Archives for March 2016

My Life in Snapchat Color Part I

I’ve only been snapping since 2014-ish. And in that time, I’ve managed to capture my essence. Of course, I’m well aware of the inane selfies I share on any platform, and Snapchat is no stranger to this. But I thought I’d share a few of my favorites, we’d have some laughs at my expense, and then you might decide you want my sort of snappy world in your life, and you’d go and add quirkychrissy as your newest Snapchat friend. Let me know how this works out for you.

Sometimes, the light hits just right on a selfie and I know exactly what God’s trying to tell me.

I'm an angel

My mom likes to brag. I don’t remember what she was talking about, but I know what was implied. It is Snapchat after all.

My Mom's seen bigger

Sometimes, I’m deep in thought and I just want to share it with the world.

Pensive

I also have a super huge crush on Jim Caviezel. Brian’s okay with it though, because Person of Interest is a FANTASTIC show.

Person of Interest

And then Brian’s all, “But you don’t even KNOW Jim, Chrissy. He will never love you the way I love you.” And with that he stomped on my dreams. He hadn’t even asked me to marry him then! I didn’t know he was in it for the long haul for real (I’m lying. I knew).

Funny story about Brian the dream crusher: Just this morning, he was telling me the weather. “It’s going to be warm and wonderful…but it’s going to rain on our way home tonight.”

See what I mean?

Sometimes Brian crushes dreams

In an act of defiance, I’ll snap things I know Brian won’t like. These Christmas trees were available for purchase one June…

Sometimes I snap things Brian won't like

But then, the Universe is all, “Fuck you, Chrissy. You should be nicer to Brian.” And some lady decides to lean on me at the train station.

Stupid lady on the train

But then I remember I no longer have to go to Mordor, and 🎵every little thing is gonna be alright!🎵

This is where I used to work

Are you on Snapchat? Can we be friends? What is the best picture you’ve ever taken with your phone? Do you ever take photos of strangers?

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!

Let’s Talk About Cheese, Baby.

Everyone loves a fully-loaded cheese platter, amiright?

6 easy tips to make the perfect cheese display

I know this because no matter the theme of the party I’m hosting, there’s always a platter of cheese on the buffet. When a girlfriend comes over to catch up, I whip up a quick cheese plate. When Brian and I can’t decide what to eat, we’ll smorgasbord like a couple of mad kitchen geniuses, and make a cheese display that will make your mouth water. But you know what? It’s not such a hard task. That’s probably why I do it so often. I’m gasp a little lazy. And cheese is easy. You don’t have to cook it (I mean, melty cheese is great and all, but when your cheese drawer is loaded with the good stuff, you don’t cook that cheesy goodness; you eat that cheese on its own). You barely even have to cut it.

How to create the ultimate cheese plate

As someone who once worked for cheese, I’ve learned a thing or two about cheesemongering. And it’s high time I shared that knowledge with you. Below, I’ve listed the most important six things you should know about making a cheese plate at home.

  • Always taste the cheese first. This step is crucial. If you have the opportunity to taste the cheese before you buy it, awesome. But if you order your groceries online, like I did last week, you probably won’t get to sample it before you buy. That’s okay. Just make sure you have yourself a little nibble of each offering before you serve your guests. Not only will this make you more knowledgeable when you’re talking about the flavors of the cheese, but also, you’re eating cheese. And what’s better than that?
  • Choose a stylish platter. I have a vast selection of cheese plates and platters to choose from. Wood boards, slate platters, ceramic dishes, glass cheese plates…all of these can give your display serious street cred.

how to make a cheese platter at home

  • Mix and match your cheese. Make sure you choose a variety of different cheeses, varying in color, shape, size, texture, and flavor for a full profile of cheesy goodness. For this plate, I chose Merlot BellaVitano (which is a cross between an aged cheddar and parmesan, and brined in merlot), Amablu Blue Cheese, Saint Andre Brie Triple Cream, and Organic Valley Grassmilk Raw Sharp Cheddar Cheese. I meant to add a manchego, which is a really gritty and delicious hard Spanish cheese that Brian loves, but I kept that one unopened in the cheese drawer with the Boar’s Head Monterey Jack with Jalapeno. My bridesmaids are coming over today for dress shopping, and I want to have some cheese to feed them as well. (But seriously you guys. All of these cheeses were available online. Delivered. To my door.)
  • Avoid cutting the cheese. I mean, if you’re hosting a big party and no one’s going to want to slice into your beautiful hunks of cheese, by all means, cut it RIGHT BEFORE you put it out. Do not buy pre-cut cheese. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Fresh cut cheese is a hundred times better than cheese that’s already been cut.
  • Place the cheese out early. Did you know that cheese tastes its absolute best at room temperature? For the tastiest selection of cheeses, let them sit out for about a half hour to 45 minutes before serving. Just keep in mind that food safety rules say it’s okay to leave food out for four hours…so once you hit that four-hour mark, it’s time to bring out fresh cheese. But honestly, cheese wouldn’t sit out for four hours without getting gobbled up, right?
  • Make the platter look full with accouterments. The best way to make a cheese plate look extra appetizing is to add dimension, color, and design by filling it to the brim with some of your favorite accompaniments. I love adding fresh fruit for the bright colors and tasty combination bites of sweet fruit and savory cheese. These strawberries were so stunning, I couldn’t even stop myself from eating a couple before I placed the rest on my platter. The weird square thing? That’s membrillo (quince paste), which is a sweet, fruit-flavored jelly-like substance made from the quince fruit. It looks bizarre but tastes amazing with sharp cheesy flavors. I like to sprinkle fresh nuts throughout a cheese platter as well to really fill it up (plus, I love nuts. Don’t you?).
Look at that beautiful strawberry!

That strawberry is the real deal, y’all. I can’t even with this fruit. And it was picked out for me by the fine team at Peapod.

These are the basic tricks I use to create decadent displays that I share with my friends and family when they visit our home. Sometimes, we even take these snacks on the road with us to bring to a party. Basically, cheese = friends. You’re welcome.

I want to have specialty cheeses delivered to my front door. Click To Tweet

What tips do you have for making a killer cheese plate? Do you have any favorite cheeses or accouterments? Have you ever experienced the unadulterated joy of online grocery shopping?

This post was sponsored by the wonderful people at Peapod, a grocery delivery service that pretty much changed my life. All food pictured above was delivered to my house without a second of me having to go into a grocery store, stand in line, or impulse buy stuff I don’t need. It may have been one of the most magical experiences of my life. There’s nothing quite like cheese getting delivered to your front door. Links used in this post may be affiliate links, which will earn me a commission should you use them to shop for groceries online. While I was compensated to write this post, all opinions expressed are from my own completely unbiased and cheese-obsessed brain.

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!

Sometimes I Think About Lighting my Hair on Fire

I picture a lot of crazy thoughts during the course of my day. These thought cause some serious anxiety. But I figure,  maybe if I put them out into the world, they definitely won’t come true.

I’d like to point out, though, that this isn’t my hypochondria thinking. Instead, it’s the S part of my Myer’s-Briggs results. The part that pictures every possible outcome of a day’s events or even just a fleeting moment.

image

So yes, sometimes I do picture lighting my hair on fire. Not like…on purpose or anything. Just in a freak accident involving cooking, candles, bonfires, or lighters. No big deal.

I’ve also imagined a hundred ways I’ll die in a possibly firey car crash. Usually it’s when I’m driving, but sometimes when Brian is driving and I’m eating snacks. I’ve envisioned cars slamming into my car from the front, back, and sides. Falling into a body of water off a bridge (this is why my car has a life hammer).

Some mornings, I see myself tripping and falling onto the train tracks. I try to stand far enough away that the worst injury to ever come from the train platform is a drunken sprained ankle (remind me to tell you THAT story).

When I shower, I just know I’m going to slip and fall one of these days. I’m actually surprised it hasn’t happened yet. I always think about what would happen afterwards. And then I think to myself, maybe I should only shower when Brian’s home. Which, honestly, isn’t a big deal because Brian’s home like 95% of the time I’m home. And I’m sure the loud thud of my body going down in the tub wouldn’t be mistaken as anything normal.

Now that I think about it, guys…maybe those thoughts are kind of morbid. Maybe I should tell you about other disasters I think about. Like the chance of my phone flying into the toilet after…well…pooping. I’m terrified of losing my Internet limb down there and never wanting it back. Years ago, when flip phones were a thing, I dropped a couple in the bathroom, but the toilets were clean.

Or the flooding basement.  I mean, my car has already been flooded. Our basement has kind of flooded. But I picture a giant pool of water rising up from the sump pump well and pouring in through the windows. This does not help me sleep at night.

And really,  sometimes, I just picture myself grabbing a pair of scissors and chopping off my hair. It’s getting so fucking long, but I’m trying to keep it that way for the wedding. We’ll see how that goes.

image

What crazy things do you picture happening to you? What are you most afraid of?

PSA: If you’re in Illinois, go vote already.

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!

There’s Nothing More Tasteless Than Eating Disorder Jokes at a Bridal Show

When you think of a bridal show, you may have visions of creative photographers, wedding gown experts, travel gurus, brilliant bakers, and entertainment professionals settled at their respective booths, vying for the attention of every bride, bridesmaid, and mother of the bride in a 60-mile radius. And quite likely, you’ll expect this event to culminate with a parade of elegant men, women, and children in a bridal fashion show designed to elicit the oohs and ahhs of those aforementioned brides and their entourages.

What you don’t expect, I’d gather, is for a barrage of demeaning, disgusting, and downright offensive commentary from the fashion show emcee.

Last weekend, I attended my second bridal show in preparation for my upcoming nuptials. This time, I was accompanied by one of my amazing bridesmaids at The Windy City Wedding Show at the Embassy Suites in Naperville, where we made appointments for dress fittings, gathered ideas, and spoke with other potential vendors. It all went as expected. Until the fashion show portion of the afternoon.

As the lights dimmed, we were greeted by a man who claims on his entertainment company’s website to “know exactly how to make your special event, extraordinary.”

Extraordinary, indeed.

If this fashion show were an audition for my business, Keith Christopher (KC) KoKoruz of Keith Christopher Entertainment would have lost my bid the moment he opened his mouth. As the audience, which consisted of a female majority, awaited the show, Mr. KoKoruz asked for a round of applause.

When the audience didn’t offer enough enthusiasm to suit his liking, he made the following commentary:

“We’ve got some insecure and unattractive models back there. They’re going to need some more applause before they come out here. [If you don’t clap louder,] we’re going to have eating disorders up the wazoo.”

Not only were disparaging remarks made about the models in the show, but also this emcee tastelessly made light of eating disorders to a room full of women, many of whom had probably started some sort of diet regimen to fit society’s standards of a beautiful bride.

When did it become okay to crack jokes about eating disorders?

I’ll give you a hint: It didn’t.

I left that show fuming. Pissed at the man who spoke the words. Angry at the wedding show company that supports this sort of commentary. Irritated with the women who clapped after his speech. Mad at the world. Disappointed in myself.

Not one woman in the room, myself included, stood up and said anything to this man. I was ready to start asking him questions immediately after the show, but I could sense my companion was uncomfortable with this idea, and opted, instead, to email* Keith KoKoruza, who also owns Windy City Wedding Show and several other businesses tailored to Chicago-area brides.

In both a blog post comment and a Facebook comment, Mr. KoKoruza apologized for his insensitive and uncouth remarks, but his double apology came wrapped with excuses and exceptions. Anything but genuine remorse.

He was very confident that his humor was used successfully throughout the show though I found him crass and chauvinistic. But, to each their own. Humor is absolutely a personal thing. There’s a line, though, between crass and class. I assumed when I registered for a professional bridal show, though, I’d be receiving the class end of the stick.

KoKoruza also insists that his jokes about the models are funny because they’re his friends. “They are also some of the most secure and confident people I have ever met which is what made the joke so ironic,” he rebutted.

Unfortunately, KC doesn’t seem to understand that people who appear confident are not always as secure with themselves as they seem. Many people have close friends and family members struggling in secret with their eating disorders. On the outside, they look happy, fearless, and well-adjusted. On the inside, they are fighting a demon every day of their lives.

Eating disorders are lifelong mental illnesses. You don’t recover from an eating disorder. You don’t wake up one day and decide, I’m not going to starve myself anymore or I’m done puking up every meal I eat and then it’s over. You wake up every day and decide, I’m going to focus on taking care of my body today. I will fight my disease, and today, I will win this battle. Every day is a battle. Every meal is a battle. Some battles are easier to win than others. And some are harder.

But what those struggling with eating disorders don’t need is some man, who may or may not struggle with his own eating disorder (I won’t be so brazen as to assume he doesn’t), making jokes about it as if it doesn’t matter. As if it’s not real. As if every model behind those curtains wasn’t insecure. He doesn’t know.

But what he should know is the complete disregard for propriety he displayed to the audience at this wedding show in order to gain a few cheap laughs. It’s a shame there is no one to hold this emcee accountable because what KC KoKoruz said was unacceptable.

What would you have said or done if you had been at the show? How would you have reacted? 

*While Mr. KoKoruza did not respond to my initial email sent the day of the bridal show (apparently, it was lost in the system), he did see and respond to my Facebook message.  His response arrived in the form of a comment here and on Facebook, which you can view 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!

The Wonderful World of Zootopia

You want to know why your mother and I are so happy?

Because we gave up on our dreams and we settled.

So begins the plot of the latest Disney animated flick about the bullied bunny daughter of two carrot farmers as she heads to the big city of Zootopia to become the first bunny police officer. Ginnifer Goodwin’s sweet and innocent voice lends itself to the character of Judy Hopps perfectly, and compliments the sass of Jason Bateman’s foxy Nick Wilde.

Zootopia is beautiful

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

While the message of inclusion feels a little heavy handed at times (think Fern Gully and Happy Feet), it’s a good message and one of being able to do anything regardless of who you or what others perceive of you. Shakira’s Gazelle character sings an upbeat song about trying everything, which serves as one of the main themes of the movie.

The imagery is visually stunning with vibrant colors and intricate animation depicting the tiniest details of the many climate controlled districts designed to accommodate anthropomorphic mammals of all walks of life from the arctic Tundratown to the deserts of Sahara Square.

Judy recruits hustler Nick to help her in a case which she promises the wife of a victim to help solve, despite the near loss of her job for doing so.

The film is ripe with clever one liners and adult jokes to keep childless grownups like me happy, but cute and sweet enough that I want to take my niece and nephews to see it.

Life isn’t an animated show where you sing a little song and your insipid dreams come true.

You’ll also find a few Frozen nods if you look closely enough. In one scene, two little elephants are dressed up as Anna and Elsa.

Zootopia Anna and Elsa Frozen Easter Egg

ZOOTOPIA – TUNDRATOWN. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Zootopia Easter Egg Anna and Elsa Frozen

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Even one of the characters, Duke Weasleton, voiced by Alan Tudyk, is a subtle nod to Anna and Elsa’s foe, the Duke of Wesselton (also voiced by Tudyk).

You play cribbage with a weasel
And he cheats

A lot of stereotyping animals occurs throughout the film, but of course, my favorite scene is still the DMV sloths. Sure, they may be slow, but they are the most adorable, funniest creatures in the movie. They just look so happy! And Flash is the man.

Zootopia Sloths - Flash

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved. I love him so hard.

The movie includes sloths (which I’m seriously hoping means there will be more sloth toys and accessories for me to collect as a result of this movie) and mention cheese; the only thing missing from my favorite things was dolphins, but maybe we’ll see Zootopia 2: Under the Sea coming soon.

Oh sweet cheese and crackers.

Zootopia Slothursday Snapchat filter

Even Snapchat was all, “Chrissy, the sloths love you and want to dance with you.” (Follow quirkychrissy on Snapchat for more weird snaps)

As Judy and Nick follow leads through Zootopia, an unlikely friendship between Predator and Prey occurs despite Judy’s fox away spray. But hey, at least she didn’t opt for the fox taser.

Oh come on; when is there not a need for a fox taser?

Zootopia Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

In the end, Zootopia acknowledges our flaws, through its humanless world and looks to a brighter future, as long as there are good guy fighting the way.

The world has always been broken; that’s why we need good cops like you.

Have you seen Zootopia yet? What animals are you most looking forward to watching on the big screen? What’s your favorite Disney movie to date?

Zootopia opens in theaters everywhere on March 4. No one paid me to say nice things, but I was able to see an early screening of the movie in order to review it. I went because of the sloth trailer. Can you blame me?

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 Dress for a Trip to Urgent Care…

I’m getting old a helluva lot faster than I thought I would.

Remember the old commercials for the Life Alert? Help! I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up?

Yeah. That was me almost two months ago. Minus the falling part.

Life alert - Help I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

We all know my lumbar spine hasn’t exactly been the envy of all 29-year-old backs. First there was the velociraptor back jonesin’ for some queso. Then the show-offy yoga back that drank too much. And most recently, the panty-dropper back that decided I should have gone commando (and a whole bunch of other back injuries from my youth…).

So when I was nursing my L5 back to health, my doctor tried putting me back on the crazy meds…other than being the only time I’ve cried about the anxiety of wedding planning, they didn’t do shit this time around. So, I got an X-ray and referral for a chiropractor. While I was waiting for the referral to come through (this is maybe the only time an HMO sounds like a bad health insurance plan), I had a hot date to meet up with Andra Watkins, Lea Grover, and Christine Organ while Andra was visiting the Chi. I was initially planning to attend a magical-sounding literary festival in the far west ‘burbs, but woke up feeling a little pain, and even though it was definitely on the mend, I decided to take care of myself. Not to worry, I’d planned to stretch a little and rest a lot, and be ready to meet up with them for cocktails in the evening.

So I reached for a summer frock (I like to wear summer dresses in the winter as my “house clothes” because comfort, ease, and no pants) in the closet, and squealed in pain. Apparently the reaching part was a baaaaad idea. All of a sudden, the going out at all was becoming less and less a possibility. But I thought I’d wait it out a little longer.

While binge-watching Gilmore Girls, I couldn’t seem to find a single comfortable spot on the couch, and I could barely move…so I took to the only place I thought I might find comfort: The floor.

The first relief I’d had all day, I was able to have a lovely nap on the carpeted floor of our front room, while the Gilmores played on. But when I decided it was time to try getting ready for drinks with some writer friends, I realized with no uncertainty that getting off the floor was a near-impossibility. And so I texted Andra and told her to throw back an extra drink for me while I cried a little bit inside (partially because of the pain, and partially because of Andra, who is amazing and doesn’t live here like the other two ladies).

Brian heard me writhing on the floor trying to get up and came running (he doesn’t do this often because he’s so accustomed to my screams of pain). He attempted to help pull me up, but I was afraid I was either too big for him to pick me up or that he would break me. Mostly the second one, honestly. I take back everything I ever said about the previous pains I’ve experienced because this one topped the cake in an entirely different way.

Much like the past pain, I felt as if I had no control over the center of my body. The core is an integral part of functioning, people. If you lose that, you lose the ability to move. In addition to this inability to move, the muscle spasms were throbbing and nearly trying to kill me. It took 25 minutes and a LOT of effort on my end, plus help from Brian, to get myself off the floor.

As soon as I stood as best I could, I looked at Brian and said, “I need to go to urgent care.”

This from the girl who puts off going to the doctor until she really thinks she’s dying, because hypochondria makes her fear the results from the doctor. The decision was swift and immediate. Brian helped me put socks and slippers on, grabbed my purse and handed me my fleece. I was ready to do this thing. Dressed like a Polish war bride…again. I had no bra on, a summer dress, winter slippers, Brian’s man socks, and a fleece-oh and had super greasy hair. Obviously, it was perfectly appropriate for the middle of January.

I got into the car slowly, aiming to produce as little pain as possible (which was near impossible) and found a position that was only mildly debilitating. It took about 15 minutes to get to our destination, and the whole time, I was whining on the phone to my mom. My nearest urgent care clinic is on a busy road, two blocks from the downtown area of the town in which I grew up. With the speed in which I was walking, holding my back as if I were eight months pregnant, at least 40 cars whizzed past us, and I had Brian take a few candid snapshots because I was going to think it was ridiculous one day instead of painful.

How to dress when you're on your way to urgent care

It was…special.

They took me in right away, and Brian had to help me change into the gown they made me wear. I was pouting the entire time. Brian took pictures this time without my asking.

Urgent care is not fun for anyone...

Finally, the doctor came in, gave me a shit load of drugs, injected something into my thigh, and even laughed at my joke about how the last time I let a doctor give me a shot there, I gained 30 pounds and decided I was never taking a hormonal birth control again. (I actually love this part of going to the doctor. It’s like I have a captive audience to practice my own personal stand-up show.) And then she sent me on my merry way. It was just as painful to get back into the car, but at least, there was supposedly some relief coming soon.

A few days later, I was finally feeling better. And physical therapy was just around the corner (by a couple of weeks, because it takes fucking forever to get an appointment). And now, several weeks later, I’m able to laugh at my little visit to urgent care.

 

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!