Archives for December 2015

You May Now Address Me as “Master”

Well, December has sure as fuck been one hell of a ride.

The first week of December saw me in a new role at a new company. I quit my old job before Thanksgiving, and started  at the new place a few weeks later.

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I took those two weeks between jobs to finish up my paper for the final class of my master’s degree. If I told you most of the paper was written in those two weeks (Sorry Dr. P!), would you believe me?

The second week of December, Brian FINALLY asked me to marry him, and much to his detriment, I said yes. And now he’s stuck with me forever. The proposal itself was magical and ridiculous and amazing, and I’m in the process of writing about it to give it justice. There’s also a video or two coming. You’re welcome in advance.

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The third week of December was the week I graduated from Benedictine University with a master of arts in education. I can’t say I’ll never use it, but  I don’t plan to be a teacher or anything…

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When your boyfriend tells you you're a tiger, you become a tiger.

I’ll tell you what, though. No one has as much fun in her cap and gown as me. As Brian would tell you, he felt tricked into attending mass, because my Catholic university invited a nun to speak as the keynote. Mom loved it. Well, what she could here from the back on the auditorium, anyways.

I was told I couldn’t write anything on my cap, which was unfortunate,  because when I graduated from undergrad, I had “need a job” taped to my cap for all to see. It was brilliant,  and it jinxed me for several months cough a year cough. Whatever. Back in 2005, I also had a twinkie and my cell phone tucked safely into my bra. This year, I thought ahead and wore a dress with pockets so I could fill them with entertainment.

I, of course, brought reinforcements. I had a bottle of Chila Orchata and a wheel of Mini Babybel to provide sustenance before I got day drunk with my family at the wine bar.

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I actually ended up hiding these refreshments in the goofy tubing attached to the sleeves of my gown because it was tricky to access pockets under the gown. These sleeve tubes also proved useful for keeping my hands warm while crossing campus in the bitter cold for free cookies and lemonade.

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I checked in with you guys on Facebook and kept myself amused until the one other MA.E. and I were guided to the stage. They never announced our degree, so as far as the audience was concerned, we were just two rando names in the long pause between the undergrads and MBA degree candidates. 

I neither tripped nor fell, but I did walk the wrong way, even when the guidey person was like, “that way…no, that way…no, THAT way.” Alas, I channeled my inner Fleetwood Mac and I went my own way. But I didn’t want to walk in front of the photographer who was already taking awful pictures of me. And so I shimmied around him awkwardly while one of the professors yelled at me.  No big deal.

But now, I am a Master of the Universe, and after getting champagne drunk for the 27th time this month, the celebration was over. Except that I wanted to tell you about my exciting month, even if my degree is only slightly wasted right now, you know…not being a teacher and all…

Let’s celebrate, my friends! What exciting things happened for you this month? What about this year? Did you get a new job or married or pregnant or write a book or just survive? What are you proud of or excited about?

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 Hostess’ Guide to the Holiday Madness

Little-known fact: June Cleaver, Martha Stewart, and I swap notes.

I may be a terrible housewife, but I’m a master of feeding people and throwing baller parties. Last year, after moving into our house, we hosted a killer game-themed housewarming party for nearly 60, Second Thanksgiving for 15, Christmas Day for 30, and a small New Year’s Eve with family. This year we hosted a birthday party for 30, Halloween party for 40, and are planning another Christmas Day extravaganza in addition to game nights and dinners throughout the year. I’ve become skilled in the art of hosting parties.

I’ve put together this convenient,  easy-to-follow guide for hosting parties, which is sure to make your holiday merry and bright, your birthday magical and special, and your perfect little dinner party a night to remember.

The hostess' guide to handling holiday madness

2 Months Out

1. Pick a date. This may be easy if you’re hosting on a specific holiday, but with families freaking everywhere, you may host Christmas on the 20th or the 31st. I won’t judge. You do you.

  1. Delay. Put off most of the planning as long as you can. Spend time pinning shit to your Pinterest board, knowing you’re never actually going to do any of that nonsense. Late invites are likely to shrink the number of people who show up.

1 Month Out

3. Start inviting people. Use multiple modes of communication to make it as confusing and hard to track as you can. For extra planning points, recruit your partner/boyfriend/spouse/person/fiancée(God, that word is WEIRD) to invite his family or friends you don’t follow on Facebook. You already know you’re screwed.

2 Weeks Out

4. Secure RSVPs. Wait for no one to respond,  and then start the second round of messaging. Texts, calls, private messages, tags, etc. Leave no communication stone unturned. Just don’t add them to your Jamberry Group.

5. Meal plan. Decide what you’re going to feed all these people you’ve invited to your home. Dole out responsibilities and assignments if you’re potlucking. Get as creative or unoriginal as you want. You’re hosting this fiesta.

6. Start writing to-do lists. Put together a shopping list for groceries, a DIY list for crafty shit you want to do, a cleaning list for your boyfriend/partner/husband to follow while you’re at work or the grocery store (saving him from all the people). You can use Google Drive, a pen and paper, a blank Word document or some fancy pants list you downloaded from a way more organized blogger than me. Me? I have lists everywhere. In e-mail drafts, in notebooks, and on the back of random papers from work. I typically forget them all by the time I head to the grocery store or start cleaning.

7. Decorate your home. Get your holiday decor up whether you’re putting up Christmas tree in every room, creating a disgusting murder scene in the bath tub, or setting up a spider’s den in your bathroom. If it’s not a holiday, make sure you’ve got all your art hung, ordered the right colored table cloth from Amazon, planned for balloons and other decorative touches.

Just hope and pray the balloons don't end up in the updraft of your ceiling fan.

Just hope and pray the balloons don’t end up in the updraft of your ceiling fan.

1 Week Out

8. Keep texting and calling people. We all know half your guest list isn’t going to respond. That’s okay, you love me them anyways.

9. Write new to-do lists. Don’t tell me you know where the originals are. I know you’re lying. Go ahead and make new ones. Even if you forgot the original items on the list, you’ll think of new ones.

10. Start those crafty projects you said you were going to do.  You want to make special scrabble Christmas ornaments for everyone at your holiday party? You know what? Fuck it. Just go to the store and buy some cookies. Then, eat the cookies. Then, continue on with the rest of this list. You don’t need that kind of stress in your life right now.

5 Days Out

11. Shop. Try to get as much grocery shopping out of the way as you can. Stock up on beer, wine, pop, snacks (you’ll need these later), and cream cheese (this is the only necessity with party apps. You can mix anything with cream cheese for a magical creation sure to impress every guest). Hold off on anything you think should be fresh, such as fruit or veggies. No one wants stinky cauliflower.

3 Days Out

12. Procrastinate. It’s time to start heavy duty lifting and really get your ass in gear. But you DEFINITELY need a break first. Perhaps you’ll watch  Kimmy Schmidt or Liz Lemon on Netflix to get you in the spirit of whatever event you’re hosting. There’s a little Kimmy or Liz for everyone, guys.  Pop open one of the bags of chips you were reserving for your event, eat candy for dinner from Dylan’s Candy Bar (OMG) and work on your night cheese. The party is happening whether your floor boards are dusted or not.

1 Day Out

13. Start cleaning. Spend a little time casually wiping counters, cleaning out your fridge, rearranging your collection of board games, video games, movies, CDs, whatever, moving piles from one room to another in an effort to clean. You still have 28 hours before this party is in full gear.

14. Prep as much food as you can. It’s time to make magic happen with the cream cheese, folks. Whip up a few dips while your boyfriend vacuums the floor with your fancy pants Shark vacuum. Cut veggies. Arrange fruit displays. For the love of all things, DO NOT CUT THE CHEESE YET. That is a last-minute priority in order to ensure the best possible cheese flavors.

Prepare your veggie crudite the night before to save time for your uber panic when hosting a party.

Prepare your veggie crudite the night before to save time for your uber panic when hosting a party.

Day of the Party

15. Freak out. You’re not ready. Your house is certainly not ready. You haven’t showered since your Liz Lemon marathon and it’s REALLY time to move it. You know nothing helps a situation more than a serious panic attack. Get ready for it. It’s coming.

16. Quick Clean. You don’t have time to clean the way you want, so start throwing everything out of sight. Throw shoes down into the basement, hide baskets of mail under your buffet table (See why I told you to invest in that floor length table cloth on Amazon, now?), take stakes of clothing/clutter/whatever up to your bedroom or the guest room or the office. Just get it out of here, already.

17. Finish food. Whip together as much of the food as you can before you have to start cleaning up the kitchen. The cheese should be cut about 30 minutes before guests arrive (and you shouldn’t let it sit out for more than four hours, so plan for a second batch if it’s a long party.

Put the cheese out about 30 minutes before the start of a party in order to have the best tasting cheese (room temperature).

18. Beg for reinforcements. Hope and pray you have parents like I do who show up 45 minutes before a party to help with this process. Sure, you won’t remember that your mom threw your keys in the cabinet with the canned goods, but no one else saw them cluttering up your breakfast bar, amiright?

Game Time

19. Relax. Breath a sigh of relief and pour your first of many glasses of wine/champagne/beer/vodka/whatever. Give yourself a pat on the back for only crying three times instead of five like last time. You’re getting better at this game.

Friends, how do you handle the stress of hosting parties? Are you a killer host? What do you try to do whenever you host an event? Tell me your secrets before I pull all my hair out!

This post is brought to you by the fine people at Netflix, without whom I may never procrastinate. While I wasn’t paid in dollars to create this blog post, I did receive a subscription to Netflix and a device on which to watch my favorite shows (hello Liz Lemon – I love you!). As always, you get my opinions and ideas, which I was not paid to change. Obviously.

Netflix Stream Team

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!

Worth the Wait: The End of an Era

It’s been five months since I last wrote about The Handsome Grown Up that you came to know and love this spring. If you don’t feel like reading through the whole story just yet (you will soon, if you haven’t already), we met on this very day many years ago. We flirted, we dated, I worked like hell to fuck it all up, and yet he still stuck around. When last I spoke of The Grown Up, he was driving away from my house as I drunk cried myself to sleep. Make no mistake – I was the one being an idiot. It was the drunkest I ever got in the presence of The Grown Up…and we dated for a long-ass time. He called the next night, after I panicked like a teenage girl for about 12 hours, and all was fine (except for the lost wallet from my fall at the bar).

I’m going to fast-forward a little bit though because dating life is pretty much, you know, normalcy, and I can’t imagine you wanting to sit through all the ins and outs of a relationship from yesteryear…and quite frankly, it’s time we brought this story to an end.

The Grown Up and I dated solidly for many years. We met each other’s families. We traveled a bit. We fell madly in love. He made me laugh more than anyone on the planet, and I was surprised how much time I could spend with him and not want to kill him. After that first date, I never went home, much to the chagrin of his incredibly understanding roommate. He always told me, “Home is where your cheese is” because after our first weekend together, he bought me a bag full of fancy cheese. But he was wrong. Home was where he was. He was everything.

I waited a long time for this. And now it's the End of an era

He is everything.

He is the first page of my book and the last. He captured my heart and never once dropped it. He encourages me to follow every last one of my dreams, no matter how ridiculous. He pushes me to be my better self. He IS my better half, and without him, I wouldn’t be where I am.

So when he asked me to be his bride, the only answer I had for him was, “Yes!”

When he asked me to be his bride...I said yes.

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!

Completely Legitimate Reasons I Could Have Quit My Job

They took away my mirrors

My narcissism knows no bounds, and when the lobby renovation of my building was finished, there were no more mirrors for me to double check myself before heading up to my office. There used to be a wall of mirrors and gold mirrored elevator doors in which I could double check my hair, look for wardrobe malfunctions, and just get a good glance at myself as I walked down the long hallway.
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Once they began construction, I knew nothing was ever going to be the same.

I had no idea what I was doing

I wasn’t a writer anymore, but I was still writing a little social media content. I was also negotiating big fat contracts and talking to potential partners. lt was strange and scary, but let’s be honest here…I was talking to people every day, shmoozing, and learning…I kinda liked it. And it turns out, I’m pretty good at it.

They wanted me to work in the office on Black Friday

Not at MY office, mind you, but the corporate office, which was about an hour drive. I was told to bring crossword puzzles because it was known that there was nothing my team could do to help the madness. Let me clarify that I was planning on working Black Friday. From home. I could care less about shopping these days, but driving up to the main office at 4 am to do crossword puzzles? Sounds like a waste of my time. If I had to work on Black Friday, and could be of any use to my peers (other than running coffee, which was also a recommended option for things to do), sure no problem. But that wasn’t the case. The office would have been a lonely skeleton in which I felt trapped by corporate entities that just wanted to look good in front of their superiors. That don’t impress me much.
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My friends were leaving

At one point, I had oodles of friends at my old company. But they were all moving on to bigger and better things. New fancy companies with matching hoodies and name recognition that would make anyone swoon. I’ll admit I was jealous. That green-eyed monster can be a beast.

Something magical happened

Sure, those were all perfectly acceptable reasons to leave a perfectly acceptable job. But I’m not really that kind of girl. After a few less than savory experiences in the world of employment, I knew it was important to be picky as fuck when I did finally jump ship and the only reason I would ever leave would be if I found something amazing to take its place. And somehow, I happened across a magical unicorn of job listings at a company I really wanted to work for doing something I wanted to do…and the rest, as they say, is history.

I feel like I’m home.

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, Useful and Fun Gift Options for Everyone on Your List

I love giving gifts. Wrapping gifts in my super messy holiday workshop. Making it completely impossible to detect the contents of a package. The joy and delight when my boyfriend opens up a super special and romantic gift from yours truly. I can’t wait for Christmas to be here already!

While we’re waiting though, I can go ahead and assume that you failed on your resolution to be done shopping before Black Friday, amiright?

Good; me too.

The gift guide for everyone on your list

Some links used in this post are affiliate links and I’ll make a small percentage of dollars from any purchases you make. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ve tested and tried all of these items on my own (many thanks to the kindness of generous sponsors) with the exception of the Harry Potter blanket and Alice in Wonderland purse. I hope you enjoy this year’s gift guide!

Luckily for you, I’ve put together the only gift guide for adults that you need this year. From stocking stuffers and toys for the children at heart to small kitchen appliances that girls like me dream about and everything in between, I’ve got you covered. Of course, if you’re not partial to this year’s list, feel free to check out the fantastic items I scavenged for last year’s gift guide or my wish list from a few years ago.

Stocking stuffers I can’t get enough of

X-Cube

The X-Cube is this year's it puzzle for stocking stuffers. Give them the gift of strategy and mind teasers with this tough cookie.

The X-Cube is this year’s it puzzle for stocking stuffers. Give them the gift of strategy and mind teasers with this tough cookie.

I freakin’ love puzzles. When we go to Gen Con, one of my big events is the giant puzzle quest (which is actually how I get to go to Gen Con next year for free!). I love puzzles in all their forms. Words. Tangible. Jigsaw. There’s this amazing puzzle cube extreme called the X-Cube. It’s like Rubik’s Cube on crack. In the best way possible. Want to spend hours trying to solve this thing? Give it to a kid, and you’ll be begging to play too. I am obsessed with this thing. Seriously. Everyone’s getting one in their stockings. Christmas Eve with the kids will be puzzlemania.

Card games

I always like to fill stockings with fun games that are super transportable. There are plenty of awesome card games you can stuff in everyone’s stockings whether you’re going for a traditional and simple game of Uno or looking for something a little more interesting like Cover Your A$$ets or Skull King. For the most adorable card games ever, try these tiny little gum pack games that are so small they fit in a pocket.

Gifts for the Danny Tanner (or you know…like a college student or something) in Your Life

Shark Rocket ® Powerhead

Okay, so Brian is no Danny Tanner, but he’s more than willing to pick up a broom or vacuum and dominate our floors. I named our Shark Rocket ® Powerhead vacuum Jaws. Get it? Shark. Jaws. Har har har. Anyways…

If you’re not afraid the wife/mom/daughter is going to swat you for wrapping an appliance this Christmas or if your boyfriend/hubs/college age son is in need of a practical gift, this one’s it. My mom got me a vacuum for Christmas one year. It was awesome. It was purple. It was her hint that I needed to move out of her house and into my own place. Which I did. 7 years later with Brian. Who HATED my purple vacuum. So my friends at Shark hooked me up with my very own Shark vacuum (in exchange for my honest opinion) so my boyfriend would stop complaining about the girly, useless vacuum we used to own. So yes, Virginia, you can gift a vacuum for Christmas.

Give the Danny Tanner in your life a Shark Rocket Powerhead for Christmas

We have carpet, tile and hardwood floors to clean. And this vacuum knocks it all out of the park with a sweet design that’s made to adjust for your height and preferences. We can peel right through the fancy dining room floor, kitchen floor, and carpet in one full swoop. It also has fancy engineering that combines the motor and dust cup in the head of the vacuum, reducing airflow path and maximizing efficiency and power. The thing about this awesome vacuum, is that if I need to bust out and get down and dirty with the cleaning, this puppy is only 9 lbs. One of my biggest reasons for not being a huge fan of vacuuming is the weight of a vacuum when I have to move it around. That feeling is just not awesome. But the Shark is that awesome. Brian is convinced this machine will help me get over my fear of vacuuming.  Until then, he’s been enjoying Jaws, and I think anyone on your list who needs a vacuum will too.

Gifts for Foodies

Nutri Ninja® Auto-IQ™ Pro Compact System

Never in a million years did I expect to say that I drink and like a good kale smoothie, and yet, here we are. I drink and like a good kale smoothie. From my Nutri Ninja with the extra smooth boost. A little pineapple, a little kale, a little apple or pear…delicious. No joke. The Nutri Ninja is magical. Brian loves using it to make homemade salsa. I used it to chop veggies for my Halloween chili (and NO ONE knew that there were 10x more vegetables than meat in the chili).

I made a Kale Smoothie with my Nutri Ninja using kale, pineapple slices, and pears.

You can also mix cookie dough and other batters in this beautiful blender of multitasking joy. I even made funky pumpkin spice banana pancake batter (like all-banana-and-egg, no-flour pancakes) in it once (and let’s be honest, probably never again. Banana pancakes are not good, you guys, no matter what Sarah Michelle Gellar says).

I make green smoothies in my Nutri Ninja and love them!

My friends at Ninja thought I would appreciate one of these little machines, and boy oh boy were there right! I bought a Cosco-size bag of kale for crying out loud! It blends nuts, seeds, and all sorts of other goodies that go in my smoothies. I’m going to be healthy if it kills me. But it won’t. Obviously.

Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker

You guys, I am in absolute heaven.  I won one of these puppies at BlogHerFood a few weeks ago, and have been making nonstop sandwich experiments to really work this thing to the core. I haven’t cooked myself breakfast this frequently since I was unemployed…oh…wait…I spent two weeks without a job…making breakfast sandwiches in my breakfast sandwich maker. You can make other stuff too! I rocked out some afternoon sammies as well. Grilled cheese anyone?

Make your own Egg McMuffins with the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker

I was originally skeptical. Really? My raw egg and cheese and bread and stuff just go in there like no big deal? Yeah. Right. But they do. They actually do. The egg cooks as much as you want it to. The well is deep enough that the cheese doesn’t touch or stick to the slidey part. It works so so so well. Aaaaaaaaaaaanyways, this magical little beasty is inexpensive, easy to clean and (wait for it) easy to store. For someone with as many small kitchen appliances as I have, counter space can seem daunting. This little sammy maker stores easily in my cabinets. This little guy is sure to be the bright light on Christmas morning for everyone (and every morning after that too!). If you want a double whammy, you can even get a two-sammy maker.

Tech accessories that make my life easier

iMagnetMount

Brian has been begging to find something to hold his phone in the Jolly Roger (our new vehicle). He likes to watch the GPS map when he’s driving so he knows where he’s going. Especially since I’m not very helpful when I’m all “Drive on, Jeeves” or worse, when I’m backseat driving from shotgun. He really hates that. I’m really good at it. Anyways…iMagnetMount offered to send me one to try and I was all, oh sure! Brian could use something like that. And guess who also loves it? Right. Me. The Jolly Roger is super fancy and has bluetooth connections and so I just keep my phone up there, and I’m all like, “OK Google, call Brian” And then Google is like, “Call Ryan?” And I’m like oh dear god no! Google. Pay attention. CALL BRIAN [LAST NAME REDACTED UNTIL BRIAN MARRIES ME]. And it works. All you have to do is put the phone-safe magnet between your phone and its case, and attach the mount to the car, and boom! Magnety sticky goodness. Just make sure you stick the mount on a CLEAN spot of your car. Dust and mount are not friends.

Winter Ice Welcome Box

Mighty Lifesaving Gifts for Clumsy Klutzes

Mighty Mug

The Mighty Mug is a serious lifesaver when you spill a lot like I do.

Okay, so it took me a hot minute to figure out how to make this work. Then I watched some YouTube videos of other people doing it and everything made sense. This magic mug (designed to NOT tip over when it’s full of liquid) protects me from myself. As you may well know, I spill things on myself, the floor, and other people with some frequency, and when I use my Mighty Mug, I’m spill free as I was meant to be. Mighty Mug sent me a mug to share with you because they knew I was a total klutz, and they thought I could use one of these. They were completely right. Skeptical as I may have been…they nailed it.

Speck Mightyshell + Faceplate

My Speck case helps keep my phone safe even in the bathroom when I'm taking Skinny Mirror Selfies and drop the phone twice because I'm so distracted...not that I did that or anything...

My Speck case helps keep my phone safe even in the bathroom when I’m taking Skinny Mirror Selfies and drop the phone twice because I’m so easily distracted…not that I did that or anything…

Okay, I know I mentioned Speck in last year’s holiday gift guide, but you guys, SERIOUSLY, I can’t tell you how many times my Mightyshell Speck case has saved me from having to buy a new phone. When I birthday gifted myself with a new Galaxy S6, my friends over at Speck hooked me up with a pretty pink industrial case and faceplate designed to withstand every test I could put it through. And believe me, I have tested its limits. I’ve dropped it, thrown it, stepped on it, sat on it…and the phone’s still kickin’ as if I had just purchased it. Everyone in your life needs one of these cases. I’ve been tempted to drop my phone from our indoor Juliet window as a test because I have so much faith in this thing, but Brian keeps telling me it’s a bad idea.

Gifts for kids from aunties (and uncles) who love them

I don’t have my own tiny humans, but my godson has said, “Auntie Chrissy gives the BEST presents.”

I chalk it up to the DINK phenomenon (double income no kids) and the fact that the toys live at their parents’ house and not my house…The louder the better, amiright? I realize that this will result in payback a few years down the road, but until the then… the louder the better.

Of course, not everything has to be loud. Sometimes, it’s just plain fun.

Versa Bricks (and Legos and K’Nex and Hot Wheels)

My godson is a die-hard Legoian. If that’s not a word, I just made it up and it’s totally a thing. But like, the kid seriously has so many freakin’ Legos, I don’t know what to get him anymore. Last year, I got him Brickstuff –  these amazing lights that go inside his Legos to light them up. This year, it’s Versa Bricks (thanks to my friends at Versa Bricks who offered  a set for my godson to try out and play with!) and some new add-ons that I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have. Hot Wheels and K’nex. The Versa Bricks make it possible to connect all three of these beloved kids’ toys and create and combine whole new worlds. He’s going to freakin’ love it. And I’m the aunt that wins all the love.

Board games

If you’re like me and training your nieces and nephews to be the ultimate gamer nerds, get them sweet gamer games for kids, like this one I got for my godson a few years ago, Catan Junior. If you’ve played Settlers of Catan, this game is the “junior” version, but it’s no Monopoly Junior. It’s a pretty solid beginner gamer game (and one that parents will actually enjoy too. See, I’m not all bad, parents!).

Barbie

This may set all the feminists out there ablaze, but I’m not going to lie, I’m still down with Barbie. When my cousin told me her daughter was finally getting into Barbie, I went out and bought a bazillion dolls like this windsurfing Barbie. Christmas done. I loved Barbie when I was a kid, and I still have my dolls for my future tiny humans. I remember playing with my friend’s mom’s dolls as a kid and it was awesome. So yes, Barbie for everyone!

And finally, gifts for the children at heart

I’m like a perptual 9-year-old girl. I want toys and games and nerdy book things. My assumption is that most adults do too. So this is what I’m proposing we give each other for Christmas.

Harry Potter blankies

This is the COOLEST blanket I’ve ever seen. Seriously. It’s the freakin’ Maurauder’s Map in blanket form. If you’re a Potterphile, you need this in your life. And then you need to watch and read all the movies and books again while wrapped up in your cozy blanky.

Alice in Wonderland purse

A BOOK purse, you guys. A purse that looks like a book! This Alice in Wonderland bag is seriously magical. You are welcome for this sweet find, people.

WHEW! That was exhausting! I hope you enjoyed my little blurbs and that maybe you found something unique or useful for someone special in your life. In honor of the holidays, I’m giving away another Swag Bag of goodies for you this holiday season! While I haven’t pieced it together yet, the value will likely be well over $50. To enter, just fill out the giveaway form below!
 

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 Bake the Perfect Cookies

It’s National Cookie Day, you guys. Do you know what that means? Fresh-baked, melty-chocolatey, delicious cookies should get in your belly. Immediately.

This post is sponsored by the fine people at Otis Spunkmeyer, several of whom I met a few weeks ago in Chicago while sampling their delicious snacks. As always, these opinions, ideas, and word babies are all mine. 

We hung out with some giant cookies at the Otis Spunkmeyer Sneak Peak last month.

This is my new blogging bestie Anna from Anna Dishes. If you like food or flowery things, she’s your girl. She’s also DEFINITELY one of my soulies, as we bonded over a lot of food and booze AND she let me stalk her the entire time she was here in Chicago. You’ll note she looks adorable while I don’t have a normal bone in my body. 

I love cookies. I’ve always been something of a cookie monster. C is for Chrissy. And cookie. Coincidence? I think not. I was raised to love cookies. I blame my dad. And grandfathers. They were all cookie monsters too. Well, my dad still is. One of his favorite gifts on birthdays and Christmas (a bottle of Courvoisier, wine, or scotch notwithstanding) is cookies.

When I was in high school, there was a little cookie stand down in the basement by the Driver’s Ed simulator hosted by Otis Spunkmeyer (you remember Otis Spunkmeyer for their amazing cookies, probably in high school or college, right?) One of the teachers – I think he was a teacher – would be there every morning 20 minutes before school started through 2nd period, selling cookies. I think it was like 3 for a dollar or something.

Whenever I had time and an extra dollar, I’d mosey on down and order a triple chocolate chip cookie (chocolate cookie with milk and white chips), white chocolate macadamia nut cookie, and oatmeal raisin. And then I’d eat them in all their melty, fresh-baked glory. I’ve always wished I could make delicious cookies like that.

Alas, it’s been many a years of baking…errors. If you haven’t noticed from previous recipes, I’m terrible at following recipes to a T, which is something you need to do with baking. If you don’t get just the right amount of butter, baking powder, baking soda (don’t even get me started on knowing the differences!), eggs etc…you’re doomed to failure. Just last week, I completely burned the Second Thanksgiving pumpkin cupcakes…More on what I did with that later…

I’ve made some pretty UNPRETTY cookies in my time. Flat cookies. Burnt cookies. Undercooked cookies (okay fine. Those were cookie dough balls and I ate them all). BUT…I’ve discovered the secret to perfectly baked cookies every time.

How to bake the perfect cookies

To make the best cookies, it’s a four step process.

First, you remove the cookies from their wrappers. These Otis Spunkmeyer treats (which will be available in a grocery store near you starting early next year) are made with no funky stuff, so they taste just like Mom made them (but with so much less mess).

Otis Spunkmeyer cookies come individually wrapped with no funky stuff!

Otis Spunkmeyer cookies come individually wrapped with no funky stuff!

Then, you place the cookie on a pan (I used a toaster-oven-size stone baking sheet for added crisposity).

Baking an Otis Spunkmeyer cookie in the toaster oven is easy. Just pop it in at 350 for 5-7 minutes for a warm gooey cookie.

Don’t mind my messy toaster oven…

Bake the cookie for 5-7 minutes until it’s warm to touch and the chocolate starts getting a little melty (wait too long and it’ll be super messy, but probably super delicious).

Otis Spunkmeyer cookies have the perfect cookie craters and delicious chunks of chocolate for a fresh cookie with no funky stuff.

That chocolate chunk is just starting to melt…

The secret to the best fresh-baked cookies on the planet. Click To Tweet
Look at that Otis Spunkmeyer melty goodness

Look at that Otis Spunkmeyer melty goodness

See how easy it is to celebrate National Cookie Day? That was my breakfast. I’ll probably have another cookie for dinner. And maybe one for lunch. Brian usually discourages this sort of behavior…but he’s not the boss of me!

Extra details on the Otis Spunkmeyer retail line of products: So much goodness is coming your way, you guys. They’re launching snack cakes, muffins, mini muffins, and of course, cookies. They’ll be in stores and on Amazon Prime Pantry so you can get your fill of deliciousness whenever you want it. And let me tell you. I tried them all, and you will not want to miss out (especially on the lemon cakes).

What are your favorite cookies? Do you have any cookie memories of Otis Spunkmeyer? Are you as excited for this product launch as I am?

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!

Drunk Chrissy is a Motherfucking Genius

It is last night, right now.

By that I mean, I am typing this and it is Monday night. November 30. Not today. Today is likely any day but that. Unless it is November 30 in another year, many days from now. When I am typing this. Drunk. You get what I’m saying.

Brian told me…well…reminded me how fucking much I love drunk writing. And I said to him, “Brian, I don’t have anything to say.”

But then I remembered I totally just ballered the fuck out of our wine rack. Because I’m a motherfucking genius. And you all need to see the brilliance that is drunk me.

Store sloped shoulder wine bottled backwards to keep them from falling off your wine rack. For magnums of wine, you may need to get creative.

So we’ve had this problem with sloping shoulder bottles in the $12 wine rack I bought at Savers (One day, I plan to spray paint it or something to make it look fancy, but until then it’s dusty, rusty wrought iron). The problem is that the sloping shoulder bottles slide down and out without warning. The last thing in the world I want is for one of our fancy pants bottles of two buck chuck or non-cheap wines (it’s hit or miss here – we serve both kinds) to fall to its shattering, wine-spilling, alcohol-abuse end on the basement floor. And so I placed the sloping shoulder wines on the wooden rack atop the metal rack and swore never to buy sloping bottles again (which is a dirty rotten lie because I love pinot noir and Kim Crawford sauvignon blanc – when it’s on sale or at Sam’s Club).

Wine Rack Hack for Magnum Bottles

Well, we went for our wine tasting at Cooper’s Hawk (restaurant, wine club, bar, joyous place of boozy goodness) and after all of my and some of Brian’s wine, I decided I needed to make room for last month’s magnums of Decadence (some fancy pants wine celebrating Cooper’s Hawk’s 10th anniversary that I didn’t pay extra for).

And so it was time to solve the problem of the fucking wine rack and sloping shoulder bottles. And I thought. And rearranged. And fucked around with the wine. Eventually, the Decadence ended up on the top of the wine rack, cradled in the wood rack.

Storing magnums of wine is easy when you're creative...or drunk.

Storing magnums of wine is easy when you’re creative…or drunk.

Wine Rack Hack for Sloping Shoulder Bottles

Now…what to do with those sloped shoulders…I couldn’t drink ’em because as good as five bottles of wine sounds on paper, it just wasn’t going to happen on a school night. I didn’t want them on the ground, lest we randomly flood or some shit like that. And so I thought.

And I thought some more.

And holy hell did I think enough to drop a couple more F-bombs on that fucking wine rack…

Until I put the bottle in backwards.

Wait, what? It works? Fuck yeah, bitches!

Store sloped shoulder wine bottled backwards

In case of emergency, store wine near a fire extinguisher. Or not…whatever.

All you have to do to keep those suckers from falling off the rack is put them in backwards…against a wall (or a sort of almost wall. Whatever).

And now I’m fucking sober. It was probably the time it took me to make graphics. That shit always takes forever.

Are you a fucking genius after a few glasses or wine or cocktails? What brilliant ideas have you discovered after drinking? Were you expecting me to break shit? Because I totally didn’t. Booya, Grandma!

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!