homemade craft to share with my guests. Sweet idea, right?

What do you think of my crafty little idea? What did you do this Christmas that you hadn’t done before?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

This Post is Not About Christmas. Sort of. But There Is a Sort of Lentil Soup Recipe.

So last night, Brian and I walked into the apartment around 11 PM, having left around 3 PM to go see American Hustle (really good btw) with our delightful old roommate. Former. Not actually “OLD.” As in age. DUH.

We had planned on Christmas shopping before or after the movie. And by we, I mean me. And by Christmas shopping, I mean I would go into the stores. Brian would drive the vehicle and sit in the car talking to his dad on the phone or listening to an audiobook. This plan really worked out well.

But we also decided to have dinner with Anna. At my fave restaurant, Greek Islands-YUM. And then shopping didn’t ensue until 9ish.

So when we got home to the smell of…well…food cooking, we were both quite surprised.

Until Brian looked over at the Crock Pot corner and said, there’s food in there.

Apparently I have bad luck making lentil soup, because I had completely forgotten that I threw a bunch of party leftovers into the Crock Pot to make lentil soup.

The last time I tried to make lentil soup, Brian came home to a disgusting, smelly, burnt mess in the Crock Pot (because I was out for the night–had made him “dinner”).

LUCKILY, this time, it wasn’t a total disaster, because the soup was FLIPPING delicious. It had just completely fallen off my radar. But that’s okay. Because it was full of flavor and joy.

Recipe (without a picture-because I can’t figure out how to make lentil soup not look like vomit. Instead, you’ll get a picture of the party food table-minus the veggies, because those were in a separate spot.)

Holiday display

Party Leftover Lentil Soup Recipe

  • 1 leftover previously cooked spiral cut ham on the bone
  • 1 cup leftover carrot slices, chopped
  • 10 leftover celery sticks, chopped
  • 5 leftover mini bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bag of lentils
  • 2 cans of chicken broth
  • 2 cans of water
  1. Toss all ingredients in the Crock Pot (or slow cooker brand of your choice)
  2. Forget about them for 8 hours
  3. Come home to the smell of delicious soup that you can pack up and eat tomorrow morning
  4. Remove the ham with tongs and a spoon (it’s going to be FALLING off the bone)
  5. Shred/slice ham, removing any excess fat and return to the soup
  6. Store or serve immediately–or eat it with a spoon right out of the Crock Pot

Have you had Crock Pot wins or fails because you forgot about them?

 

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Plague Hath Cometh

This is a completely nonsensical out of order blog post. You’ll have to deal with my fuzzy sick brain. #SorryNotSorry

I’ve been dying.

Since Monday, I’ve felt like death.

I’m also a moron who trudged her way into work for the last half of the day on Monday, even though I knew I was super sic, and then made my way to the bitterly cold Bears game thanks to my die hard Bears fan nature.

I KNOW.

But it was worth every minute of it. Because I was going to be sick regardless. And they only retire a jersey once. And it was Da Coach’s jersey. And I was there.

I was also freezing cold. And dying.

This was before the game started.

This was before the game started.

This was 20 minutes later. I'm in there somewhere.

This was 20 minutes later. I’m in there somewhere.

When I got home, my fever was 102.6. And I hadn’t had anything to eat all day. Tea, chicken broth, 7up and hot chocolate. No solid food.

And Brian seemed…upset.

Something about me. And stupidity. And health. And stupid football. Or something like that.

He doesn’t understand.

Then he kept waking me up and checking my temperature. I just wanted to sleep! Come to think of it, when he had bronchitis last week, I let him sleep!

Apparently, I forgot how debilitating the flu is.

And just a few months ago, I was talking about how silly the flu shot is and how I rarely get the flu anyways and how it makes you feel sick and I don’t think any of my excuses even matter anymore because I’m getting the fucking flu shot next year.

Brian got the flu shot. And he didn’t get my disease. Of course, he had his own bronchitis last week, which I didn’t get (thanks to my sinus infection and the antibiotics in my system).

Anyways, so I was off sick on Tuesday. Worked from home yesterday. Hopefully working from home one more day today to help me feel a bit stronger on my feet. I’m seriously like a child learning to walk. I tumble and stumble and fall all over our apartment. I’ve been walking like my 89 year old grandfather used to. And whining. A lot of whining.

I’m not a good sick person. At all.

Brian is kind of a saint for dealing with me. But only a little bit.

I just hope that the 4 hours I went into the office on Monday didn’t negatively affect my co-workers. Because I wouldn’t wish this shit on anyone.

Have you gotten the bronchitis or flu that’s going around? Are you dying, too? Or are you one of those lucky people who just didn’t get sick with half the free world?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

How to Sneakily Wrap a Present

Brian. Don’t Read This One Either.

How to Sneakily Wrap a Present

Our first Christmas together, Brian spent an hour in my bedroom at my parents’ house on Christmas Eve wrapping my present. He found several different sized boxes in my wrapping station and even accidentally opened the glitter wrapping paper. Basically it was a wrapped present inside of a wrapped box inside of another wrapped box. My godson thought it was the funniest thing EVER. After the second one, he said, “Auntie Chrissy! I bet there’s another present in there!” Aaaaand there was. Actually there were 2 more wrapped boxes.

He started the battle and I made it a war. So I always wrap at least one present a hundred thousand times. Or 3. Whatever.

But the lightness of the book inside several boxes is still too light. So in the last box, I added leftover Halloween candy (Jolly Rancher suckers and boring Hershey bars. But not the good stuff. I ate the only remaining Kit Kat and Twizzlers.) That way, there will be added weight to the gift AND when he shakes it, it will sound like anything but a book. Which will add to the suspense!

Because, OBVIOUSLY, the first thing Brian asked when I told him his present was wrapped under the tree yesterday? “Can I shake it?”

And I said, “Yup.”

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Dear Brian, Don’t Read This One. Please? It’s a Product Review of Your Christmas Present.

Greetings Blog Friends!

Brian if you’re still here, you need to leave. Go read this post about my Christmas Wishlist instead.

Seriously.

Go.

Now.

OK, now. Where were we?

Oh right. Christmas gifts. I was recently contacted by a unique company called Heartfelt Books to try out and review their very cool product. As you well know, all opinions are completely my own, but the book I received was free.

Instead of spending hours organizing photos and creating collages for a photo book, they offer you the chance to create a special keepsake book for the people closest to you. With WORDS, y’all. You know how much I love words, especially words like “cheese.”

By asking simple questions, Heartfelt Books works with you to design unique and personalized gifts for your favorite person or people. Obviously, my favorite person on the planet is Brian…and so I made a Heartfelt Book for him. The site was SUPER easy to use, and they offer a variety of options for friends, family and significant others. I chose a gold foil embossed heart design, but there are others available as well. The book is hardbound, so the quality is much like a fancy journal.

Heartfelt Books gold foil heart book

One of the things I liked most about the Heartfelt Books was that even though they offer a variety of types of questions (including short response, long response, multiple choice, and fill in the blank), you have the free reign to be completely creative with your answers. I, of course, had a lot of fun with an uber cheesy declaration of my adoration of Brian. But I think he’ll laugh. And cherish it. As well he should. I’ll let you take a peek into some of the pages I created for him.

Heartfelt Books dedication page

Heartfelt Books Review

Heartfelt Books short response Heartfelt Books long response Heartfelt Books long response questions Heartfelt Books Review Heartfelt Books Review Heartfelt Books ReviewHeartfelt Books create your own

Obviously, I filled the book with cheese. Both shmoopy love cheese and actual real delicious edible cheese. But only in words, not physical cheese. That would be…well I can’t say gross because nothing involving cheese is gross…Oh just go with it.

As you can see, the book has a single page for each response. My book is about 40 pages, because the back of each page is a simple and elegant design. I think that based on my responses (and there are other pages, I only showed you some of them…Don’t be greedy. Some of this has to be a surprise for Brian.)

Heartfelt Books also offers professional editing (to make sure your grammar is perfect like mine) for only $10. They can even ship as soon as the day you make it, depending on what time you complete your order.

So once I took all of the pictures I needed…it was time to wrap it and put it under the tree.

2013-12-07 09.28.10

Blog Friends, what do you think of Heartfelt Books? Is this something you would make for your love or your bff?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

All I Want for Christmas is You? A Random and Ridiculous Christmas Wishlist

Okay. That’s a total lie. But this is the 2013 Christmas list of things you should buy for the people you love.

Last year, I offered you my Christmas wishlist and I didn’t get ANYTHING from it, BRIAN. But I did get a Keurig. And it was wonderful. And just this morning I was obsessively organizing all of my K-cups like a good little OCD gal. So it all worked out in the end.

This year, I’m not putting out a Christmas list for myself…except for the toy dinosaurs.

Because there’s really not a lot that I need, and very little that I want, I thought it would be fun to offer a list of things that we can all appreciate. And that you should want too. Because the following items are awesome. Or I really like the person who makes them and am sharing their awesome with you. Or both. Obviously.

OKAY FINE. Aside from the dinosaurs… this list of gifts comes from people I know and love.

If you’re Brian, you’ve been redirected here because I don’t want you to see your Christmas present. Obviously.

Oh and on a side note, for those of you waiting patiently for a Christmas card from Brian and I…there’s been some sickness going around that has deterred us from a proper photoshoot, so they will be coming closer to Christmas time. That also means if you haven’t e-mailed me your address, you can still get a Christmas card (and possibly a surprise Scrabble ornament) from yours truly.

The Random and Ridiculous Christmas Wishlist

Because you know you want this stuff!

Toy Dinosaurs

OK, this one isn’t for you. It’s for me. I really want a bunch of toy dinosaurs of varying sizes. Please don’t ask me why. I don’t want you to steal my brilliant idea. And I do have. A. Brilliant. Idea. Trust me on this one.

Anything from Dome Life Studios

Lillian Connelly makes whimsical jewelry, original paintings and prints, and so much more! Below, you can see yours truly modeling one of the unique and beautiful necklaces. You want her stuff. You know you do.

Cool Wall Art

Simply Shelli is a new Etsy seller with this really cool hand painted wall art. Ok, and she’s my college Mama.

Wonderful World

Fancy Pants Quilts

Nicole Maroon, The Girl Who Quilts offers unique and beautiful handmade quilts, pillows and bags on her Etsy store. You’ll seriously love them.

The girl who quilts

Random Gifts for Everyone!

I couldn’t have a wishlist post without sharing my own Zazzle store…where you can find Brian’s art. And silly things I say. All in one place. There are new items coming this week, so check back later as well!

I feel bitchy tee shirt Imagination Takes Flight

Do you have a small business online? Etsy? Zazzle? Deviant Art? Share it in the comments section!

What do you think Blog Friends? Cool stuff right?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Walt Disney in Chicago – I Think I’m Going to Cry (Happy Tears, Guys)

Roy and Walt Disney’s  birth home, right here in Chicago, is about to be restored and transformed in an private historic museum-type community place designed to enhance and explore childhood creativity.

This may be one of the happiest days of my life.

Happy birthday Walt Disney

Oh, and today is Walt Disney’s birthday.

This afternoon, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaimed today, December 5, 2013, Walt Disney Day in Chicago. 112 year ago, one of the most creative minds of our lifetime was born in the second floor of that home, designed by Flora Disney and built by Elias Disney.

You may or may not know that I’m a little bit Disney crazy. Or a lot bit Disney crazy. I guess it depends on your perspective. And how much time you spend with me. And really if you live with me at all. The creative genius behind Disney makes me cry happy tears just thinking about it.

One Man’s Dream is one of my favorite attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (nee MGM), where I learned about Disney’s creativity, imagination, and ingenuity. His work inspires millions of children and adults every day.

So when I received an e-mail about the press conference at 2156 N. Tripp Ave., I couldn’t very well say “no,” this time. Of course, knowing that something special would be happening today, on Disney’s birthday, before I knew what the purpose of the press conference was…I imagined life living mere miles from the newest Disney park. Brian, of course, told me it was completely illogical. Dream Crusher.

But a museum and preserved home are a close second. And I was present at today’s groundbreaking press conference.

Walt Disney Birthplace Restoration

Dina Benadon and Brent Young of Los Angeles purchased the home with the intent to restore it to its original splendor and turn it into a museum that will encourage children to be the creative innovators that Roy and Walt Disney were.

Dina Benadon and Brent Young

Dina Benadon, Brent Young and their 3-year-old son

With the support of Roy P. Disney, the grandson of Roy and great nephew of Walt, Benadon and Young are launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise $500,000 for restoration and renovation of the Chicago Disney home.

The Walt Disney Birthplace

An artistic rendering of the future historical preservation site

Today, on the 112th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth, the couple joined Alderman Rey Colon, William Delgado (Illinois State Senator), Betsy Steinberg (Director of the Illinois Film Office), Charles Pipal (Preservation architect), Tim Samuelson (Chicago Cultural Historian), Timothy Barton (Zoning Historic Preservation consultant), and the 4th grade class of William Nixon Elementary School.

William P. Nixon Elementary

The kids sang Happy Birthday to Disney before cutting into a large cake baked by Chicago’s TipsyCake, shaped like Walt Disney’s birth home.

Walt Disney Birthplace Cake

You can find out more about The Walt Disney Birthplace Restoration by checking out their website.

Videos from the Walt Disney Birthplace restoration press conference




Walt Disney inspires me every single day. Who inspires you?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Importance of Learning to Say “No”

I have always been a “yes” girl.

I feel guilty saying, “no.”

I feel guilty saying, “no,” so I say, “yes.” And then I find myself overbooked, overwhelmed and over-anxious. I work a full time job. I work more than 40 hours a week. I commute 10 hours a week. Which means that I’m gone for almost 12 hours a day. 5 days a week.

And then I come home. And I blog. Because I love you guys. I love the community that we’ve built. I love sending you thoughtful messages and chatting with you. I love reading other blogs, and participating in other communities.

But it can get overwhelming.

All of it.

Two weeks ago, I was offered a semi-promotion. One that wouldn’t change my title or my pay just yet, but the opportunity to move up to an official manager would quickly be in my sights. I would have direct reports. I would be responsible for the work of two other very talented people.

And I said, “no.”

I said this, not because I wasn’t ready for the position, but because I wasn’t ready for the additional demands on my personal life. I believe in a solid work-life balance, and I’m still working out the kinks in this one. I don’t want to live to work. I work to live.

Of course, I also feel that I have a lot more professional development to work on as a senior copywriter. I want to remain a mentor to newer team members, but I don’t want to be a manager. I want to be a peer. I want to learn from my peers. I want to build on my knowledge as a writer, and not a manager.

So, I said, “no.”

And it wasn’t the last time I said, “no” in the last few weeks. I also said no to social engagements, when I needed a break. It’s hard to stay home when people want you to join them for fun and laughter, but sometimes you just need to stay in and read an entire trilogy of books. And rearrange your cabinets. And give away all of your storage containers to make room for the ridiculous amount of Pyrex and Pfaltzgraff that you bought on Black Friday. Because that’s just what you do when you need a break.

You find joy and laughter in the things that help you relax. For me, it’s reading and rearranging. What helps you relax? Do you have problems saying, “no” too? Tell me about it, Blog Friends.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!