Disney+ is coming

We are less than a day from the Disney+ launch we’ve been waiting our entire lives for. This is the streaming service that was truly made for me, as no programming will go unwatched. With that, I’ve decided to provide you with some insights as to what you should probably watch this week when you sign up for Disney+. I’ve also thrown in my wish list on the off chance that the magic makers up there at Disney randomly stumble upon this silly ole blog (though, I’ll be honest — I know nothing about movie rights or distribution stuff, so like…I get it. Sort of).

Sitting in a chair in the middle of a garden waiting for Disney Plus to Drop
Don’t mind me — I’m just over here waiting for Disney Plus to drop some movies and TV shows.

New content I’m anxiously awaiting

The World According to Jeff Goldblum.

We already know I think he’s one of the three sexiest men alive. He could literally watch paint dry and ramble about it, and I’d be first in line to listen. I think this MIGHT be my first watch on the service (after I cry my eyes out seeing almost everything I’ve ever loved from Disney — more on the almost later).

Noelle

Wait. Okay. I lied. THIS is going to be the first thing I watch. It’s been snowing in Chicago since the last week of October. Christmas is here, motherfuckers (don’t @ me). Also, I love a Christmas movie, and I’m very much looking forward to a Christmas hero — who isn’t a dude — resonating deep in the caverns of my soul. Plus Anna Kendrick is pure magic.

The Imagineering Story

I love a good documentary, and one that’s about Disney Parks? I’m so here for it. When I love something as fully as I love Walt Disney World, I want to know everything about it. All the secrets, the backstage magic, the stories, the details. Everything. Having been on both the Marceline to the Magic Kingdom and Keys to the Kingdom tours at Walt Disney World, I am really looking forward to this deep dive into the parks. I could watch content like this all day long.

Classic content that I am so here for

Willow

This is definitely first-week viewing material. Adventure, magic, and Warwick Davis. I have so much nostalgia for this film, but I haven’t seen it since I was a child. I’m really looking forward to diving into this magical rabbit hole of memories.

The Princess Diaries

Anne Hathaway lives out my dreams of discovering her true identity as a princess and I couldn’t be more here for it. I’m looking forward to catching some serious couch time watching her transformation and subsequent love stories unfold. Again and again and again.

Lizzie McGuire

Someone asked me if they thought this show would hold up watching it as an adult. Honestly, I don’t know if I can be a true judge of this as 1. I’m definitely not an adult. 2. I love terrible things. and 3. I first watched Lizzie as an adult (sort of). It was our college, Saturday-afternoon, too-tired-to-do-anything-else show. So obvi I loved it.

Girl Meets World

Do you remember how obsessed I was when I binge-watched this magic back on the, uh, other streaming service? When I found Riley, it was like coming home. Sure, she was a kid and I was a grown-up. But Riley had so much of my spirit and heart and joy that she is one of the characters I’ve resonated with the most in all of television and movie history. Right up there with Liz Lemon and Clark Griswold, but more. I cannot wait to rewatch this series.

Content I’m hoping Disney brings as a Festivus miracle

Enchanted

One of my all-time favorite princess movies. I first saw Enchanted when it came to DVD, which I bought a lifetime ago. A week later, I made my best friend buy the Blu Ray version for his fancy Blu Ray player so we could watch the interactive quiz version. It was everything. I need this on my streaming service!

Flash Forward

Does anyone else even remember Flash Forward? And I’m not talking about the sci-fi TV show from 2009. I’m talking about the 1995 Disney/ABC show featuring Jewel Staite, whom I have loved ever since this and Space Cases (but that’s a show from another network) in the 90s. Anyways, Flash Forward was wonderful and I used to binge-watch it before binge-watching was a real thing. I vividly remember staying up all night watching reruns on The Disney Channel. Pretty please bring this baby to Disney+.

The Mighty Ducks

Listen, I grew up in the 80s and 90s. This trilogy of movies was everything. Sports movies were cool. Kids who were bad at sports were cool. By proxy, I also was cool. I haven’t seen these movies in decades, so I am ready to see if they hold up twenty years later. Gimme that flying V, Disney! Quack!

3 Ninjas

The first movie in this series was a Touchstone win. I still remember quoting every line of this movie and wishing I was also a ninja. And now I’m going to be over here chanting, “Rocky loves Emily” until Disney makes this movie available for streaming.

Well, gang, I’ve got a lot of Disney to watch (and only about 12 hours left to get everything else finished before my Disney-induced hibernation) so that’s all for now! What will you be watching first on Disney Plus? Are you already signed up for the streaming service or are you holding off? Let me know in the comments (and of course, I’m all for suggestions of what to watch next!)

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!

Full-size candy bars for everyone

When I was nine or ten years old, my younger cousin and I went out trick-or-treating together. I was always a little bigger growing up and looked much older when compared with my petite cousin who was already three years my junior. Add some Halloween makeup, and I might have passed for a teenager.

It was cold and rainy most of our Halloweens, and I liked the concept of free candy. So I would push Rachel to keep going, despite freezing in our costumes and occasionally being soaking wet Halloween rats.

“But Rachel,” I would tell her, “They feel sorry for us! Look how much candy each house gives us!”

Bowl after bowl of Halloween candy got dumped into our bags, until one house.

I will never forget the older woman who looked at me with a scathing grimace. Her words were jarring to a little girl, and I’m sure they were part of the reason I hated my growing body so much.

“No, Mom. I only give candy to kids, and I already gave your daughter candy.”

Yes, she called me, a ten-year-old child, “Mom.” Yes, she believed I was my cousin’s mom. And yes she was wrong on so many levels, I can’t even count them all.

This woman lived across the street from me, but never noticed us playing in the yard. Or the street (kickball, anyone?). Or in other people’s yards. And she refused to give me candy, thinking I was my cousin’s mother.

Now that Brian and I are adults with a house of our own, we don’t care who comes to our door. We don’t care whether they have costumes or look like parents. We don’t care what their treat bag looks like (did you know a pillowcase is one of the most sustainable options?). If they ask, they get candy.

Last year we started a tradition of handing out full-size candy bars. And that tradition will continue. Because Halloween is supposed to be fun for everyone. So I recommend doing what you can to make Halloween special for everyone. Because the world is crazy and people are fighting over who deserves basic human rights, let’s stop worrying about who gets candy on Halloween. And if you don’t want to be nice to everyone, might I recommend putting out a no candy sign?

These days, Brian is responsible for candy duty, because I still take the kids trick-or-treating. I tell Rachel’s children the story of rain and cold, as I push them to trudge along and procure more candy. “In our day, we counted how many pieces of candy we received!” And now my niece, who is very much like me in many regards, will likely count her candy and maybe even swim in it once we return to my aunt’s house.

“The Auntie Chrissy tax is Almond Joy,” I’ll also remind them. Because Auntie Chrissy wants candy too.

What do you do for Halloween? Trick-or-treating or candy duty or neither? Let me know!

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!

Five super easy and comfortable last-minute Halloween costumes for women

Halloween is a little over a week away! Can you believe it came so fast? I certainly cannot. October flies like a witch on a broom if you asked me. It’s one of my favorite months (May, September, and December also making the list), but there’s so much to do and see and watch and read and WEAR.

As we’re now in crunch time, I thought I’d offer up a few new — and super easy — last-minute Halloween costume ideas that you can whip together lickety split (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase!) For your next costume party, trick-or-treating adventure, Disney World trip, or, you know, everyday cosplay. (Note: this post has some affiliate links, which means any purchases you make may earn me a few pennies of commission with no added cost to you).

Grab and go skater dresses

You know I love me some skater dresses. They make Halloween and con cosplay immeasurably easier for me. Here are a couple of my recent favorites that TV Store Online sent me to play with (in exchange for my honest review).

Chewbacca costume

I already reviewed this Chewbacca dress in my Galaxy’s Edge style post, but I will add that this puppy (pun intended) got a lot of compliments. Add a Chewbacca mask to complete the ensemble.

Kelly Kapowski costume

My latest dress from TV Store Online is this amazing Bayside High cheer uniform. I’m literally obsessed.

For this look, I did a mashup of Kelly Kapowski if she decided to make her look a little edgier. But, you know, still complete with cheerleader vibes.

I love this dress. Love. Love. Love. I’m wear a 2X, and it’s super stretchy and quite honestly much longer than I expected it to be, considering it’s a juniors size dress.

The top of the dress is maroon dyed fabric, and the skirt of the dress is white fabric brushed with a layer of color (if you stretch it too much, you can see the white come through) for the bottom rings of the skirt.

Maybe that shadow is Zack Morris. You don’t know.

What would really make this costume, though would be a set of maroon and white 90s style pom-pons and white Keds.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costume

And, while I didn’t get this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles skater dress from TV Store Online, you can find it — and Raf’s three turtle brothers available in a variety of sizes for a fun and easy group costume. Katana, bo, sai, and nunchucks not included.

You still have time to order these super cool skater dresses — and other kickin’ costumes online, and if you’re really in pinch, you can pay extra for expedited shipping, which will get them to your day in a couple short days.

Thrift-store and closet costumes

If you didn’t know, I am a master of thrifting and a recovering shopaholic. So I have a lot of clothes. I also have a Fabletics addiction, and occassionally supplement looks with pieces from Amazon that I know will get a lot of use (I am genuinely trying to keep new clothing purchases to a minimum for the sake of our world, but in full disclosure I want you to know that I am still not 100% there). These costumes use what you already have in your closet, can be found by thrifting or by purchasing items that complement your existing wardrobe.

Boo from Monster’s Inc

I wore this to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and it was the perfect comfy costume for the evening!

A flowy coral/pink shirt dress, a park of lilac leggings, pigtails, and a teddy bear are all you need to complete this easy costume. The leggings are Fabletics, and the shirt was this Amazon find.

Sid from Toy Story costume

If you look closely, that skull is made entirely of cats.

Got a skeleton in your closet? Or at least a black tee shirt with a skull on it? That, a pair of jeans, and black chucks are all you need for this character costume. Bonus points if you have a toy you can rip the head off.

So there you have it. A few random and awesome Halloween costumes so you don’t show up to your next Halloween party as the only one without a costume.

Do you already have a costume or are you winging it? What’s the best costume you’ve ever created?

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!

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

I’ll be honest: I have only seen Maleficent once, five years ago, when it first came out and I reviewed it here on the blog. I’ve watched Sleeping Beauty a few times since, and I guess that means I didn’t love it as much as I thought I did. That didn’t stop my excitement for the sequel, though. Angelina Jolie really was made to play this iconic role, who I have loved since childhood. She toggles between venerable victim and vengeful villain beautifully.

Angelina Jolie captures the essence of Maleficent

Humans are mostly horrible. And Maleficent has every right to become the Mistress of Evil with no need for a redemption arc. That’s the primary message I took away from the movie that was more Lord of the Rings than Disney classic, but let’s start at the beginning.

The movie opens with a trio of nefarious men, creeping through the forest. It transitions from this human darkness to the vibrant and colorful Moors, where Maleficent has made Aurora a barefoot, wildflower queen of the fairies (her human status notwithstanding). Five years after the events of the first film, Prince Philip wishes to marry Aurora, and Maleficent still can’t stand him.

And then, his parents invite them to dinner. Amusing hijinks ensue as Maleficent prepares to meet the parents, even though Philip’s entire kingdom is still apparently terrified of her. In the first twenty-ish minutes of the movie, I laughed quite a few times.

Michelle Pfieffer is a fierce and unyielding Ingrith

Once we meet Ingrith, Philip’s scheming, diabolical mother, the movie transforms into an epic fantasy war with destruction, desecration of lands, and plots of full-on genocide. These scenes take their time, slowly laboring through motivation, miscommunication, and historical context. Michelle Pfieffer kills it (literally) as the evil queen with the saccharine disposition. One of the highlights for me was her secret lair entrance, where she has to break a mannequin’s neck to open sesame.

Aurora doubts her godmother the first chance she gets, which sends Maleficent packing, swearing off the child she practically raised, leaving Ingrith take the helm. Elle Fanning’s Aurora gives me pause to question why I love the character as much as I do, because she feels very wishy washy between the human and magical worlds and it’s difficult to read her emotions.

Ell Fanning’s Aurora doesn’t quite know where to stand

The final battle is brutal and long with a confusing resolution, and I’m still not sure what happened to some of the characters. If you don’t think about it too hard, it’s a perfectly lovely ending, complete with some “make it pink, make it blue” references. And I still wish the three fairies were more like their animated counterparts.

Overall, I liked it. But if I learned anything from the last Maleficent movie, it’s that I will probably not watch it again (at least for many years). Much like Lord of the Rings, it’s slow and dark, and I just want to fill my world with joy.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, starring Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfieffer, and Elle Fanning opens in theaters Friday, October 18

I recommend the movie with caution. If you like Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and other fantasy epics, you will probably enjoy this one. If you’re looking for something lighthearted and whimsical, you’ll be disappointed in nearly everything after the first 20 minutes. This movie has a PG rating, but I’m really glad I didn’t take my 8-year-old niece with me on this adventure. Because it is dark. So so so dark.

Are you excited to see Maleficent 2: Mistress of Evil? Have you seen it? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

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!

Wedding bloopers: The funniest pics from our wedding day

Three years ago today, my house was filling up with my bridal party and family. We were doing all the things you do before your wedding, like slamming bagels and shmear, drinking champagne, and hurriedly trying to get last-minute details nailed down as Brian snuck out to escape the insanity.

Three years ago, I married the best partner in the history of ever in a cheese-themed wedding with a ginormous bridal party and an epic dance-a-thon.

And now, three years later, I feel it’s only right and fair to share the best photos from the entire shindig. The funniest photos from our wedding. The wedding bloopers. Clearly, my favorite photos.

Getting ready

hilarious professional wedding photos
Mama Bear wanted me to make a pretty face, but I just wanted to make her laugh. Mission unsuccessful. I’ll try again later.
hilarious professional wedding photos  mom and daughter
Nope, she still wanted to kill me.
funny professional wedding photos Chrissy and her mom making faces at each other
I love you, Mama!
hilarious professional wedding photos  - sloth pajamas
I think I should bring these sloth jams, just in case I need a change of clothes. What do you think?
hilarious professional wedding photos  best friends flipping each other off
Classic Katie and Chrissy

Formal wedding portraits

hilarious professional wedding photos  you're a tiger.
Photographer: You’re a tiger!
Brian: Obviously. Brian’s brother: No.


hilarious professional wedding photos  jump in my arms
Quick! Jump in my arms, despite the fact that I am still getting over a back injury.
hilarious professional wedding photos  dresses stuck together
Uhhh, Chrissy, I’m stuck!
hilarious professional wedding photos  dresses stuck together
I don’t think I can get it. We need help.
hilarious professional wedding photos  dresses stuck together
Brooke legit saved the day.

The ceremony

I literally laughed throughout the entire thing. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever done.

hilarious professional wedding photos  laughing throughout the ceremony
This might be where Q, our officiant made a joke about Christmas trees.
hilarious professional wedding photos  laughing throughout the ceremony
Or maybe it was here…
hilarious professional wedding photos  laughing throughout the ceremony
This was definitely after I skipped past half the vows and just shouted: “I do!”

The dinosaur

No captions necessary.

hilarious professional wedding photos  at a playground
hilarious professional wedding photos  at a playground
hilarious professional wedding photos  at a playground
hilarious professional wedding photos  at a playground
hilarious professional wedding photos  at a playground

Cocktail hour

hilarious professional wedding photos  glaring at an appetizer instead of smiling
This may be my favorite photo from the whole wedding. Me, staring longingly at my bacon-wrapped date while hugging Brian’s cousin.
hilarious professional wedding photos  parents caught off guard
My parents are legit the cutest.

Cutting the cheese

hilarious professional wedding photos  laughing while cutting the cheese wedding cake made of cheese wheels
The rind was SO HARD to cut into, I laughed the whole time
hilarious professional wedding photos  laughing while cutting the cheese wedding cake made of cheese wheels
No, I’m not choking. And the cheese was delicious. I was probably still laughing.
hilarious professional wedding photos  laughing while cutting the cheese wedding cake made of cheese wheels
Everyone is watching me eat cheese. This is amazing.

Time after time

Katie and I have danced the Romy and Michelle dance at every wedding we’ve ever been to together. So I made it an official bridal party dance. It started with Katie, TBCIII and me, and then everyone else joined in. And it was epic.

hilarious professional wedding photos: Dancing to Time After Time from Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion
hilarious professional wedding photos: Dancing to Time After Time from Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion
hilarious professional wedding photos: Dancing to Time After Time from Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion
hilarious professional wedding photos: Dancing to Time After Time from Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion

Dance party

hilarious professional wedding photos: Candid dancing photos
Go away, new husband. Gotta dance with my APO brother and mentor.
hilarious professional wedding photos: Candid dancing photos
There are at least 7 photos of me hiking my dress above my knees because my dress was too long.
hilarious professional wedding photos: Candid dancing photos
Bat dress
hilarious professional wedding photos: Candid dancing photos
Probably Livin on a Prayer. Probably.
hilarious professional wedding photos: Candid dancing photos
Definitely Paradise by the Dashboard Lights
hilarious professional wedding photos: Candid dancing photos
And scene.

Our wedding was a blur, but this life we’ve made together hasn’t been. I will continue to soak in all the beauty, magic, and joy that Brian brings to my world and celebrate every day like it’s our anniversary.

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!

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Walt Disney World

Woah.

Like literally. Woah. Joey Lawrence circa 1994 WOAH.

I gave you a sneak peek of our Galaxy’s Edge experience last week when I talked about my Star Wars Style, but this week I’m going to tell you everything I can about your first visit to Batuu.

If you didn’t already know, I’m a Walt Disney World annual passholder. And at some point in the last year, I managed to convert TBC3 over to passholder status as well. In this time, Disney announced they would be offering previews to passholders for the opening of Galaxy’s Edge. It was on a first-come, first-serve basis, so as soon as the email went out, I got on the site. I waited for what seemed like an eternity until the virtual queue took me to the registration page.

I couldn’t get reservations at Oga’s Cantina (but we have one coming in September!) or Savi’s workshop (I don’t expect that I would have been able to rationalize the $200 for a build-your-own-lightsaber experience anyways), but I did manage to snag us a preview slot which guaranteed a ride on the Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.

Tom and I decided that if we could score a cheap hotel and flight, we’d go. A $100 round trip flight on United and $100/night on-property resort meant that we were definitely going to Batuu.

We arrived in Orlando the morning of our preview, Magical Expressed to our hotel and checked in. We hit up the Magic Kingdom for Space Mountain, the People Mover, and a Mickey pretzel before heading to Hollywood Studios. Our reservation was for 5 PM, but we were waved through at about 4:30 with ease.

Immersive Experience

By far, my favorite thing about Galaxy’s Edge is the incredible amount of detail that went into every little piece of the land. From the epic infrastructure to the cast member back stories, I’m here for all of it.


When you walk into the land, you truly feel like you’re stepping onto another planet.

I love sassing stormtroopers in Galaxy's Edge

I love sassing stormtroopers in Galaxy’s Edge


My Galaxy’s Edge outfit choice definitely made an impact on the CM interactions that I got. Several characters came up to me while I was wearing the Chewbacca dress I received from TV Store Online and invited me to join the resistance. They knew a good wookie when they saw one.

But each cast member will tell you what planet they are from and give you a story if you let them. Ask questions. Talk about the land. See what little nuggets you can uncover. Spend time exploring and learning about Batuu, because the experience is what this world is all about.

Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run

This attraction is amazing. We rode it three times so we could experience every role available. The queue is full of detail and story. Take in all of the visual artistry as you wait. Once you get into the attraction, there’s a short presentation with a mix of animatronics and video introducing you to the mission. Then you wall through a door and get assigned a role.


Our first time through, we waited 45 minutes and took the first thing they gave us: engineer. On our second ride, we waited 15 minutes and requested engineer. On our third ride, we, along with 50 other people, waited 0 minutes until we got to the assignment line and waited for pilot.


Then they usher you into an open waiting room, where you’re free to wander or lounge at the table until your team is called.


Our first two sets of pilots were awesome and the ride wasn’t too dizzying (I get vertigo). But when Tom and I took the helm, we (mostly me) were flying the ship all over the place. There was only one other person with us because of the aformentioned people waiting for pilot, and she had no idea what was going on, so we just laughed the entire time.


Even if you get a bad pilot (🙋🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️) or people who don’t know what they’re doing, you can still have fun. Sure it’s kind of a game with a score, but it’s also just a fun attraction. Enjoy it. Laugh more.

Food and drinks

We ate at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, the quick-service spot with a dining hall. Tom had the kids’ fried endorian tip-yip (fried chicken with mac and cheese) and I had the kids’ yobshrimp noodle salad (shrimp and noodles with veggies). Yes, we order kids’ meals (which come with drinks btw) — it’s one of the ways we keep our spending down…or save money for dessert…

Kids' Yobshrimp noodle salad at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge

Kids’ Yobshrimp noodle salad at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge


Both entrees were tasty, albeit simple. The shrimp and noodles was a very tiny portion, but perfect if you just want a taste (or you want to get dessert, which I did).

Oi Oi Puff at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge

Oi Oi Puff at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge


The real stars of the meal were the desserts. I had the oi-oi puff (a raspberry filled cream puff topped with passion fruit mousse) and Tom had the Batuu-bon (chocolate cake with coffee flavored cream).

Batuu-bon at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge

Batuu-bon at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge


The Batuu-bon was good, but the oi-oi puff will likely become one of my must-eats at WDW.

Ronto Roasters Menu at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge

Ronto Roasters Menu at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge


At Docking Bay 7, you can also get roasted chicken, ribs, pot roast, and a plant-based meatloaf dealie. You can also grab a quick meal or snack at Ronto Roasters, a quick-service stand that serves wraps and jerky. And if you just want something light to munch on, Kat Saka’s Kettle offers colorful popcorn.



In the drinks department, you’ve got the Milk Stand, where you’ll find blue and green milk. Both are fruity and sweet. We liked both, but not enough to really order them again. We both agreed that green was the superior milk, though for me, there wasn’t a big gap. Blue is sweeter, like a Hawaiian punch and green is more citrusy, though I can see why people say it’s got a floral flavor. Neither can hold a flame to LeFou’s Brew or the new Red’s Revenge, which is where my money will be allocated.


And finally, there’s Oga’s Cantina, which we did not get to visit because there were no available reservations. I will update you in two weeks when we return for our advanced dining reservation!

Photo ops

There are so many incredible places to snap a photo, I don’t even know where to begin. The land is full of amazing backdrops and photopass photographers everywhere you turn.


There are magic shots with porgs (in the front of Galaxy’s Edge near the main entrance) and TIE fighters (near the First Order area).


And every photographer wants you to use the force in at least one photo.


If you’re a big fan of Memory Maker or Disney Photo Pass, Batuu is full of talent!

Shopping

So the other major thing you can do in Galaxy’s Edge is add to your merch collection. They have two interactive build-your-own shops: Savi’s Workshop takes reservations and will set you back a couple hundred dollars for a custom-made lightsaber and Droid Depot (which I believe also takes resos) will set you back about $100(+) for a customized droid. The plus is for add-ons like personality chips. The droids aren’t really designed to roll around the ground at Galaxy’s Edge,  so if you buy one and want the personality chip interaction with cast members, you should plan on carrying your new bundle of robot joy around the park.


There are LOTS of shopping opportunities in Galaxy’s Edge. A couple of walk-in stores and then a market of small shops, some selling beautiful robes and costumes, others selling toys, collectibles, and more. One of the best things I saw though was a shopping limit per person.

Merch at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge in Walt Disney World

Limit of one item per item per person on collectibles at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

Each person can purchase one of each item available. This keeps ebayers at bay at least a littld bit, which means limited edition merchandise won’t sell out super fast to resellers. Hallelujah! (I really don’t like when people buy something JUST to resell it right away for a huge uptick in price).

I managed to leave without spending a dime on merchandise, but your mileage may vary, so I wanted to let you know there are lots of really cool items for sale.

Are you excited for Galaxy’s Edge? What are you most looking forward to? When are you planning on visiting? Tell me everything in the comments.

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!

What to wear to Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Well, this week has been quite the whirlwind! Tom and I managed to snag tickets to the Walt Disney World annual passholder preview for Galaxy’s Edge, and I have a full trip report coming next week, so make sure you’re subscribed for email updates.

Today, I’m talking about Star Wars style at Disney. Because when you head to Batuu, you’ll definitely want to get into the jedi spirit. I don’t say this solely because I like playing with fashion and style, but because it is 100% part of the experience. The cast member interaction is incredible, and the right outfit can actually enhance the interaction to the point where cast members will start talking to you about the resistance and the first order.

Now, because this is a part of Disney World, you still have to follow Disney’s rules regarding what is and isn’t allowed. Costumes are only allowed for guests ages 14 and under, with the notable exception of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, a separate ticketed event in the Magic Kingdom. And while you can buy some pretty amazing-looking cloaks, robes, and fighter pilot costumes in Batuu, you can’t actually wear them in the parks.

With that in mind, there are still a few different types of looks you can choose if you want to get into the spirit of Galaxy’s Edge (and ideally secure some of those fun cast member interactions).

Graphic tees and Star Wars symbols

Obviously, a Star Wars graphic tee will always fit in and absolutely has its place in Galaxy’s Edge. You can also wear other Star Wars branded clothing, like skater dresses and skirts with one of the many symbols of the various alliances in the Star Wars ‘verse.

Chrissy wearing a Star Wars Dress in Magic Kingdom

You can probably see the R2D2 and C3P0, but can you spot all the rebel alliance symbols?

What about the armies of R2 units disguised as flowers?I thought about wearing this low-key HerUniverse skater dress (I did see other ladies wearing it in the park), but two in-park outfit changes was already stretching my 4-hour time budget, and I was really excited about the other two looks.

Costume-y skater dresses

One of my favorite ways around the no-costume rule is to wear a skater dress inspired by a character. You can find all sorts of fun cosplay-light looks that won’t break the bank or the Disney rules. My first outfit in Batuu was this AMAZING Chewbacca skater dress. I received this dress from my friends over at TV Store Online (who like to send me quirky things to wear to random events like Jury Duty and other epic places) in order to provide an honest opinion of it, and I absolutely love it! I considered getting the non-furry Chewbacca version of the skater dress, but then I remembered how extra I am, and if I was going to Batuu, I was going big.

Wearing a Chewbacca dress in Disney World Star Wars Galaxy's Edge

The cast member guarding this part of Batuu told me there was a top-secret resistance mission coming in December, and they could use someone like me to join their cause. I fully believe my Chewbacca dress was the reason she initiated the conversation.

So there I was, wearing a fur dress in August in Florida. Granted, it was after 4 PM, so the midday sun was fading, but it was still a toast position to be in. In fact another cast member walked up to me and told me, “Batuu has three moons…and three suns.” And then she looked at me like I was insane.

Chrissy in a Chewbacca dress in Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Batuu Disney World

Taking in all three suns

To be perfectly honest, gang, I had every intention of putting the dress on (which I did in the middle of Batuu over the neon green tank top and shorts I was wearing under my Buzz Lightyear Disneybound) and taking it off immediately after a few solid photo opps. But something surprising happened. I never overheated. I didn’t even feel that warm. There were fans blowing in the land, creating a nice breeze. The interior shops and spaces had A/C blowing, and I was keeping myself SUPER hydrated. I also refrained from drinking alcohol (a must for me when it’s as hot as Florida is in the summer).

Wearing a Chewbacca dress waiting to ride the Millenium Falcon

I felt right at home in the Millenium Falcon.

And so I spent two+ hours in the dress. We rode the Millenium Falcon, took lots of photos, had dinner, and wandered the shops. It was comfortable, looked AWESOME, and provided countless opportunities to engage with cast members. I also got a lot of compliments, which is always a confidence booster. I would have worn it the entire time if I wasn’t carrying around a backpack full of clothes, including a skirt I was super stoked about.A couple things to note about the dress: it is furry, so it does shed a little. It is also a little snug in the arms, so I recommend sizing up if you are able.

Disneybounding

The last look you can use, and my all-time favorite way to dress up in the parks and at home, is to Disneybound a character from the movies.I found the most perfect skirt while thrifting a few months back, and I knew it would be a perfect way to check out Batuu. I only had to find a character that would work. After much Googling, I came across the scene of Padme Amidala packing for Naboo. And I knew what I needed to find: a sparkly tank to wear under a black vest I already owned.

Senator Padme Amidala packing for Naboo dress in Attack of the Clones

I was super excited to put together my thrifted outfit once I found the perfect black and silver sequin top just days before leaving for Batuu.

It was comfortable, breezy and looked fun in Disney Photopass shots, but it didn’t get as much uninitiated interaction from cast members.

Are you excited for Galaxy’s Edge in Florida (or even California)? What would you wear to Batuu? Let me know in the comments 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!

When you’re ashamed of your alma mater

I graduated from Glenbard East in Lombard, Illinois in 2001. This is the place that I spent four years of my life a few lifetimes ago. I was an enthusiastic, involved athlete and student during my time there. I was a cheerleader for two and a half seasons, a student leader, member of the choir, president of an organization, and active member of several other groups.

But now, my alma mater has made national news. They’re trending for publicly shaming young women for wearing tank tops to school in the hot humidity of the midwest in a school whose relationship with air conditioning has typically been spotty at best.

Like the female students humiliated last week, I was also shamed for what I wore nearly 20 years ago. But I was not given a scarlet letter to wear. I was forced to don a school sweatshirt from my locker in 90-degree heat, because “girls with women’s bodies” can’t wear things like sleeveless tops and overalls — these were things my school friends wore with no issue.

The dress code violation is that of showing someone’s back and shoulders…

Two cheerleaders at the Glenbard East High School Homecoming dance 2000 in formalwear and cowboy hats.
This was my bestie and I at the Fall 2000 Glenbard East homecoming dance. I wonder how the school plans to enforce a no-shoulders allowed dress code for that school-sanctioned event this fall.

It’s hard for me to stomach that things have not only not improved at this school, THEY’VE GOTTEN WORSE. I was appalled to hear about the first day of school ambush from the mostly male administration and that the two females on the administration — according to the Glenbard East staff website — joined in the enforcement of this antiquated dress code.

In the last few days, I have cried thinking about the young women who were told that their carefully chosen first-day-of-school outfits were inappropriate because they would distract their male peers from learning. As if forcing girls to wear construction orange tee-shirts complete with the dress-code violation branding (Dean Rental) would eliminate distraction from the classroom. 

Way to go Glenbard East. I am ashamed to be an alumnus of any institution that would be so cruel to embarrass and publicly shame young women when navigating high school is hard enough. Adults, and especially educators, have a responsibility to inspire and guide young people. They should provide a safe haven from all of the other things that teenagers have to endure. You have so much power, but with great power comes great responsibility. Now, what are you going to do to remedy the situation?

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!

I love you 3000

Yesterday was truly one of the most exciting days ever. I woke up to my Disney alarm at 3:20 AM, brushed my teeth, got dressed, grabbed a camp chair, and jumped in the car. I made it to the Bucktown Best Buy before 4:30 in the morning and prayed I was among the first 100 people in line to pick up my preorder copy of Avengers Endgame, which, after seeing it four times this summer, I can safely say is my favorite movie of all time.

I waited in line with other Avengers superfans and the hours flew by. I sat in my comfy camp chair, took a Cap nap, even walked to the Mariano’s a few blocks away for a bathroom and breakfast break. There seems to be a gentleman’s agreement that the people in line will respect your place in line so you can take care of human needs etc. I was very glad of that being by myself on this particular adventure. It was surprisingly cool when I was napping, and in hindsight I should have brought a light blanket, but otherwise I had everything I needed.

I was in line to meet Joe Russo, who is probably the first director to ever have such a huge impact on me. He was in Chicago as part of the We Love You 3000 tour. With his brother Anthony and writers, Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus, they make a dream team of storytellers that inspire and delight me as an audience member and fellow storyteller.

I kept thinking about the Q&A I had the honor of attending, sitting smack in the center of the front row, on Monday with Joe Russo at The Second City and some of the nuggets of wisdom he imparted on an audience of artists, performers, creators, and filmmakers.

Make the story you want to tell. Make what you believe in. Make what you care about.

-Joe Russo

As someone who is deep in the throes of writing a novel, this particular advice was meaningful in ways I didn’t expect. Hearing it from someone who capped off one of the greatest storytelling events in this lifetime gave it so much more weight than I could have imagined. Avengers Endgame was the twenty-second movie in a ten-year saga of 23 movies. I still get emotional thinking about the events that transpired and the way they were able to truly payoff the set-up they started a decade ago.

He talked about long-form storytelling being the future, as it helps audiences connect with the characters for an emotional payoff you can’t get out of a singular movie. How the actors know their characters better than he ever would and the trust he puts in them to bring those characters to life. This is something Brian and I talk about a lot. We both really hope to see more movie studios picking up on this idea that a series of interconnected stories in a single world can truly immerse audiences and drive interest and excitement.

He answered my question about “I love you 3000” – where it came from (Robery Downey Jr. told them it was a cute thing his daughter said, so they used it) and if they realized the impact it would have on the audience and eventually their marketing plans (they actually found that test audiences loved it so much, they added it to the hologram later, unaware of its potential at the time. He claimed meme culture helps bring one-off lines like this to the front line of movies and TV).

Joe Russo inspires me. And so when I had the opportunity to wait in line to meet him, I took it.

Which returns us to his appearance at Best Buy yesterday.

As they handed out wristbands, I anxiously watched, hoping our counts had been close and we were under 100. It didn’t feel real until they wrapped a blue paper wristband with the number 075 around my left wrist.

They handed out pins and Chicago themed posters with Iron Man (my favorite Avenger) that had me tearing up. They gave out gift bags with McDonald’s toys and Funko Pops for everyone.

In addition to the meet and greet, autograph, and goodie bags, they had actual props that had actual screen time in the movie.

  • Cap’s broken shield.
  • Thor’s axe, Stormbringer.
  • Iron Man’s power source.

I died.

It was truly a dream come to life, and it got even better when it was time to get back in line to meet the storytelling legend himself.

I walked up and shook his hand and told him it was an honor to meet him. He made polite conversation and seemed genuinely kind. He complimented my Captain America shirt twice. He signed everything he could in and on my Bluray case and then told me he would sign an extra poster, “just in case.” It really seemed he knew what it was like to be a fan getting autographs andhe did his best to make it a magical experience for everyone in line, so I like to believe he was there once upon a time too.

I didn’t embarrass myself this time. I didn’t fawn all over him, ramble like a fool, try to touch his chest, or let Brian come so he could say something that gets us death stares. I didn’t cry like I did when I met John Grogan (I should really tell that story). I was cool. I was collected. I was still me and talked the whole time, but would you expect any different?

Overall, this was one of my favorite meet and greets, and it was worth every second of sitting out in the strangely cool humidity for 6 hours.

Have you ever met a celebrity? What was it like? Would you rather wait in line for hours or pay money at a convention to meet someone? Let me know in the comments!

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!

Princess for a day in Kinnitty Castle

After our adventures in Dublin, it was time to kick back and relax in a haunted castle for my birthday (as one does). We rented a car as we made our way out of the city center, and I took the right-sided helm.


A two-minute look at some of our adventures in Kinnitty Castle

For better or worse, we were on our way to one of the many haunted spots in Ireland — and planning to spend two nights in said hotel. Because I had every intention of spending my birthday like the high-maintenance princess that I am.

The drive itself was uneventful, but upon arrival, we got a glimpse of our lodging for the next couple of days.

Why yes, this is where I spent my birthday

With an epic view from the road, Brian and I just kept “holy crapping” our way up to the front gate. This was where we were staying for the night?

We were welcomed to Kinnitty Castle Hotel and told that our room wasn’t quite ready yet, but we made reservations for my birthday dinner the next evening in the hotel restaurant and made our way to the first of two bars in the castle. The Library Bar was a welcoming mish-mosh of weathered furniture (sofas, tables, and chairs) and old tomes lining the shelves.

We quickly discovered the entire place was full of quirky antique decor that added charm to an already incredible venue. I was here for all of it.

We had drinks in the library while we killed time before the Dungeon Bar opened. Upon opening, we made our way downstairs to the dungeon for lunch. Embracing the kitschy theming, we found a dark dungeon nook just waiting for us to occupy it.

Kinnitty Castle Dungeon Bar cellar table
Kinnitty Castle Dungeon Bar

Our bartender/server ended up being our favorite staffer in the hotel (everyone was truly kind, though!) and she spent time telling us about the hotel and just chatting with us about anything and everything. We saw her a few more times throughout our stay and she was wonderfully sweet and engaging. She also promised that the hotel was indeed haunted and that she had her share of spooky moments. I knew then I was going to scare myself into imagining something if nothing ended up being in our room…

Before dinner, we wandered the grounds and planned to take one of the walking loops. We found all sorts of neat slugs and snails (you guys there were seriously slugs every couple of feet and inches in some areas! It was so weird and awesome).

Slugs are so creepy, but they’re also so cool!

And then we accidentally hiked through part of the Slieve Bloom Mountains (we kept getting higher with no turn in sight. Eventually, we turned around to make it back in time before dinner service ended — this turned out to be a common issue in our Ireland travel…food service stops at 9 in most restaurants). If there’s anything Brian and I are good at when we travel, it’s getting ourselves a little lost and calling it an adventure!

That night, we played card games in the Dungeon bar until it closed and then in the library until well past midnight before quietly tiptoeing the creaky floors of our room.

I am kind of obsessed with this gif Brian made. I was deep in focus, and he was royally kicking my ass (hence the death glare). I don’t know if he said something or what, but I just love him.

It was at this point that I started worrying myself into a tizzy. What if there ARE ghosts? Throughout the night (including one wake up in the middle of the night bathroom check), I thought I may have heard creaks and noises, but I am about 90% sure they were all in my head. No hauntings for us. Which, to be honest, was probably for the best since we still had another night left in us.

I woke up the next day to embrace that birthday princess life, and what a magical day it was. I disneybounded as Princess Aurora in two different outfits (of course).

Living that Nap Queen life. Wake up in a castle. Eat. Nap. Repeat.

First, up was breakfast in my Ralph Breaks the Internet loungewear. Breakfast at Kinnitty Castle was amazing. It was definitely the best Irish fry that we had throughout our trip (and omg the brown bread was addictive here). For those who don’t know what an Irish breakfast consists of:

  • Eggs
  • Bangers (Irish breakfast sausage)
  • Rashers (Irish bacon — imagine marrying Canadian bacon to American bacon in one full slice)
  • Black and white pudding (bready sausages, sliced and fried)
  • Some combination of tomatoes, mushrooms, and or onions
  • Baked beans in tomato sauce

Basically, happiness.

After breakfast, I realized I was still beaten up from jet lag and opted for a two-hour nap. Because it was my birthday and I was wearing a shirt that said Nap Queen. It felt appropriate.

Nap time for this princess

We then left our castle to go to another castle (appropriate), Birr, where we toured fancy gardens that reminded me of our arboretum and saw what was, for over 70 years, the largest telescope in the world (science!). The castle itself was still lived in – remember our awesome server in the Dungeon Bar? She told us that her friend used to work at the cafe of Birr Castle and said that the residents of the castle insisted on being called Lord and Lady, and the way she said it had us giggling a little too much.

Princess for a day in Kinnitty Castle

We returned to our home castle in time for an incredible birthday dinner at the Sli Dala (the fine dining restaurant open on the weekends for dinner). This was the best meal that we had in Ireland, and I was in absolute heaven. When they arrived with dessert, they came in singing with a candle in my torte, but Brian was nowhere to be found. They stopped halfway through the first line, and I started laughing.

The server who was holding the cake looked at his empty seat, said, “uhh this is awkward,” and blew the candle out. I told him my husband had stepped out for a minute. Just as they turned around to leave, with me laughing like a hyena, Brian returned to his seat. They started again and I just laughed through the entire thing. It was perfect.

We finished our meal and went down to the bar for live music and after dinner drinks before calling it a night and preparing for the third leg of our trip. Overall it was a fine birthday adventure for this girl, and definitely one I’ll never forget. Level 36, bring it on.

Woke up in a castle. Went to sleep in a castle. Best birthday ever.
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!