I don’t pack light

Let me sing you the song of my people.

I’m a bad decision maker. Decisions are hard. They require a firm stance. Black and white. There’s no gray area in decision making.

I like choices. I like having options. A sliding scale of colors that ranges through the entirety of ROYGBIV and everything in between.

My closet is fully loaded. Though I regularly purge clothes (donating to thrift shops, giving to friends and family or selling on Poshmark and Mercari), I have a closet full of options. Choices. Possibilities. Most of them are at least several years old, and if they’re not, they’re rescued from thrift stores — what I like to call, “new to me.”

I can hardly decide what to wear for the next three hours (even when it’s cozy pajama pants and a matching t-shirt) let alone what I’m going to want to wear for the next five days in a row (when the weather might change drastically). So when I travel, I pack like a boy scout. I am prepared for everything.

The closet assortment unpacked for my current vacation in Marco Island. 6 days, 5 nights at my father-in-law’s home. I also have 4 drawers full of socks, underwear, bras, bathing suits, and pants. What can I say? I like options.

And still, I’m not prepared. I always forget something. I kept throwing items into an underweight suitcase, because I could, but I didn’t need any of them. And I will most assuredly think of something I wish I had with me while gone.

What if…

What If is the true song of my people. The words ringing in my ears like a siren. The fear that I have packed too much and yet also not enough. The constant worry that I did not adequately prepare for a few warm days in the middle of a small island city — a quick respite from the bitter cold of winter in Chicago.

What if…

What if indeed.

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!

A decade ago

I started 2010 with my favorite people in all the world: my family. We played Wii and ate snacks, and my godson spent the night at my house so he could keep playing video games for a few more hours. He fell asleep to The Doctor Seuss Sleep Book sometime around 3 am, just before all hell broke loose.

Drama ensued with a friend’s ex-boyfriend banging on my parents door while a toddler slept on a blanket bed on my floor.

You might say that the decade began with me realizing the things I wanted in my life and seeing clearly the things I didn’t want.

January 3, 2010 brought a trio of bad January 3rds. In 2010, I lost my boyfriend (got dumped). In 2011, I lost my car. And in 2012, I lost my job. I stopped paying attention to dates after that.

2010 was my experimental year. It was the year I said yes to a lot of different things. I tried on boys and friends and jobs like they were DKNY dresses.

“You know it’s not your style, but it’s right there, so you try it on anyway.” -Carrie Baradshaw

I was still obsessed with Carrie Bradshaw, not yet aware that the character was toxic and self-destructive. Not quite realizing that I, too, was a little on the self-destructive side.

I chased boys instead of dreams. I spread drama instead of joy. I let others dictate who I was instead of shouting from the rooftops that I was the only me there would ever be.

2010 Chrissy and her baby brother

And then on December 15, 2010, I met someone who would become the catalyst that helped me uncover and fall in love with my true self. He didn’t change me. He wasn’t the reason for my transformation. But he did light a fire inside me. A fire that longed to know who I am and what I wanted. A fire that gave me permission to change my mind and build on the dreams I’ve always had with the dreams I create for tomorrow. I am a dreamer, and I will never stop dreaming.

I’ve spent nearly a decade with Brian, and time seems to both fly and last forever – each in the best possible way.

So thanks, 2010s. I still don’t know how to refer to you (the tens? The teens? The 2010s?), but I do know you made me a better, stronger me. You helped me get back to my roots and chase the dreams I’ve long been afraid to chase.

And for the record, I’m still glad I was a boy chaser in the 2000s/aughts/whatever, because we all know I had to chase Brian to the end of a Myers-Briggs test before he finally asked me out.

Happy new year friends! Hope the decade is full of joy and laughter!I know mine was full of joy and laughter…and sadness too.

Here’s a “quick” decade in review after that first year of the teens:

  • 2011: Got a new car
  • 2011: Snowmaggedon
  • 2011: Started dating Brian
  • 2011: Quit the restaurant/bar business forever
  • 2011: Decided I didn’t want to be a teacher
  • 2011:Got my first job in marketing
  • 2012: I was laid off from a job for the first time ever
  • 2012: Brian and I took our first vacation together
  • 2012: I started this blog
  • 2012: I made friends all over the internet
  • 2012: Brian’s mom got sick
  • 2012: I went back to Disney World (and dragged Brian) for the first time in over a decade
  • 2012: Brian and I moved into our first apartment
  • 2013: I started a new marketing job in the city working for Sears
  • 2013: We lost Brian’s mom because cancer is the worst
  • 2013: I started making money on this little blog
  • 2013: Our apartment tried to kill me (and I learned I am highly affected by mold and doctors are the worst)
  • 2014: We moved out of death apartment and temporarily into Brian’s childhood home
  • 2014: We bought a house
  • 2015: I left my job at Sears and started a new gig as a content editor
  • 2015: I lost another car
  • 2015: We got engaged
  • 2016: I attended my first Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop and realized I was, in fact, a feminist
  • 2016: Brian and I were married on a beautiful Friday afternoon in September in a sea of pink and teal
  • 2016: We went to Europe (France, Belgium, and Disneyland Paris)
  • 2016: The world changed a lot with a single election.
  • 2017: I left my job and started chasing all the dreams
  • 2017: Went to Disney World with my family for the first time in 20 years for mom’s 60th birthday
  • 2018: I attended the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop and was inspired to take my first class at The Second City
  • 2018: We adopted our puppy, Lady Nymeria Stark (Nia) and filled our house with joy (and barking)
  • 2018: I had my first several improv performances at The Second City and improved my writing tenfold
  • 2018: I became a WDW annual passholder
  • 2019: I finished the Improv A-E program at The Second City
  • 2019: Brian and I traveled to Ireland and visited the places his parents hailed from.
  • 2019: I auditioned for and got into The Second City music improv program
  • 2019: I started taking classes at Westside Improv
Nearly 2020 Chrissy. Bring. It. On.

Tonight, Brian and I will ring in the next decade together. One of the firsts we haven’t yet shared with each other. We’ll be among friends with a roaring twenties theme and bottles of bubbles.

And I’ll leave you with my hope for your new year. I wish you the best of the next decade and hope that you chase your dreams and live them out. May magic find you every day and may joy fill your hearts.

Happy New Year, friends. Joy and laughter always.

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!

Stocking stuffers under $25

I have always loved little things. When I was a child, I used to make my brother play a game called “Little Things.” We would drag out all of our tiny toys into the hallway and basically cage match them with each other. It was amazing.

So stockings were also always a big deal for us (me, anyways). I love finding fun little gifts in my stocking, but what I love even more? Filling stockings! I fill stockings for all of my nieces and nephews every year. I fill a stocking for Brian. And sometimes, I fill a random stocking for someone else on my gift list.

Stockings are basically a super versatile gift wrap. And I love them. So here are some fun (and some practical) stocking stuffer ideas. The usual note: any purchases from links may or may not be affiliate links that I earn a commission from. It costs you nothing but makes a huge difference for me and this little blog. So thanks for supporting my dreams.

Fun stocking stuffers

For games to pop in the big sock, check out my travel-friendly games gift guide because any of the 15+ games I talked about will fit in a stocking. For more ideas, read on.

Funko Pop Keychains

$4-$11

Funko Pop mickey and minnie key chain

Pick your favorite fandom and go wild. I used to think Funko Pop dolls were weird, but then they grew on me, and now I’m hooked. Plus these Funko keychains are so cute!

Tiny plush sloth full of happiness

$7

Plush sloth

I just love this little guy. Also, I love Christmas with cute little sloths all over my house. You can also find other tiny plushes from Aurora World to fit the needs (and favorite animals) of your giftee.

Fairy lights

$7 for two sets

Fairy lights

These silly little lights are mult-functional and perfect for anyone who likes to decorate with lights, create fun crafty projects, or wants to make their own light-up clothing.

Metal Earth metal puzzle kits

$6-$18

Praying mantis metal earth puzzle kit

I bought this praying mantis for Brian a couple of years ago, and it was SO COOL. Also, it was fun to watch him put it together. You can also find a Cinderella pumpkin carriage on ShopDisney.

Nostalgic stocking stuffers

You didn’t think that I was done with games, did you? I have a couple more silly and fun toys and games that I received from my friends at Goliath Games up my sleeve that are PERFECT stocking stuffers for anyone who grew up in the nineties.

Legends of the Hidden Temple game

$13

Legends of the Hidden Temple is a super fun party game

This game is ridiculously fun. If you remember watching the Blue Barracudas dominating on Nickelodeon, this is a must-get gift. It’s a party game with activity task elements that pull from some of your favorite college drinking games for a double-down on nostalgia. Alcohol not required or included…but maybe encouraged.

Oregon Trail: Hunt for Food

$15

The Oregon Trail: Hunt for Food

The follow-up to the first Oregon Trail card game, Hunt for Food now with five new ways to die! There’s something about The Oregon Trail that will never stop getting me, and I love that these games from Goliath do my favorite childhood computer game memories justice. Don’t worry. You’ll probably die of dysentery.

Glowbots

$25

Goliath Games Glowbots

These little DC dudes are like Funko Pop meets Litebrite and I am loving them. Obvi, Wonder Woman is a star, but the joker is also a winner because everyone loves villains.* They’re ideal stocking stuffers for kids, grown-ups, and everyone in between. These are perfect for anyone who loves superheroes, the DC universe, and collectibles.

*Chrissy loves villains.

Practical stocking stuffers

When I was a kid, socks and underwear seemed like the worst gifts ever. But then I became a grown-up with a job and life, and all of a sudden, I wanted socks and underwear as a gift. Particularly socks. So these stocking stuffers are practical and useful and awesome.

Sheec no-show socks

$10 (Save 15% off your first order with my code: Quirky)

Sheec no-show socks that won't slip off

I am obsessed with these socks. Obsessed. They are truly the best non-slip, no-show socks ever, and I’ve tried quite a few brands. They are available for both men and women in two different fabric types: the Secret 2.0, an ultra-thin nylon material with a cotton sole for dress shoes and The ActiveX, an antibacterial modal for casual sneakers. They come in varying visibility from ultra-low to high (which is still low enough to hide inside most of my shoes). These socks would make a perfect gift for just about anyone who wears sneakers, dress shoes, and even sandals. I did receive some samples from them as part of an affiliate partnership, but I was already a huge fan when I reached out to them earlier this year.

Aqua Notes Waterproof notepad

$10

Aqua notes waterproof note pad

Practical AND fun. This is great for a writer or doodler. I initially bought these because some of my best ideas happen in the shower (don’t everyone’s?), but it turns out, they’re also really fun for leaving messages for anyone who shares your shower. I’d like to tell you Brian and I leave cute little love notes for each other, but really, when my bestie comes to stay at our house, that’s when the magic happens. Brian has his own shower, but Ally uses mine. And then she leaves me love notes. Because of course, she does. Anyways. Kick-ass stocking stuffer right here. Fun for everyone.

Multitool

$13

Multitools make great stocking stuffers

I always end up getting Brian some type of multitool in his stocking. He loves the functionality and portability of them…even if it means he has half a dozen on hand at any given time.

Eco-friendly stocking stuffers

I’ve been trying really hard to make my life a little bit more sustainable. Nobody’s perfect, and it is a constant learning process, but these are a few things I’ve been using to be a little more conscious of my single-use plastics and the environment overall. They’ll all make fantastic gifts for people looking to make changes in their shopping and consumption habits. Okay, fine, these are practical too.

Reusable travel silverware set

$13

Reusable stainless steel rainbow silverware trave set

This exact set is on my wishlist right now because 1. it’s ADORABLE and 2. it matches my actual rainbow kitchen flatware. You’re welcome. Anyone trying to minimize their carbon footprint will appreciate a travel silverware set in their stocking.

Makeup Eraser

$20 (Use code SUSTAINABILITY for 20% off)

Makeup eraser reusable makeup removing cloth

I have not tried this particular brand yet (I use a similar product: the Norwex face cloths right now), but I have friends who swear by it. I do want to try this cloth because it looks a lot softer than the Norwex (which has more of a leathery texture). Both are lovely gift ideas and stocking stuffers to boot.

Reusable produce bags

$20

Reusable produce bags fit nicely in stockings

I love fresh produce, but I hate that every individual item needs to be in its own separate bag. Once I discovered these reusable beauties, though, I was hooked. I can pack my produce, store it, and then wash these bags when the surplus of produce inevitably goes bad in my fridge (I know. I already mentioned there’s a learning curve).

Well gang, that’s a wrap for gift guides this year (though I will be pulling several of the items from this year’s guides for a YouTube video next week). Thanks for joining me on this super fun online shopping journey. If you’re looking for more gift ideas, you can always check out all of the previous gift guides.

What types of stocking stuffers do you like to see when you wake up on Christmas morning?

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!

Geek girl gift guide

As a self-proclaimed geek girl, I wanted to put together a list of gift ideas for geek girls of all ages to fit a wide variety of budgets. Some of these are items I already own and others are probably on my wishlist. Either way, I think they’re all super cool.

As a reminder, any purchases you make through links on my site may result in a small commission that helps me keep this site running. This commission costs you nothing, but it can make a difference for me. Additionally, some brands occasionally send me gifts to tell you about them. I only share things I think are cool, useful, or otherwise beneficial.

Without further ado, I present the second magical gift guide for 25 days of Chrissymas (and make sure you’re following #25daysofChrissymas on the social media because completely random giveaways are happening in stories and posts all month long).

Geekwear

The Child sleeveless top

$23

The Child (baby Yoda) sleeveless tee

Because we won’t be seeing the rest of the Lil Green merch until next spring at the earliest, the clothing and accessory options on ShopDisney will have to satiate our need to rep this sassy little buddy from The Mandalorian on Disney+.

Doctor Who — The Thirteenth Doctor’s Coat

$30-$60

Doctor Who Thirteenth doctor coat

When I build a cosplay outfit or a Disneybound, I buy it piece by piece. Sometimes I thrift, sometimes I find a really good look-alike piece, and sometimes, I just buy the branded item. I am obsessed with Thirteen’s entire wardrobe. I already have the rainbow-striped tee, a blue skirt (instead of blue trousers, because I’m a skirt girl), and yellow suspenders, so the next thing on my wish list is this coat. Sonic screwdriver is also a must. The coat price seems to be in constant flux on both Torrid’s website and Hot Topic’s. It’s cheaper on Torrid right now, if you’re wondering.

Geeky accessories

Bluetooth earbuds headset

$20

Pink cordless bluetooth earbuds headset

Hello, dream earbuds. Geek girls are listening to audiobooks and podcasts and Broadway soundtracks and Disney music, so these earbuds are the perfect gift for a geek girl who loves the color pink. (Because THIS geek girl loves pink, and I’m the one making this guide, obvi).

Handbook for the Recently Deceased Kindle cover

$50

Handbook for the Recently Deceased kindle cover

I stumbled upon this…somehow. I don’t even know how, honestly, but it made me laugh so hard. If someone in your life is a Beetlejuice fan (or even mildly entertained by Beetlejuice), this is an awesome gift. My Kindle totally wants one.

Aguamenti Harry Potter water bottle

$19

Aguamenti reusable water bottle

I had to Google what a VSCO girl was, but apparently, if you add a scrunchie and a travel-friendly straw to this water bottle, you can be one? I don’t know. I just like this water bottle, and I think any Harry Potter fan would too.

Geeky puzzles and games

Hunt A Killer subscription box

$34 for one month or 165 for six months

Hunt A Killer mystery subscription box

This subscription box takes you on a mysterious, puzzle-solving, true-crime journey. We received a full season from Hunt A Killer to share the details with you and I can’t wait to tell you about it over the next several months! This is definitely a gift I would love to receive, and so, too, will puzzle-minded geek girls (and boys) in your life. A single month is one part of a full six-box story, but it’s a good way to experience the puzzles and clues to determine whether you want to continue the story for the full season.

And also grown-up geek girls who are anything like me.

Harry Potter Spellcasters

$16

Harry Potter Spellcasters: Charades with a Harry Potter kick

Practice your wand work and spellcasting to prepare for your letter to Hogwarts. This party game marries charades with the Harry Potter spells you know and love. It comes with a wand that you’ll use to trace spells and card with tasks/actions that make the spells trickier. I received this from my friends at Goliath Games, and it’s perfect for playing with my Potter-fiend nieces.

5-Minute Marvel

$18

5-minute marvel game

I’ve never played the Marvel version of this game, but I have played the classic dungeon version. It’s fast-paced, high-energy, and super fun. If you’ve got a friend who likes hectic games that really lift up your activity level, this is the game for them.

Disney Geek Out

$20

Geek Out Disney trivia game

I loved the original Geek Out so so so much, but it may have been too geeky for my fam to play with me. This version, they’re all in. It’s a wagering game of “how many can you name?” You have to prove how many you can name whether it’s characters in a certain movie or movies that have talking animals or other random questions. I just received this as a gift, from a secret Santa and am super excited about it.

Geeky toys for grown-up geek girls

Geeky magnetic poetry

$13

Magnetic poetry kit for geeks

Who doesn’t love a little fun with magnets? When you’ve got magnetic poetry on your fridge, you never know what your friends are going to create.

Iron Man infinity gauntlet

$100

Iron Man electronic infinity gauntlet

It feels like a lifetime ago that we found out what happened post-snap with Avengers Endgame, but it was less than a year ago. This electronic gauntlet is insanely cool and I’m pretty sure you can snap snap snap to your heart’s content.

I am Iron Man.

Geek girl books

Geekerella

$6 paperback

Geekerella book

I loved reading this book this year. I also read the sequel, The Princess and the Fangirl. The Once Upon a Con books were both utterly delightful and adorable stories about a fictional fandom and the con that brings them all together. Loosely based on the fairytale world, but set in a modern nerddom, this series is light and full of magic for any geek girl.

Leather-Bound Classics: Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales

$22 hardcover

Grimm Fairy Tales

So, I may have mentioned this before, but I’m writing a novel based on fairy tales. Which is how I stumbled upon this amazing collection of translated fairy tales. The book itself is beautiful, and I love reading the stories in their original iterations (other than translated into a language I can read). I also have the Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales in the same Leather-Bound Classics book series. I’m obsessed, and I’m sure any other geek girl would be too.

Is there someone on your list who would love one of these gifts? Let me know in the comments who you would get one or more of these gifts for!

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!

Gamer gift guide: Travel-friendly games

This past summer, Brian and I spent two weeks in Ireland. Our first week, we were almost entirely on our own, traipsing through Counties Dublin, Offaly, and Galway. The second week was spent with family for an Irish wedding in County Kerry.

During that first week, we spent a lot of time in bars and restaurants as well as hotel lobbies (don’t judge our vacation style!). And as much as we love talking to each other, when you’re spending every second together, you don’t have many extra talking points outside of shared experiences. As Brian and I are gamers to the core, we decided to fill some of our drinking time with a little healthy competition. Our constant companions for the week became the games we could easily throw in our pockets, backpack, or purse.

Chrissy plays games in Ireland

And this leads me to the best stocking stuffer idea I’ve ever had! Pocket games! (Don’t tell Brian, but there may or may not be a few of these games in his stocking this year.)

Now, your mileage may vary depending on the type of gamer you are, as some games are definitely more strategic and detailed than others. But I’ve tried to provide a variety of options whether you’re a party game addict or a strategic game wizard.

In full-disclosure, any purchases made from these affiliate links may result in a tiny commission that help support my board game addiction. It doesn’t cost you anything extra.

Tiny games for international/carry-on travel

Pocket-sized travel-friendly games

When luggage space is tight, size matters. These games are perfect for carry-on luggage, international travel when every ounce makes a difference. These games are also really great to throw in your purse or pocket when you’re going somewhere with a long wait or hanging out in a bar or microbrewery.

Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction

$15. 1-5 Players

Manhattan Project Chain Reaction Card Game

This game is the condensed version of the larger, Manhattan Project, which, in full disclosure, I’ve never played. But Chain Reaction is a favorite of ours, and it plays well with two, three, and four players. It’s a pretty easy resource management card game with a strong randomized luck component, but it plays quickly and enjoyably. Basically, you create uranium using yellow cake and the appropriate workers; then turn that uranium into bombs to earn points.

GEM

$6. 2-4 players

Gem pocket-sized gum pack games pack-o-games

There are sixteen different Pack O Games — small card games in a box no bigger than a classic pack of gum, and I love the concept of these games more than anything else. They’re so tiny, they even fit in those piddly barely-a-pocket pockets that they have started adding to women’s clothing. And GEM is so fun. It’s an auction-style game in which you are bidding on gems in order to have the most valuable collection at the end of the game. Finally, a game I can beat Brian at!

Ultra Tiny Epic Kingdoms

$15. 1-5 players

Ultra Tiny Epic Kingdoms travel game

There is a series of games, known as Tiny Epic Games, by Gamelyn Games. These games pack a full-size strategy game into a relatively small box. But our first adventure with the Tiny Epic brand was their Ultra edition, which we received in a Board Game Bento Box (no longer available, but absolutely one of the best wedding gifts we were given!). This itty bitty game comes in a small box similar to that of Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction, but has a fully functional worker placement game inside. We love it. Brian especially loves it, because he usually wins. Whatever. It’s a fantastic game. We first played Ultra Tiny Epic Kingdoms at a bar at Gen Con, because of its travel-friendly size, and now it goes on every vacation with us.

Fun fact: There may or may not be a second Ultra Tiny Epic game coming out this month. So keep your eyes peeled for Galaxies!

Treasures and Traps

$13. 2-6 players

Treasures and Traps The Adventure Card Game

I played this game at Chicago Toy and Game Fair this year, and it was super fun. It’s a dice rolling game with some nerdy gamer strategy. The art is awesome, which is one of the big things I look at when buying a game. The primary reason I got this one was that it comes with a storytelling element in the expansion pack, The Adventure Story Game. But I also love that the Random Encounters expansion box is big enough to house all of the cards in each expansion (which is pictured below in the Domestic/local travel because it’s a little bit bigger than pocket-sized).

Love Letter

$16. 2-4 players

Love Letter Card Game

This is one of the social deduction games that I really enjoy. We have a slightly different version with Asian-inspired art. The goal is to send a love letter to the princess through one of the many messengers that are closest to her. Of course, you’ll have to pay attention to your opponents because the cards can change the course of the game and your opponents are watching your actions to beat you. It’s a fast game that’s relatively easy to learn if you have played deduction games before. It also comes with a convenient inner velvet bag that you can use to travel even lighter.

Saboteur

$9. 3-10 players

Saboteur game

There are several things I love about this game, not the least of which is that it plays up to 10 players, and the expansion, Saboteur 2 makes that 12 players, which is awesome if your game group gets a little too big for a 4-player game. I also think the concept is fun. Everyone is digging their way to the treasure, but one sneaky saboteur is trying to thwart the squad. Find the saboteur and prevent them from dominating to win.

We Didn’t Playtest This at All

$13. 2-10 players

We didn't playtest this at all game

This might be the silliest game on the list. The rules are simple: Read the cards. Follow the rules. Change the rules. Win the game. Basically, any card can change the rules of the game, create end conditions and win conditions. And other cards can thwart your attempts at winning. It’s a super fast-paced silly game.

Games for domestic/local travel

These games will fit into a tote, duffel bag, or suitcase, especially if you fly Southwest and bags fly free. Some of them are card games that can be repackaged in a smaller container, but all of these games should easily slide into your luggage.

Travel-friendly games

May Cause Side Effects

$25. 4+ players

May Cause Side Effects by Games Adults Play (Goliath Games)

This party game was gifted to me from my friends at Goliath Games is super great for a group of friends looking for an amped-up version of Taboo meets charades. The bottle is hilarious. The game is super fun, especially if you have a larger group of players. You play in teams and compete in a typical game of Taboo (providing clues to guess a word), with one exception. The player is experiencing side effects. So in addition to giving clues for the word, you’ll also have to perform two physical actions, traits, or body movements. For example, you might have to pretend to be a ballerina while whispering to guess the word owl. You have 40 seconds to get your teammates to guess as many words as possible.

Shit Happens

$12. 2+ players

Shit Happens by Games Adults Play (Goliath Games)

This is one of my best friend’s favorite games. She slays at it every single time. It’s super easy to learn and play, and really crazy. This game was also gifted to me by Goliath Games. It plays an unlimited number of players (though I wouldn’t recommend more than 10) Basically, you place the cards in the order you think they belong in based on the misery index one at a time. Each of the 200 cards have been pre-ranked based on surveys and research. Cards include shitty things like root canals, $115 parking ticket, smelling like a fart for the rest of your life, and darker, dirtier things like a ketchup bottle stuck up your ass. (I’m sort of looking forward to the Google searches that lead people here).

Side note: If the darker, dirtier part turned you off…good news! There are PG versions of the game: Stuff Happens and parenting Stuff Happens.

Shifty-Eyed Spies

$16. 4-8 players

Shifty-eyed spies game

I love this silly game. Each player is a spy trying to deliver and receive packages. The goal is to wink at the player to whom you need to deliver a package without anyone noticing. Then that player must tell you where to meet them. The game is super easy to play, and the winking aspect is hilarious.

Okey Dokey

$13. 1-5 players

Okey Dokey game

Okay, so this was on last year’s Tabletop gift guide, but I couldn’t help myself from putting it in again because it’s a nice pocket-sized game! This game is silly and amazing and I love it. Brian hates it. It’s very polarizing. You can play it by yourself in sort of a solitaire type game, or you can work together with your teammates to organize and order the cards properly…without saying a word. I’ve played it by myself and with others, and I really enjoy playing it.

Cthulhu Realms

$18. 2-4 players

Cthulhu Realms game

This is a big game in a little package. It’s one of the smallest boxes for deck builders that I’ve seen, but it’s got more to it than just deckbuilding. It’s an elimination game, and your goal is to make your opponents go insane before you do using the cards in your hand. Because it’s small, I sometimes forget it’s there, but when we play it, it’s always a good time.

LOOT

$12. 2-8 players

Loot Card Game

I randomly found this game at a thrift store years ago, but it is always fun to play. You’re collecting coins from pirate ships by one-upping each other as the bigger better pirate. This is another easy-to-learn game that has lots of replayability. Plus, again with the large player count! Just know that another over 5 is a partnership game, where teams of two compete with each other.

I hope you found this gift guide useful and interesting. Which of these games would you most like to play? Let me know in the comments below! I have a few more coming next week, but if you’re itching for more gift ideas, feel free to check out some of my guides from last year.

Tabletop gaming gift guide
2018 quirky holiday gift guide
Unique holiday gift guide for kids, pets, and grown ups
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Ways to get into the holiday spirit

Happy December, friendos! Because I’m feeling especially festive this year, I’ve got a lot of plans for the holidays here in the quirkyverse. Starting yesterday (on the gram), we’ll be celebrating with 25 days of holiday joy! There will be a few giveaways sprinkled throughout the month over on Instagram (and there’s one live right now!). Festive ideas. Gift guides to help you shop or make your own wishlist. And brightly colored happiness wrapped up in a bow.

To start the month off properly, I’m giving you some easy ideas for jollying up your life this month. You know I’m festive AF every year, so here are some of the ways I get started.

Holiday wearables

“Ugly” Christmas sweaters

Remember when people actually wore ugly Christmas sweaters unironically? And then when other people started thrifting said sweaters and wearing them because it was funny?

Yeah, those days are so gone. If you’re going to wear an “ugly” Christmas sweater, I say make it a super cute one like this Grinchy sweater.

Grinch ugly Christmas sweater

Or a hilarious one, like this National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation sweater.

Shitter's Full ugly Christmas sweater

Or marry the two ideas with this amazing 3D plush dinosaur sweater.

3D plush dinosaur ugly Christmas sweater

My friends at UglyChristmasSweater.com sent me the coolest, funniest, cutest dinosaur holiday sweater to share with you, and I absolutely love it! I sized down on this one to an XL, and I was super glad I did. It fits perfectly for all of my Christmas sweater needs. The dinosaur has velcro to stay on the sweater, and it comes with some industrial sized safety pins to keep him safely secured to your back and torso. The sweater is super cozy too!

I haven’t named my dinosweater yet, and I’m hoping you can help! Leave a comment below with your name idea. Because this dino and I are going to be besties for life.

If you want to try your luck this week, I’ve partnered with UglyChristmasSweater.com, and we’re giving one of these sweaters away over on Instagram.

Festive accessories

I love holiday headbands and slippers and Santa hats. Necklaces and bracelets and ribbons in my hair. I wear them all month long for a festive flair. Jingle all the way, that’s what I always say! Most of my accessories are older or thrifted, but if you’re looking to add to your collection, here are a few items I’ve seen recently that I love.

Christmas fascinator
If you’re crafty, you can probably make your own, but if you’re not, this holiday fascinator is under $15 on Amazon.
Christmas elf slippers
If I didn’t already have a pair of holiday jingle slippers, these Joe Boxer elf slippers would so be on my Christmas list.
Christmas bow necklace set
I may have just ordered this gift bow necklace set for myself. Wanna be twins?

Holiday colors

Want to be festive without the extra flourishes? Pair fun combinations of red and green for super holiday fun. I’m a big fan of color blocking and mixing/matching solid-colored pieces like this green dress, red top, and red leggings (technically, they are paprika, but whatever).

Pro-tip: When I wear a blouse over a dress, I usually tie it in the back with a hair tie so that it cinches my waist.

Chrissy in front of a pink Christmas tree wearing red and green
The top is thrifted, the dress is almost a decade old, and the leggings are from Fabletics, which is where 90% of my colored leggings come from.

You can use accessories to make colors pop if you don’t want to be too bold with the color blocking – like a green belt and scarf with a red t-shirt dress (I wore it over skinny jeans because winter). You can switch up your accessories to be a little less extra, but I always recommend the extra.

Chrissy in front of a Christmas tree wearing red and green
Both the scarf and belt are thrifted and the shirt dress I’ve had for a few years. I tend to buy solid colored belts and scarves when I see them because they make the best Disneybounds and color-blocking.

Decorations

Trim a tree

I have had my Christmas trees up since mid-November. They make me happy. I always have at least one themed Christmas tree and one hodgepodge, family-ornament Christmas tree. This year, I also have a fancy tree (but make it Chrissy).

Mickey Mouse Christmas tree
This is the Mickey and Minnie Mouse tree. I only decorate the top half, because it’s behind the couch.
Pink Christmas tree
This is my obsession. I forgot I bought these ornaments last year for this tree, but omg I am obsessed.

Wintery atmosphere

Garland is key when decorating our house. Whether it’s lighted garland on the banisters or super flowy strings of faux pine needles and holly leaves hanging all over the house, we have garland everywhere. And it looks awesome.

Chrissy wearing maroon and dark green in front of pre-lit garland
This photo is from two years ago (blonde hair), but the garland behind me remains the same. I just haven’t put the garland up yet. (But hey, here’s another way to mix and match some more holiday colors. A maroon dress and a deep green cardigan.

Twinkle lights are also a necessary component. Christmas comes when the nights are longest, and what better way to brighten a room than with twinkle lights everywhere?

Tablescape

I have Christmas dishes. Of course, I have Christmas dishes. When Brian and I moved into our first (and only, actually) apartment together, my mom bought me a few pieces of Pfaltzgraff Winterberry as a housewarming gift. And from there, it’s become an obsession.

Pfaltzgraff tablescape with Christmas dishes and Kate Spade tablecloths
A holiday meal fit for kings. This was a Hello Fresh Spanish one-pan chicken, and it was happiness.

I also went through a Rae Dunn obsessive phase, and I used some of those dishes to make another fun set up for afternoon tea (and cocoa). Rae Dunn can be found at your local TJ Maxx/Marshall’s/Homegoods or on sites like Mercari and Poshmark (if you say quirkychrissy referred you, we each get $5).

Rae Dunn Christmas tablescape with Kate Spade tablecloths
You can do this with any plain dishes too! Colorful tablecloths like this Kate Spade tablecloth and Kate Spade runner complete the look. I couldn’t easily find the green cloth and red runner to share with you, but I was able to find a green runner and a red tablecloth if you’re interested in this color blocking dining tablescape.

So there you have it, friends. Chrissy guide to celebratory holiday fun! Dress festive and decorate festively to enjoy every second of the holiday season. How do you get into the Christmas spirit? 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!

Into the unknown: A Frozen 2 review

I tried my best to go into this movie with minimal expectations because that often gives me room to enjoy something without trying to live up to a hype I’ve created in my head. I loved Frozen when it first came out. I still enjoy Frozen, but it wasn’t enough to overtake any of my favorite movies of the past the way Moana eventually did. So I tried to keep my thoughts and excitement in check. I still managed to set a few expectations that I’m thankful were shattered in the best way possible. I promise to keep this as spoiler-free as possible because there is a lot of magic to behold in the unknown.

Frozen movie poster with Anna and Elsa in a frozen forest.

The story is unexpected and new, albeit still a little predictable as a 36-year-old life-long Disney lover. But not everything was predictable. There is a major event near the end of the film that felt SO RIGHT, but came SO UNEXPECTED. Disney storytelling truly hit this one out of the park. The movie weaves some seriously dark and emotional scenes with laugh-out-loud comic relief so seamlessly that you may be crying one minute and bellowing the next, completely engrossing yourself in this adventure.

The whole Frozen squad (Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven) stare in awe into the unknown.
FROZEN 2 – In Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2, Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven journey far beyond the gates of Arendelle in search of answers. Featuring the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad, “Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters November 22. © 2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Sven and his reindeer friends get a little more spotlight that I’m here for, as he’s one of my favorites from the original movie. And Kristoff is charming and adorable as ever. Both of the sisters travel on their own journeys of discovery, and they are beautiful and emotional as ever.

Anna and Olaf share an icy boat ride.
In Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2, Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) and Olaf (voice of Josh Gad) venture far from Arendelle in a dangerous but remarkable journey to help Elsa find answers about the past. From the Academy Award®-winning team—directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, producer Peter Del Vecho and songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019. ©2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

The inclusion of the elements was something Brian was super interested in seeing, particularly in how they handled the lore behind the elements, and he was impressed. While they didn’t seem to pull each elemental representation from the same lore, they did use fitting mascots for each of the elements. My personal favorite is the fire salamander, who I will love forever. *lick*

Elsa sprinkles Bruni with snowflakes
BRUNI – Curious and cute, this salamander inhabits the Enchanted Forest. Though shy at first, Bruni can’t help but be drawn to Elsa’s icy magic and enjoys the cool snowflake treats she creates. From the Academy Award®-winning team—directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, producer Peter Del Vecho and songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez—Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019. © 2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

The music was incredible. I also believe this soundtrack to be superior to the first, though much different. I have been playing Into the Unknown on a constant loop in my head. It’s beautiful and powerful. Kristoff and Sven have an EPIC song, and I literally could not stop laughing through the entire thing. And the lullaby from the queen is hauntingly beautiful.

Easter Eggs and Extras

You know I love catching a cameo easter egg, so make sure you’re paying attention to Anna and Elsa’s ice dolls in the very beginning or you might miss Baymax! And stay all the way to the end credits, because like the first movie, Frozen 2 has one, well, too!

Frozen 2 was an absolute delight. I can’t wait to see it again. We saw it in 2D IMAX the first time, and we’ll likely go see it again in 3D, because some of the imagery is so stunning, I’m dying to see what they can do with it in 3D. That being said, there are some scenes that were a bit dizzying, even in 2D, so be cautious if you are easily affected by 3D movies.

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!

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!