Archives for November 2014

Ladies and Gentleman, Meet Dark & Twisty Meredelf Grey, Our Elf on the Shelf

I never PLANNED to get an Elf on the Shelf. In fact, the first I ever heard of the damn thing was when a co-worker told me about Jen Mann from People I Want to Punch in the Throat being a hilarious mom blogger who wrote about the Elf on the Shelf. Until then, I was blissfully unaware.

After that point, I jumped into the elf judgement. The elf hatred. The oh-my-god-really-Santa-isn’t-good-enough-for-you-people judgy judgy bullshit. I swore I’d never get one. I planned a life without an elf. Even if tiny humans were to happen upon my world, it would be tough cookies for the kids, because their elf was still secretly hidden (and never coming out to spy visibly.) I was down with this plan. Until I wasn’t.

A Skypeversation with Katie

A Skypeversation with Katie

I still think the elf is SUPER creepy. But I kept thinking of all the fun I could have with the elf.

And so a few weeks ago, I went out and bought one. And then I took her home and put her on a shelf. And I thought about names for her… I wanted someone strong, and maybe a little sassy. So I came up with a little list of possible names for her.

Name ideas for your girl elf on the shelf

Grown-Up Names for Elf on the Shelf

Okay…Sort of grown-up names… *cough* kid at heart *cough*

Elizabelf Bennet. She won’t settle for less than love.

Princess Elfsa. She can build ice castles in her sleep.

Britnelf Spears. She’s stronger than yesterday…and she’ll probably do it again.

Katniss Elferdeen. She fights hard, and she’s not afraid to say no.

Jennifer Lawrelf. She might fall down a lot, but she’ll laugh with you about it.

Hillary Clintelf. Because she gets more flack than she deserves. And she’s a pretty strong lady.

Meredelf Grey. She’s stronger than she thinks, and she can really hold her tequila. Sold to the tequila drinking doctor with mommy issues who’s bad with sisters.

When I brought her out for the holidays, she BEGGED me to take her Black Friday shopping at the liquor store. She said tequila was on sale, and she just HAD to get a bottle. While I shopped for wine and whiskey, Meredelf scampered off to another aisle. I found her in the tequila aisle swooning.

Elf on the shelf at the liquor store Meredelf Grey loves tequila

I really had to drag her away from the booze, but we made it home safely, and sober. She was practically pleading with me to buy it. Unfortunately, I tapped my budget with other shit. I think she’s going to take it out on me. I’ve heard she’s really good at holding grudges.

Do you have an elf on the shelf? What did you name her (or him)? If you don’t have one, what would you name your elf?

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!

“Friendsgiving” is Stupid. We’ve Been Calling it Second Thanksgiving For Almost a Decade. And We Were There First. #StreamTeam

Thanksgiving is for giving thanks. Not giving friends.

Sheesh.

So I’ve mentioned Second Thanksgiving in the past when I told you about the hematoma on my butt. But I’ve been hearing the term, “friendsgiving,” a lot lately in regards to people throwing these “festive affairs” with cheap wine and instant mashed potatoes. Even the Netflix Stream Team is celebrating a discussion of “friendsgiving.” And people have started calling our 9-year tradition “friendsgiving.”

And I hate that.

friendsgiving is stupid

I hate it because that’s not what it is. It isn’t some hipster tradition that we just started doing in 2012 because we saw our favorite characters on TV celebrate Thanksgiving together as friends for years, but decided it needed a new name because Thanksgiving wasn’t good enough. The only place you can even find a definition of “friendsgiving” is on Urban Dictionary, which basically describes it as a subpar event where friends gather together the day before or the day after Thanksgiving to enjoy either leftovers or boxed wine and cheap dishes.

Did Jess and Schmidt re-name their Thanksgivings “friendsgiving?” No. (Okay, Schmidt may have decided on “bangsgiving” this year, but he’s dirty and ridiculous and it’s not REALLY a thing.)

Did Rory and Loralei head to “friendsgiving” with their people? No.

Did Ted and Marshall call it “friendsgiving?” Nope. (Fine, they had “slapsgiving.” Which was wicked and funny and not trying to MAKE A THING happen).

Go ahead! Celebrate the big Turkey Day with friends. Enjoy it. Watch a few Thanksgiving episodes of your favorite shows. Watch football.

I’ve heard people hosting and attending these “friendsgiving” dinners as early as the beginning of November. I’m sorry, what? That’s called a dinner party. If you’re going to host a Thanksgiving to celebrate with the family that you chose, instead of the family that you’re born into (or stuck with), do it the week of Thanksgiving. Or ON Thanksgiving. Last year, I attended 5 Thankgiving feasts. Five. And not one of them was called, “friendsgiving.” Because it’s stupid. We had work Thanksgiving, Pre-Thanksgiving, two family Thanksgivings and Second Thanksgiving. At all of these events, there was turkey. Ham. Homemade potatoes. Real vegetable dishes. Pie. Nothing was re-purposed leftovers. We made fresh, delicious food for each other. And celebrated a thankful day.

Second Thanksgiving may be a way to enjoy a turkey dinner with the family that you choose, but it’s not a cheap substitute for the real deal. It’s an equal. It’s powerful. No one’s fighting over what time to bring the turkey out. Dirty Uncle Jack isn’t flirting with your girlfriend. Crazy Cousin Maria isn’t drunk and picking fights. Grandma isn’t yelling at the little ones to sit down. It’s just friends. Drinking good wine, expensive beer, liquor-filled jello shots, and eating the best food that each attendee can prepare. We typically host it on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so we can even watch football as per Thanksgiving tradition.

My college friends and I started Second Thanksgiving after a discussion of our crazy (albeit lovable) families on the holidays. Nine years ago at my best friend’s apartment (the same best friend who’s car I stole a few years ago), back when I used to throw parties at other people’s homes. The first year was a potluck of epic proportions, but the second year became a full turkey dinner because I wasn’t going to have a real Thanksgiving with my family (one day, I’ll tell you about that). And I wanted a real Thanksgiving.

This is a picture of everyone who attended the second annual Second Thanksgiving in my best friend's one-bedroom apartment. While he was in Australia.

This is a picture of everyone who attended the second annual Second Thanksgiving in my best friend’s one-bedroom apartment. While he was in Australia.

For nine years, I’ve hoped to one day host out of my kitchen. This year is the first year that I can host Second Thanksgiving in my own home. All my Clark Griswold dreams are coming true.

So tell me, Blog Friends, do you have a Thanksgiving with your friends? Do you call it “friendsgiving?” If you don’t, what do you call it? Would you have a Thanksgiving with friends?

This post is brought to you by the fine people at Netflix. As a member of the Netflix Stream Team, I was given a free year of Netflix along with some other sweet perks. Prior to joining the Stream Team, I had a Netflix subscription of my own accord. Because Netflix is awesome. And no one paid me to say that. 

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!

Quirky Chrissy’s Adult (Not DIRTY Adult – Just Grown-Up Adult You Sicko) Holiday Gift Guide Extravaganza!

Shopping for kiddos is easy. Shopping for grown ups? Not so much. As adults, we tend to buy what we want when we want it. Okay, Brian and I do, anyways. So from November 1 through December 25, Brian is under a strict no-purchase rule, as he has, on more than one occasion, bought what I was planning to buy him for Christmas/birthday/etc.  But I’ve crossed paths with several really fun and unique gift ideas (okay and some tried-and-true ideas too) that you can steal (don’t actually steal the products, homies – just steal my ideas) to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Okay, fine. Everyone above the age of 12. And in some cases the age of 21. I’m not encouraging illegal gift giving here, people.

Holiday Gift Guide

The Best Gifts for Him

I may not be a dude, but I’ve got a dude in my life who is REALLY flippin’ hard to shop for. Last year I made him a romantical (slightly funny) book of looooooove swoon and he actually really loved it. He’s sentimental like that. Here are a few top picks from Brian (okay fine. I added a few of my own too, since he was mostly unhelpful…Amazon gift cards are not PRESENTS Brian.

Wireless, keyboardless keyboard

Brian was a big fan of this gift I got him for his birthday. It’s gadgety and techy and cool. It works pretty well too! My cousin sent me a link showing me how sweet it was, and I knew that was exactly what I needed to get for Brian. We’ve used it for the internetty stuff we do on the TV, because it’s way easier than trying to navigate with the regular remote.

ThinkGeek Goodies

Brian suggested shopping around ThinkGeek for cool stuff. If you’re like me, and hoard Amazon gift cards from the internet, you can find a bunch of Think Geek products available on that big box digital retailer of joy. Plus free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime. Please note, Brian also suggested Amazon gift cards as gifts. I only half acknowledged that. Because I prefer to find the best presents for the people.

 

The Best Gifts for Her

Speaking as a lady, I’ve got some adorable ideas for lady gifts that I have, love or want. These are those.

Get Fit for the Holidays with terrific yoga gifts from YogaAccessories.com

Handmade art jewelry

My pal Lily makes the BEST art jewelry. With glass stones and alcohol ink, Lily creates one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces that any lady would be lucky to have. I have one of her pendants and always get the best compliments when I wear it! The prices at Dome Life Studio are also quite reasonable, so maybe pick one up for yourself, too.

Dome Life Studios Jewelry

Zazzle Home goodies

I LOVE Zazzle. I’ve actually bought Brian a ton of gifts from Zazzle (a couple of mugs with octopods and a really sweet wall clock for his zone in the office), but I recently had the opportunity to try out some of the Zazzle Home products and thought they were super awesome. Zazzle offered to send me a product of my choice from their home department.  I spent hours perusing the pillows, lamps, blankets and poufs. I eventually settled on the polka dot pouf beside my reading chair, and it was the perfect addition to our home.  Not only is it adorable and (sort of) matchy matchy with my polka dot blanket, but it served as additional seating when we had 64 people in our house a few weeks ago. It was easy to pull up to the circle and join the conversation, and it was comfortable too! It’s a little squishy, but mostly solid and ideal as a foot rest or seating. A few days after I received the pouf, I found myself scouring the pillow collection to see what else they had. I really wanted something with chevrons, so I got a pillow in the same colors, but with chevrons. I think it turned out pretty well, if I don’t say so myself.

Zazzle Home Pouf and Pillow (the blanket was already mine)

Zazzle Home Pouf and Pillow (the blanket was already mine)

The Zazzle Black Friday sales are happening all week. So check them out and use this code for super savings: ZWEEKOFDEALS

60% Off wrapped canvas, posters

50% Off wrapping paper, all cards, stickers, calendars

25% Off ornaments, bags, jewelry, speakers

$15 Off pillows, chocolate boxes, lamps, watches

20% Off all orders

FREE shipping with zBlack (I’ve been a zBlack member for several years now, and the free shipping is so worth it.)

And if you’re in the mood for some of Brian’s art on Zazzle products or you want some random and ridiculous things I’ve created in my Zazzle store, you should check out the Quirky Shop. Just make sure that your content filter (left navigation bar) is off. Because some of my designs are not appropriate for tiny humans. Like this flask inspired by The Bloggess.

Cunt flask

This doesn’t make me a bad person, right?

Gifts for Kids at Heart

If you’re like me (or your gift recipient is like me), these fun and lighthearted gifts will brighten their day in a way that only a child at heart can understand. From toys for grown ups to grown-up things featuring toys, you’re going to appreciate these epic finds as much as I have.

Fun Wall Art

I received a really fun canvas from Patents Wall Art in order to tell you about it. You guys! I couldn’t decide what to get. While there were some cool mechanical/sciency/adulty patents available on canvas, I opted for something a little more my style. My decision was wavering between Mickey and LEGO patents, and ultimately, I went with Mickey Mouse. Because Walt Disney is one of my creative heroes. And he created Mickey Mouse. With Patents Wall Art, you can choose any pattern in several different colors. My personal favorites were navy, green and natural. Ultimately, I went with the natural shade, so I could match it in any space (as we hadn’t bought our house or moved yet). Now it lives in my office nook, waiting to get hung on the wall. The product itself is pretty nice. The canvas comes mounted on wood and looks really cool in our office. I’m a fan.

Patents

Patents Wall Art

You can see it’s currently living beside my computer screen with my Disney pins and vision board.

Games

Last year, Brian stocked my up on Cards Against Humanity, Munchkin holiday cards and other choice gamer games. It made me happy. So I am an advocate for game gifts. I even put together a widget of games you should buy on Amazon. You’re welcome. You can find it here in the sidebar——————————————->

Of course, when I was at the ChiTAG Fair last week, I came across another adult game, that seems to be even more random and inappropriate that Cards Against Humanity. The game is called Utter Nonsense, and the logo is dudes without pants. I repeat. DUDES WITHOUT PANTS.

Utter Nonsense Game

So obviously, I bought it. They were recently funded on Kickstarter (LOVE KS) and are locally based out of Chicago.


The premise is simple: Read cards in funny voices to impress the rotating judge. You can paraphrase to match the voice of your chosen person/dialect/accent. For example, on Instagram, I spoke in my best Caveman voice(and I suck at Caveman), saying something about a photo app and math. Here. I’ll show you.

Playing the Instagram version of @utternonsensegame. #Cavemanspeak #nopantsgames #contest #stopjudgingme

A video posted by Quirky Chrissy (@quirkychrissy) on

Stocking Stuffers for Grown Ups

Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you don’t deserve your very own stocking chock full of goodies! As a teenager and adult living at home, Mom used to fill our stocking with the best stuff. Razors. Hair stuff. Beauty stuff. Candy. All the things you need or want, but don’t really want to pay for, amiright? Here are my picks for the best grown-up stocking stuffers this Christmas. Brian, take note.

Nail polish and makeup stocking stuffers

You all know about my Julep obsession, I’m sure. I’ve been a maven since July and I’m addicted. The nail colors are spectacular, and the paint goes on so smoothly! They’ve also got some stellar make up products that I’m a big fan of. The lip gloss has a sweet smell to it that makes me happy. Plus if you sign up to be a maven, you get a 4-piece welcome gift for free. If you don’t sign up to be a maven, they’ve got an awesome clearance section full of fun colors and products, so you don’t feel like you’re breaking the bank on stocking stuffers.

Snow Day Welcome Box Offer

Razors make excellent adult stocking stuffers

Mom always put razors in my stocking stuffers. And I always put them in hers. So it seems like a great idea. Of course, my friends over at ShaveMOB also wanted me to let you know that they’ve got the perfect razor stocking stuffer gift for the holidays, so they sent me a starter set to test their product out. They have razors for men and women, so you can stuff anyone’s stocking. Pink lady razors make me happy, so I was pleased to discover that they sent me a set of pink blades and a pink handle to win me over. You all remember what a pain in the ass it is to shave…so I had a little NoshaveNovtemtober (November/September/October) experiment. When I took to my woolly mammoth legs last week, the ShaveMOB razor did the trick. No cuts, either. Okay fine…just a mini scratching on my wrist. But in general, the razor rocked it. I recommend adding a moisturizing shave cream or gel to the stocking, as these razors don’t have added moisturizers. But the price is right – so I’m totally down with them!

ShaveMOB Razors

Mini bottles of booze

Don’t want the whole gift to be liquor? Stuff his or her stocking with their favorite mini bottles or give them a collection of new and exciting flavors/brands/etc to try. In addition to mini liquor bottles like vodka, whiskey, Bailey’s and tequila, you can find mini bottles of wine and champagne. You can even pick up a pack of pre-mixed shots like Twisted Shotz (which we had at our housewarming party and were oh-so-good) to toss in a big stocking.

Fun socks

Funny story. Amazon suggested that I add these socks to my cart based on my wishlist of slothy stuffed animal joy. I already own them. It’s like Amazon KNOWS me.


Handmade soap

There’s something so natural and fabulous about using handmade soap instead of store-bought soap with all sorts of adding chemicals and stuff. My friend, Kelly, started making her own handmade bars of soap and we’ve been using them. I’m in LOVE. Soft, gentle and aromatic. Brian smells like man with the beer soap and I smell like happiness and girlishness with the White Whey of Delight. You can visit her Etsy Store, The Little Blue Hippo for really fabulous homemade soap.

The Little Blue Hippo Phone and device cases

So a couple years ago, Brian stuffed both of our stockings (he likes to buy BOTH of us Christmas gifts…like last year when he gave me two tablets and said, “pick one.”) with phone cases for our new-ish phones. Speck is one of my favorite products when it comes to protective cases, as they’ve encased my phone in the past, and they currently encase my iPad mini. (I’m not going to lie, after seeing how cool the ShowFolio was, I wanted an iPad mini all to myself just so I could use a ShowFolio and I don’t even like Apple products. Thankfully, my friends at Netflix hooked me up with an iPad mini so I could play with my case.) They’ve got cases for all the most popular devices whether you’re an Android or Little i person. They come in several cool colors for everyone on your list, too!

Right now, Speck’s on sale!. Here are some current and upcoming deals.

  • November 24-27: 15% off site-wide*
  • Black Friday (Nov 28) – Cyber Monday (Dec 1): 25% off site-wide*

Handmade Scrabble ornaments

Hey! Something you don’t have to buy! I stock up on Scrabble games through the garage sailing season, and then hot glue those bitches together for adorable Scrabble ornaments.

Book Scrabble Ornament

Giveaways and Christmas Cards

In honor of the holiday spirit, I have TWO wonderful things to offer you.

The first is an invitation to recieve our annual holiday card. If you’d like to receive a card from Brian and me, send your mailing address tochrissy@quirkychrissy.com.

The second is a big, fat holiday giveaway! I’ll be giving away a huge surprise collection of stuff, including the razor stocking stuffer from ShaveMOB, a Speck iPhone case, Julep products, a game or two and so very much more! To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment that says which of these gifts you think would be best for someone you love. You’ll get two entries if you visit any of the aforementioned sites to name specific products not mentioned here. Three entries if you share it on social media and tag or mention me. The giveaway ends at 10 PM on Friday December 5. The total prize is valued at more than $100. Just saying…

UPDATE: CONGRATS to Stephanie for winning the giveaway. You should have received an e-mail from me for your contact info!

Which of these gifts would be on your list? Will you be shopping online or in stores this season? What OTHER gifts would make great presents or stocking stuffers?

Disclosure: I received some of these products to review, while others were already on my list. I didn’t include anything I wouldn’t buy again. Additionally, some of these links are affiliate links, which means I make a tiny commission off your purchase. The Etsy sellers are my friends, but I do use/love their products. Basically, all of the above has my stamp of approval.

*Excludes iPhone 6, 6 Plus, custom cases, and Best Buy exclusives.

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!

PlayCHIC A Night of Play and Fashion That Took Over Chicago

The stunningly beautiful Alhambra Palace in Chicago set the scene for an exotic night of play and fashion, as the third annual PlayCHIC commenced last Thursday night. The sponsors, ever-present Mayfair Games, Rainbow Loom, Women in Toys and Celebrity Name Game set in motion one of the most entertaining fashion shows I’ve ever been to…okay fine. All the fashion shows I’ve been to have been PlayCHIC. One of my favorite annual events.

PlayCHIC 2014

 

 

Michelle Tan – Mayfair Games Villainy

Michelle Tan has been designing the Mayfair styles since PlayCHIC’s inception three years ago, and with Villainy, she really made a splash. Her creations are whimsical, wicked and wonderful and looked great on both the lady and dude models.

Mayfair Games Michelle Tan

On another Mayfair Games note, I got to take a selfie with Mayfair president, Larry Roznai, who was a really cool dude to chat with.

 

Elda Delarosa – Celebrity Name Game

The elegant designs by Elda Delarosa were the start of this celeb-adorned gown. I’m not going to lie, this was probably my least favorite of the designs. It felt uninspired, as if the game was merely sewn onto the dress. I’m no designer, but I like to think that there are other ways to incorporate themes into clothing than sewing photographs to a dress. Sorry guys, you lost me on this one.

Elda Delarosa Celebrity Name Game

Peach Carr – Rainbow Loom

Made with the actual toy, this  Peach Carr original represents Rainbow Loom with a fun two-piece set. The creator of Rainbow Loom was even there wearing the jacket that Jimmy Kimmel wore! Brian would have been impressed. Probably.  My favorite part? The Rainbow Loom poodle. Who wants to make me one of those?

Rainbow Loom - Peach Carr Rainbow Loom

Gibeon Tolbert – Women in Toys

Representing a fantastic group in the toy and game industry, Gibeon Tolbert’s power suit represents everything I want to be in this world. Pink, powerful, stylish and fun. I seriously LOVED this design. Which shouldn’t be a surprise. If we all remember from PlayCHIC 2012, he created my favorite design, the Word Winder tie.

Gibeon Tolbert Women in Toys

 Which design is your favorite? What games or toys would you like to see mashed with fashion?

 

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!

Why I Won’t Shop on Thanksgiving

I’m not going to go into a big rant about stores being open on Thanksgiving this year. Black Thanksgiving is what it is. I know that there are people who do, in fact, benefit from being able to work on Thanksgiving. I do. I get it. I also know that there are people who have to work on Thanksgiving, regardless of their need for the money or their desire to be away from their families. And it’s not just retail outfits. Every restaurant, gas station, convenience store and yes, retail stores, that stays open on this day has employees who have to work.

Thanksgiving

I’ve worked Christmas.

I’ve worked Christmas Eve.

I’ve worked 4th of July.

I’ve worked Easter.

Halloween.

Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day. Black Friday.  New Year’s Day. New Year’s Eve.

I think the only holiday I haven’t worked is Thanksgiving.

But my brother does. I can’t remember the last time I saw my brother on Thanksgiving. And I fucking love my brother. He’s a server and bartender. And so he works. So you can enjoy your turkey dinner without having to cook. If he were here, I’m sure he’d say, “You’re welcome.” Because he’s polite like that.

So I get it. And it makes me angry that store feel the need to open on Thanksgiving in an effort to one up each other without lowering prices anymore than they already have…

Wait. Lowering prices?

They used to do that.

If you’ve sneaked a peek at any of the ads out there, they look strikingly familiar. To just about every ad I’ve seen in the last 4 or 5 months. “Doorbusters!” with prices that make me want to stay in bed next Friday morning and snuggle with my boyfriend instead of hitting up the mall with my mom as per usual.

That’s the real reason I could care less these days. The reason I, most assuredly, won’t be trekking out away from Thanksgiving dinner to buy a TV. The deals aren’t really AMAZING worth-it-for-the-early-morning-hours deals anymore and definitely not worth-it-for-the-leaving-Thanksgiving-dinner-early-so-I-can-go-stand-in-line-in-the-cold deals. They’re just…sales. Regular. Old. Sales.

So I’ll head to my local mall on Black Friday. I’ll pick up some freebies and a few things that tickle my fancy. And then I’ll come home and work. Okay fine, and I’ll probably do some online shopping on Friday as well. But Julep has Black Friday deals too! And this doesn’t feel like the kinda day that’s even worth a vacation day. I’ll also hit up a few of my favorite local shops on Small Business Saturday, because I believe that shopping locally, even if for only part of your holiday shopping, is helpful to the small business owner. And I like to support small business owners.

Thanks to GoGoShopper.com for making this special Shopping Saturday post possible. GoGoShopper is an online deal and coupon aggregate that helps make your shopping experience a little bit less costly. Especially if you like to shop the way I like to shop. With a BUY ALL THE THINGS mentality.  

Will you shop on Thanksgiving? Black Friday? Small Business Saturday? Cyber Monday? Have you already started holiday shopping? What’s your game plan? I love hearing what other people do for this shop-shop-shoppity weekend.

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!

Blue Cheese and Date Spread on Endive

You know how sometimes, you throw a party and plan for certain types of food, and something inevitably goes wrong?

I had bacon-wrapped dates on the brain, but sometimes, things don’t turn out as planned. But I had all these dates, and needed to figure out something to do with them. After digging through my fridge, I decided on my favorite back-up plan.

Throw shit in a pan and hope it turns out.

I’m nothing if not resourceful. In all reality, this is a magical life skill that I learned as a catering manager. Make do with what you have on hand and improvise. Quickly.

Blue Cheese and date spread on endive

So I came up with this recipe. I had bought endive with the intent of doing something experimental…I just wasn’t sure what. As it turned out, my blue cheese and dates spread was magical and delicious – if you like blue cheese. Which I do. Brian, unfortunately, does not. So he hated it. Other blue cheese lovers enjoyed it, plus it looked kinda pretty on the plate, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you. If you try this, let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz Trader Joe’s Medjool dates
  • 4 oz Amish blue cheese
  • 4 oz apple cinnamon goat cheese
  • 8-12 heads of Belgian endive
  • 1 cup blueberries or other garnish of choice

Method:

  1. Dice dates into small pieces
  2. In a medium crock pot, heat dates for 15-20 minutes
  3. Crumble blue and goat cheeses into a separate bowl
  4. Clean and prepare endive by cutting off the bottoms and peeling the leaves off in layers
  5. After about 15 minutes, add cheese and cook until the cheese is melted, stirring occasionally
  6. Turn off heat and spoon mixture into endive leaves
  7. Chill overnight
  8. Serve plated in a circle with a colorful garnish in the center

I love how endive is pretty much the ideal vessel for snacky treats like this one. The bitterness of the endive (pronounced “n – dive” when I’m around normal people and “on deeve” when I’m trying to sound fancy.) was minimal and definitely offset by the sweetness of the dates.

Are you a blue cheese fan? Would you have added or changed ingredients? What’s your favorite hors d’oeuvre?

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!

Ow!

It’s really no big secret that I injure myself…A lot. Like that time I walked head first into a pole…or tripped over an invisible wire…or sprained my knee while skiing, walking, getting ice…And many other heartwarming tales of pain and unintentional self-abuse.

Accident prone and injuries - yelling ow!

What “Ow!” sounds like to Brian, according to me:

Mostly, “Ow!” sounds a lot like a trivia game, with a series of questions and multiple choice answers and really, none of them are probably correct, because all of them are correct in a sort of, but not really way…and regardless, the “ow!” ends in pain for someone (usually me) which doesn’t really make anyone feel good about life…or the clumsy existence that belongs solely to me.

OW!

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled life programming because your girlfriend has injured herself again. Do you

  1. Ignore it?
  2. Wait for uncontrollable sobbing?
  3. Pause, and wait for a slew of “Shit, damn motherfucking, hate whatever just injured me this time” cursing
  4. Race immediately to the aid of your damsel in distress for the umpteenth time because she did one or all of the following in a matter of 12 hours?
    1. Burned her hand because she touched the hot crock pot
    2. Knocked her head while trying to store stuff under the stairs in the basement
    3. Dropped a santoku knife on her toe while cutting cheese
    4. Discovers yet another mystery bruise or cut or both

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming. Though someone may have lost a little blood. I recommend chocolate.

Obviously, Brian is a gentleman. And just like a parent can tell the difference between a baby’s cries, Brian can tell the difference between most of my shouts of terror and/or pain. Usually.

And yes, all of those little…accidents…happened between Friday night and Saturday afternoon. And yes, I did slice the ever living baby cheeses out of my toe with the brand new fancy pants Pampered Chef santoku knife. And yes, Brian did come bandage me up.

He also came running when I was trying to hide the 4 laundry baskets full of dirty laundry (we FINALLY have a washer and dryer, so laundry is now done) under the stairs so people couldn’t see them.

I’m not sure he knew I burned my hand on the crock pot, and quite frankly, that’s okay in my book. He already thinks I hurt myself too much and too often…

I also found a mystery bruise on my inner forearm – no IDEA how THAT happened. It was like a few weeks ago when I found a foot-long cut on my leg and couldn’t figure out for the life of me where it came from. And seriously. Who has a FOOT-LONG cut that they don’t remember getting? Me. That’s who. And actually, on Sunday, I also discovered a mystery slice on my thumb that may have also come from that very dangerous santoku knife.

Blog Friends, do you have a tendency to injure yourself on the regular? What’s the most recent random injury that you’ve encountered? Do you ever get mystery scars or bruises?

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!

Santa Shops at Sam’s Club

I mean, I’m not surprised, really. With less than 50 shopping days left until one of my favorite holidays on the planet, Santa’s probably already working his butt off. I vaguely remember seeing presents that looked as if they came from Sam’s Club once or twice in my Christmas morning experience…

Or Santa’s a procrastinator like me. And he and Mrs. Clause were just doing their stock-up shopping for the winter rush when things get too busy up at the North Pole. I forgot to ask.

Brian and I joined Sam’s Club a few weeks ago. We thought it was the responsible, grown-up thing to do, being new homeowners and all. (Before you get your panties in a twist about the Costco vs. Sam’s Club thing, we got a Living Social deal for Sammy’s. And with all the bonuses and shit, it was practically free.) Also, some friends of ours had these caramel cheetos-like snacks from Sam’s that were SO good. I wanted them.

 

Caramel cheetos…thanks @annamstroh

A photo posted by Quirky Chrissy (@quirkychrissy) on


So anyways, we’ve made it a weekly routine to hit up Sam’s on Sundays for free sample lunch (you know you do it too) and a few Sam’s Club type purchases. Bulk tortilla chips. Bulk tasty cheese. You know, the important stuff.

As I was browsing the berry selection, I looked up and saw him. He was right there, ready to make my Christmas wishes come true. And just like that, he was gone again. I looked around, and he had disappeared. I told Brian, “I saw Santa!”

He didn’t believe me.

A few minutes later, I saw Santa adding a few sweets to the cart that Mrs. Clause was protecting so carefully. She teased him about the cookies, but they headed toward the milk…and I chuckled.

I thought back to the last time I encountered Santa Clause prior to Thanksgiving. I was working at a bar (that’s a really good story, by the way…I recommend it to anyone who’s ever worked in the service industry. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you return), and I stopped into Caribou Coffee for a quick pick me up. Santa was there, handing out candy canes. I took one and thanked him and told him I was really good that year, could he please bring me the love of my life? Okay, maybe I thought that last part about being good and looking for Brian…but a few days later, Brian (whom I had not met at that point) showed up at the pub, so Santa MUST have been listening, right?

So it only seemed right that I saw Santa a few years later (now), when Brian has become a permanent part of my existence.

A few minutes later, I ran into Santa again standing in line for quesadillas. I was building up the courage I needed.

Finally, right in front of the frozen food aisle, I walked up to him and asked, “Can I take your picture?”

He laughed, and his belly shook like a bowl full of jelly. I knew it was him.

It had to be.

He said, “Of course!”

I heard someone in the background mutter, “Well SOMEONE has some Christmas spirit.”

I got ready to snap his pic when Mrs. Clause appeared out of nowhere, “You’re going to be in it, right?”

“Umm…YES!”

I handed my secret phone to Brian and hugged Santa. Mrs. Clause quickly licked her hand and patted down Santa’s cowlick. “There, that’s better!”

I thanked Santa and Mrs. Clause and told them I couldn’t wait until Christmas.

Santa Shops at Sam's Club

And just like that…they were gone.

A woman passing by asked me, “How old do you feel, now?”

“Same age I always feel. Twelve.”

Blog Friends, have you ever had a serious encounter with the red-clad man from the North? Do you still believe?

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!

My Mom’s First Selfie, My Secret Phone, and My Code Name is Cheesasaurus Rex

I’ve been with Sprint for over a decade. More than eleven years, according to a HAND-WRITTEN note from Angie at Sprint. Actually, it’s been about twelve years, but who’s counting?

Disclosity-closure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Sprint. I received a sample device to facilitate my review. I really have been a Sprint customer for what seems like forever. And I really would recommend them. And there’s a pretty fun story below, so keep reading. 

I like to say that I sold my soul to Sprint back in the fall of 2002 for a VERY fancy, then-super-techy flip phone. The Sanyo flip with a pretty blue screen and a retractable antenna was ALL the rage…and a pretty lofty upgrade from my Nokia brick with the hot pink sparkle face plate (Funny; come to think of it, my phone now is bigger than that brick). It was also jumping from a Chicagoland cellular phone provider to a company that had nationwide service, particularly service that stretched to the middle of Illinois, in Peoria, where I was a student at Bradley University.

So I sold my soul. Because I’m never leaving the Sprint family. (And it’s totally not a bad thing.)

What started as just me, and worked up to a family plan of five (me, Brian, Mama Bear, Papa Bear (post about Dad coming soon), and Little Brother), was a business relationship that has, in truth, had its ups and downs. My Sprint love-affair was a little rocky for a few years. Between 2011 and 2013, Sprint service was spotty. I was on the phone with customer service almost as often as I was on the phone with Brian. I got to know several of the customer service associates and they were, in fact, the reason I stayed with Sprint. I would get yelly, and they would calmly explain that they were upgrading the towers and talk me off my ledge.

Luckily, I stuck around. The Sprint upgrades in the Chicago metro area now include 4G LTE (long-term evolution) and HD voice (high-definition voice) so Sprint customers like me can get faster speeds and better call quality. Speeds of 50-60 Mbps are especially beneficial for streaming video and online gaming.

But this fancy 4G LTE service isn’t just for Sprint customers. Boost Mobile, a subsidiary brand of Sprint that offers pre-paid plans, also runs on the network. For the last several weeks, I’ve been testing out the LG Volt with a Boost Mobile monthly plan courtesy of the powers that be over at Sprint and Boost Mobile.

LG Volt

The LG Volt retails for $179.99

For $35, my secret phone and I can talk, text and max out on up to 1GB of high-speed data. They also have higher plans for $45 and $55 with higher levels of monthly high-speed data. Since this wasn’t my “real” number, I allowed myself to play with the Facebook app, Twitter app, and use it for social media galore. Which worked out well. I texted and called just a few people with the number, allowing it to be my “secret” phone. Obviously, I needed a code name.

Secret Phone and Code Name

A textversation with one of my favorite people.

My mom is excited that she’s getting her first smart phone pretty soon (coughthisonecough), so I let her test it out. The first thing she did? She took a selfie. My cousin and I photo bombed it. (The self-facing camera isn’t my favorite (It only has 1.3 MP), but it’s still better than a certain little i. I’m just saying.

My mom, my aunts, and my cousin were at cats for Halloween. Me? I was a mouse.

My mom, my aunts, and my cousin were at cats for Halloween. Me? I was a mouse.

The rest of the features are pretty on par with my regular smart phone. I really enjoyed having a phone that utilizes the Kit Kat system. Brian was less than impressed with some of the pre-loaded apps. I can’t say I blame him.

LG Volt pre-loaded apps review

The 8 MP rear-facing camera was pretty solid, too. Doesn’t it make you just want to drink capirinha  all night long?

Capirinha

What do you think, Blog Friends? Do you have Sprint? What cell phone service provider do you have? Do you love them, hate them or neither? Would you try out the Boost Mobile service for an easy $35 monthly cost?

You can also keep up with Sprint on Facebook and Twitter.

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!

Big Hero 6: It’s Hip to be a Square

Science!
Tech!
Nerds!

Big Hero 6 Review

A year after Disney knocked it out of the park with Frozen, they’re bringing me something just as magical in its very own light. Bringing the Marvel world into animated Disney is a big step, and it worked really well this time around. Big Hero 6 delivers the beginning of a beautiful friendship franchise with the lovable medical marshmallow, Baymax, and his creator’s little brother, Hiro. Together, they form a team of super-smart, science-nerd superheroes to take on the mysterious masked bad guy.

The film starts with a very young high school graduate (13 years young and unbelievably brilliant to boot) named Hiro who has little direction in his life. With the help of his big brother, a med robot, and his friends, Hiro finds his ultimate path in life.

image

Without giving too much else away, I’m going to go ahead and recommend this one to cartoon and comic loving adults everywhere. As seems to be my Disney MO, I laughed, I cried, and I cheered. I sat on the edge of my seat through half the movie, eagerly and nervously anticipating what would come next. The emotional, feel-all-the-feels aspects of this movie really got to me, so if you have sensitive tiny humans, you may want to give them a year or two before checking this one out.

image

Big Hero 6 takes you on an emotional rollercoaster that you’ll willingly jump on again and again. Baymax proves to be a robot of solid character and Hiro learns one of those important, and sometimes cliche lessons. Hiro is accompanied by his crew of newly found besties as they work together to think outside the box and save San Fransokyo.

San Fransokyo concept art

San Fransokyo concept art from Walt Disney Studios

I loved it.

Brian did too.

And DEFINITELY stay until the end of the credits. You won’t want to miss this one.

Way to go, Disney. I love that you’re making it cool to be a nerd.

Are you planning on catching Big Hero 6 this weekend? Have you read the comics?

I received zero compensation to write this review. I have a love of all things Disney, and was invited to see a pre-screening of the movie as part of the media. All images are used with the permission of Walt Disney Studios to discuss and share with 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!