How to be a beautiful woman

  1. Be kind. Even to abhorrent individuals who will try to bring you down.
  2. Be able to rise above anyone who tries to tell you that you can’t play on the playground.
  3. Have hope. Because hope makes the world a brighter, more beautiful place.
  4. Know that your face is beautiful because it is uniquely yours. And sometimes you might wear makeup because it’s fun to play with. And sometimes you might not because you don’t feel like you need it or because you’re tired. Or sick. Or you want to see the lines that travel across your face like a map to every emotion you’ve ever had.
  5. Be a feminist. If you want. It’s not required. We’re not pushy around here.
  6. Be angry when you’re angry. You’re allowed to have emotions.
  7. Say what you feel. No one knows what’s happening inside your head or heart until you tell them.
  8. Be you. Always. Unapologetically.
  9. Wear what makes you happy. Allow yourself to be comfortable without worrying what other people think.
  10. Love yourself.
  11. Listen to yourself.

Now, just for funsies, in the comments, tell me at least one (but if you can tell me three, tell me three!) thing you love about yourself right now.

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!

Our Disney adventure in ride photos

I’ve taken the liberty of downloading those bad boys from my last trip (with the indomitable Cletus, who also joined us for the Disney Wojcation in 2017) and placing them here for you to laugh at (or ridicule — either way, I’m going to assume you’re laughing with us…whether or not you are).

You can tell a lot about a person by the photos they take when they’re on a ride. Luckily, because I’m a Walt Disney World annual passholder, I get to keep and cherish all of the ride photos I’ve been on in the last year with Memory Maker.

Cletuses requested approval of any images that went into the video, and he agrees that these are some amazing photos (which is great, because I really didn’t want to have to edit each one with a Mickey Mouse emoji over his face). I have no contractual obligation to the other people in the pictures, so please, also enjoy the ones that made me laugh without their prior written approval. (If you are one of the people in these photos 1. I’m sorry and 2. I’m sorry).

When I was little, I used to count how many rides we got to go on in a day like it was a gigantic feat. Now with the Fast Pass system, Cletus and I are able to double the amount of rides we can get on in a day. And it made for some fun photo ops.

Chrissy and Cletus doing a pose on Expedition Everest
Yes, we rode all the big rides several times on a 5-day trip. We are masters of the Fast Pass+ system. One day, we’ll share our secrets. One day.

Without further ado, I present to you…

How to look awesome (or terrible) in Disney World ride photos

What do you like to do for ride photos (whether they’re at Disney, Six Flags, or another theme park with this option?)

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 playful year of fun and magic

If you’ve been here for a while, you already know I’m not a fan of traditional New Year’s resolutions. A few years ago, I even came up with a monthly list of ways to dominate next year without a typical resolution, which I continually utilize as a guide for success.

Now a lot of people who don’t do traditional resolutions like to choose a grounding word that they use to guide them through the year. I’m not that type of girl. I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-skirt gal, myself. Instead, I choose to label my year as it begins to play out or even at the end of the year. And this year was so perfect, you guys. I mean, not everything goes according to plan and things change and resolutions are hard to follow, but wrapping up your year with a bit of positive energy never hurt anyone.

And so I thought I’d tell you how I categorize my years.

In previous years, I’ve had The Experimental Year, a year of trying different stuff in the world of dating and boys, which was also the year that ended in a chance meeting with a handsome Irishman at a bar. I’ve had the Storytelling Year, in which I asked myself, “Will this make a good story in the morning?” and if the answer was yes, I did it, regardless of whether it was a “good” or “bad” idea. I’ve had good years and weird years and even bad years (like the Year I Didn’t Feel Good Enough; though I also came away smarter and more ready to tackle the world than ever before). And I always try to find the positive spin to the end of the year instead of wishing it away like just another fucking zit. (Side note: I hesitated in linking the aforementioned piece because there was a surprising amount of backlash to it. And that backlash made me want to stop writing, but I won’t self-censor any longer because that post wasn’t specifically about 2016. It was about every year.)

I take the biggest changes, most exciting adventures, and my highlight reel and try to find an underlying theme. This year started shaping itself before I even realized it was shaping. And it all started with a fake resolution.

I play games

At the beginning of this year, I thought I’d be cheeky and come up with a ridiculous New Year’s resolution. I made three. Two of which I’ll actually hit. 

  1. Play 365 games
  2. Play 100 DIFFERENT games (so that some of those 365 could be repeats)
  3. Play at least 25 different games that we own and have never played

Number one…that one is probably not going to happen. Unless we can play like 200 games in the next 3 days. Doubtful. But that’s okay. I had fun.

Number two…I have six more games to play. MUCH more doable.

Number three…DONE. Well, at least we made it through several of our untouched boxes (of course, we also bought a few new games…)

Silly resolution aside, gaming was a good start to a truly magical year.

I played in a Dominion Tournament at GenCon. I lost, but I had lots of fun!

I played in a Dominion Tournament at GenCon. I lost, but I had lots of fun!

I play with video

I’ve been dabbling with some different video styles on YouTube. I started a few things that could absolutely become the first of their own series (C-Rex Adventures, 60 Seconds of Chrissy), but we’ll have to see where 2019 takes us! It’s all in good fun which, for me, is super important. I can’t take myself too seriously, guys.

T-rex costume reaches for a ball at the bowling alley

I play dress up

In March, I took on something called The Disneybound Challenge. Every march, an Instagrammer/Blogger runs an Instagram photo challenge for people who DIsneybound (for those of you not in the know, this means dressing like Disney characters, something I apparently have a knack for. I nailed it for 31/31 days and continued to play dress up throughout the year (today, I’m wearing an outfit inspired by Moana’s Hei Hei).

This is a Disneybound of Olaf. The "buttons" are actually Olaf disney trading pins.

This is a Disneybound of Olaf. The “buttons” are actually Olaf disney trading pins.

I play pretend

In April, I began training at The Second City Training Center. In March, I’ll finish a year of improvisation and “graduate” from the A-E improv program at SCTC. Since August, I’ve performed in eleven shows (all student shows, but performances on Second City small stages nonetheless), with at least seven more shows before March comes to an end. When you’re improvising, you’re basically doing what small children do in free play — you make up stories. Sometimes you’re the mom. Sometimes you’re the baby. Sometimes you’re an accountant named Stan. But always, you should be having fun playing with your castmates and classmates.

Level D show photo from Second City Training Center Chicago

These crazy kids (a few of my SCTC loves are missing from this photo) give me life, you guys. This is one of the best things I’ve done for myself. And I’ve been saying that a lot lately.

I play house

Sometimes, I even pretend to be a grown up with my Grown Up. We have a really neat house that I have spent a lot of time in this year (thanks to the job quitting and the new puppy). I may make a terrible housewife, and I’m a horrible housekeeper, but I am good at playing house. You know. Pretending to be good at those things. On social media. And when we host parties. But definitely not in real life. There are rooms in my house where the clutter goes to die. I’m trying to fix that, but it’s a lot harder to get rid of clutter than I thought.

 

 

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I play with my hair

After years of planning and scheming, Kaitlyn and I finally took the plunge and dyed my hair hot pink. (Kaitlyn is my incredible stylist. She’s pure magic). We started with a super sweet gentle pink, and now it’s this hot pink, bold AF shade that I cannot get enough of. I’m never* looking back.

This poor man. I fangirled John Grogan so hard I cried. He is, though, one of the writers that made me want to be a writer, so I think a little obnoxious fangirling was to be expected.

This poor man. I fangirled John Grogan so hard I cried. He is, though, one of the writers that made me want to be a writer, so I think a little obnoxious fangirling was to be expected.

I play with puppysaurus rex

Adopting a puppy was one of the craziest things we did this year. Not only did this furball full of love and ENERGY enter our world, she dominated it. There is something magical about a creature that wakes up with the sun and says, “It’s time to play!” She naps when she’s tired and wants to play the other 77% of the day. This is a lifestyle I can get behind. Now if only her version of play was the same as mine. Unfortunately, two black lips and a few deep scratches later, we’ve learned the importance of training our sweet girl (but we always train with games and play and toys and treats instead of negative consequences. And boy does she love toys and treats! (I think I may have spent more on Nia’s Christmas than Brian’s…don’t tell Brian).

A sleeping puppy on your tummy is probably one of the greatest things ever.

A sleeping puppy on your tummy is probably one of the greatest things ever.

I play Disney (and that other park with Harry Potter [ and that OTHER park with Bugs Bunny])

After immersing myself so heavily in Disney Instagram, I became obsessed with needing to get back to the parks. I wanted to knock Dapper Day off my bucket list and asked my pal Laura if she wanted to go. When she said yes, I booked a hotel for November and started planning. When my cousin invited Brian and me to visit Universal Studios with him and his wife in October, it sealed a deal I made in my head. I was going to get an annual pass to Walt Disney World. (If you go more than once, the price of the pass is worth it (especially with added discounts and perks and such). I was lucky and able to use credit card points to reimburse my Disney pass purchase, so it was essentially “free” in my head, which makes it all the more logical. To me. And so I visited the happiest place on earth twice in a matter of two months, catching both the Halloween and Christmas seasons. And then…just for fun…because it’s close to home and the season pass was so cheap…we got season passes for Six Flags (Great America, but we can go to any of them with the pass). I guess I’m kind of a theme park addict…

Magic Kingdom Disney Photopass hub grass Cinderella Castle

Playing on the hub grass in front of Cinderella Castle seemed like a great idea.

And so with that, I give you Chrissy’s Year of Play. In which I truly embraced my inner child and let her help me find the joy I need to live this life and take the next steps on my journey. Being a creative is hard. Being an empath is FUCKING hard. Learning how to free yourself to determine your path? So hard. But so worth it. I honestly believe that my role in this world is to bring joy and laughter and share that light with you. And so when you see me behaving like a kid in a candy store with a light-up skirt and hot pink hair, remember that we all have a part to play. This is mine.

*I reserve the right to change my mind on the “never” at any time. 

If you could put a theme to your year, what would it be? What are your highlights from 2018?

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!

Movie review: Mary Poppins Returns

Yesterday was a weird day wrapped in a magic bow. It started with a rehearsal for my newest Second City Training Center coached ensemble (yay!) followed by my car getting towed because apparently, my Spothero reservation didn’t go through (boo!). But it concluded with dinner and a movie next to the most adorable husband this side of the planet.

And not just any movie. A pre-screening of Mary Poppins Returns, a movie I’ve been dying to see since it was announced (especially once I discovered one of my favorite celebrity crushes, Lin-Manuel Miranda, would have a role similar to that of DIck Van Dyke in the original film). I’ve also loved Emily Blunt since The Devil Wears Prada. And then there’s Colin Firth. Who I’ve loved since I was fifteen, watching Pride and Prejudice on repeat.

Mary Poppins Poster Jack Lin-Manuel Miranda

I went into the theater with high expectations. I was hesitant to have such high expectations after the Nutcracker kinda flopped on me (I was initially drawn into the colors and music and potential messaging, but after thinking about it for far too long, I realized that the action in the plot did not back up the messaging and it wasn’t actually very good at all). Thankfully, I’ve slept on it, and I still absolutely loved Mary Poppins Returns.

Mary Poppins Returns movie review

THIS is the movie we need right now. The world is dark and gray, and Mary Poppins animates it with positivity and color and sheer energy to yet again save the day (and the Banks family). Emily Blunt plays Poppins in a way that makes me believe she’s always been Poppins (no disrespect to Julie Andrews intended because she, too, played the part practically perfect in every way). It’s like in Doctor Who, when a new doctor comes in and you truly feel like they’ve been the doctor all along. Like magic.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS,  a sequel to the 1964 film MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an all-new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 film MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an all-new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

We’re on the brink of adventure; don’t spoil it with too many questions.

-Mary Poppins

In Mary Poppins Returns, the Banks children are more responsible than their artist father who has taken a part-time job at his father’s former bank to help make ends meet during The Great Depression. Mary Poppins arrives just in time to help the entire Banks family (Jane is a regular visitor to Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane). With Jack the lamplighter as her childlike adult accomplice, Mary takes the three Banks children on quite the adventure. From a dazzling display inside a Royal Doulton bowl, using classic animation (which Disney hasn’t really used since Winnie the Pooh in 2011) as a nod to the original sequence inside the street chalk scene to an important meeting with Meryl Streep’s Topsy on the ceiling of her home, Mary teaches the new generation of Bankses how to have fun.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda is Jack in Disney's MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS,  which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda is Jack in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

I loved the energy and imagination and pops of color that swirl throughout the film like paint on a canvas. The music is full of clever lyrics (and several that are full of much more adult-humor than one would expect, including a line about flapping about in bathtub gin). I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat, full of joy, and so many chills, you guys. If you need a little boost of magic this holiday season, let this be the movie that takes you there.

Jane (Emily Mortimer), Michael (Ben Whishaw), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) greet Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) upon her return to the Banks' home in Disney's original musical MARY POPPINS RETURNS

Jane (Emily Mortimer), Michael (Ben Whishaw), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) greet Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) upon her return to the Banks’ home in Disney’s original musical MARY POPPINS RETURNS

Lin-Manuel Miranda is there every step of the way, but the entire supporting cast is brilliant. Molly Weasley Julie Walters is the perfect casting for Ellen. Meryl Streep slays as Mary’s eccentric cousin (I wonder if any relation to Uncle Albert?). Colin Firth plays a duplicitous banker with sheer perfection. As for the Banks family? Emily Mortimer is such a perfect casting for Jane that I can see a resemblance to her 1964 childhood counterpart. Ben Whishaw is a wonderful combination of the child, Michael, and Mr. Banks from the original movie. The three children —Joel Dawson as Georgie, Pixie Davies as Annabel and Nathanael Saleh as John — are adorable and charming in their own rights.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins, Joel Dawson is Georgie, Pixie Davies is Annabel and Nathanael Saleh is John in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

Mary Poppins easter eggs

The nods to the original are spectacular and come in every shape and size, including:

  • Dick Van Dyke’s incredible singing, dancing cameo
  • The return of the penguins
  • A passerby (UPDATE: this part was played by Karen Dotrice, the original Jane Banks!) stating, “Many thanks. Sincerely,” which is from the nanny advertisement that Jane and Michael write for their future nanny. No one else is picking up on this egg!
  • Admiral Boom still lives next door
  • Several sightings of the Sister Suffragette vote sash as the string on Michael’s kite
  • The blocks that Jane held, spelling out Mary Poppins
  • The snow globe from Feed the Birds

I found myself squeeing throughout the movie, and Brian often had no clue what I was noticing, so you really have to know your Mary Poppins to catch them all. I’m quite sure I missed as many as I caught, so once I’ve seen it a few more times, I’ll pass along the easter eggs.

Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins Returns

Are you planning to see Mary Poppins Returns? Have you seen it already? Let me know your thoughts!

In Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, an all-new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Emily Blunt stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London. “Mary Poppins Returns” is directed by Rob Marshall. The screenplay is by David Magee and the screen story is by Magee & Rob Marshall & John DeLuca based upon the Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers.

Mary Poppins Returns will be released in U.S. theaters on December 19, 2018. Get your tickets for Mary Poppins Returns.

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!

Tabletop gaming gift guide for every budget and gamer level

Got a gamer in your life who needs some sweet board games? Buying for “grown ups” who never want to grow up? Not sure what to get your teenager? Want to get started in board gaming and have no clue where to start? I’ve got you covered. From backstabbing games I love to inexpensive games that make great stocking stuffers, I can totally help. And if you want more suggestions…feel free to ask questions or tell me about your gift recipient. I’m sure I can help you find the right game for him or her!

As a disclaimer, I’m also here to inform you that any purchases made from my links may earn me a small commission at no cost to you. That commission helps me continue this writing journey with a fully stocked cheese drawer. So thank you for sticking around. Brian says “thank you” too.

Tabletop gaming gift guide 25+ board game gift ideas for every budget

Tabletop games I just adore

I love playing games, you guys. These are some of the ones I’ve been playing a lot of.

Cash ‘N Guns (Asmodee — $27)

This game is stupid amounts of fun you guys. We like to play with accents to fit the characters. You’re all mobsters, but you want to get as much money for yourself as possible, so you’re trying to kill off the other guys. Lots of bluffing, big wins, and FOAM GUNS. Need I say more?

Above and Below (Red Raven Games — $35)

This is one of my new favorite games. I received it as a Redditgifts gift last year, and it has seriously been such an awesome game to play. It’s got a lot of little details, but the best of them is that it’s a storytelling/choose your own adventure game! You’re building a little village both above and below the surface, but to go below, you need to experience an encounter, based on the roll of your dice. The encounters are found in a story book and each one can reward or punish you based on your answers and how successful you are at the task (rolling dice). It is truly so much fun to play, I would recommend this to anyone and everyone who loves storytelling!

Oregon Trail: Journey to Willamette Valley (Pressman Toy — $40)

We went into this game unsure whether it would be more of a classic board game or a more intense strategy game, and we were super stoked to find a really fantastic strategy game that was enjoyable and had a lot of replayability. Additionally, the added theming of a classic from my childhood gave me that nostalgia my generation craves without riding solely on the nostalgia wave. Brian, who wasn’t an Oregon Trail kid—and also is a very serious gamer) really enjoyed it and has confirmed that he will happily play it again, because he has some strategy ideas he wants to try out.

Mice and Mystics (Plaid Hat Games — $60)

This game is near and dear to my heart. Brian and I play it together when it’s just the two of us. It’s our date game. The entire game is a connected campaign with a fantastic storytelling element that weaves through the plot. There are a number of “chapters” which can be played as standalone games. We have made it all the way through the initial game and moved on to the first of several expansions. It plays up to four players, but can be played with fewer people managing all of the characters in the story. It’s detailed but not super difficult to learn. Some of the chapters are harder than others, so you’ll have to replay them if you want to beat them before moving on. We love it.

Tabletop games under $20

Gaming on a tight budget.

Fluxx (Looney Labs —$12)

I really like this free-for-all card game. The base rules are simple: draw one, play one. But that escalates quickly. The cards you draw and play can change the rules, the win conditions, and more. It’s a super fast game and comes in dozens of themes, including licensed versions of Doctor Who, Firefly, Star Trek TNG, and Batman.

Trash Panda™ (Gamewright Games — $13)

I really like Gamewright Games. The card games we own (Loot™, Frog Juice™, Alien Hot Shots™) have simple mechanics with fun themes that make them entertaining to play whether we’re looking for something between longer games/waiting for the people to arrive or playing with kids. Trash Panda is one of their newest card games, and we actually played this with a friend who was also playing another game at the same table (so you can see how your focus can be divided while still enjoying the game!). The theming is SUPER cute and I would definitely play this again.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (Pressman Toy — $15)

I really enjoy this game, and everyone else really enjoyed my rendition of the theme song, as performed by Rockapella (maybe). The dynamic is similar to Clue, in which you need to use logic to eliminate possibilities and determine where you’ll find Carmen. I love Clue, and I was a huge Carmen Sandiego fan (books, TV, song…yes please), so this nostalgic, but timeless, game was a no-brainer for me.

Okey Dokey (Tasty Minstrel — $15)

I really enjoy playing this game with other people and by myself. By myself, it’s essentially like playing solitaire, but with other people, there’s a whole new dynamic that makes it really interesting. You can’t tell each other what cards you have so you have to communicate who is playing which cards when with a little more strategy. It’s a great game for building trust and communication and for people who like cooperative challenges.

Forbidden Island (Gamewright Games — $18)

This is a super fun cooperative game, and probably the easiest of the Forbidden games. It was one of the first cooperative games that we owned, and it plays really nicely between two to four players. You have to work fast to collect four treasures before the island floods. There are several ways to lose and only one way to win, so it can be tricky for new players.

Tabletop games for Harry Potter fans

It me!

Harry Potter™ Magical Beasts (Pressman Toy — $17)

This game is perfect for classic board game (Clue, Monopoly, Life) lovers who are also huge fans of Harry Potter. Kids especially will really enjoy the play and theming, and the mechanics are simple enough that you can learn it quickly and play it right away! The design is beautiful and the components are very well made. My favorite part is the switching game board, which flips from inside to outside in a neat way. I also really appreciate that the four players are Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny (instead of Neville, which happens in a lot of games). Because I would TOTALLY play Ginny Weasley.

Codenames Harry Potter™ (USAopoly  $25)

I demoed this at GenCon this summer and it was really fun. If you’ve played original Codenames, this one is a little bit different, as it’s cooperative, like Codenames Duets. You have to work together to find all the right clues before time runs out. Both people or teams (this can be played with two players or with full teams) have a marked board with their own answer code, and you need to have all of them completed together. It’s fast-paced and fun without being competitive.

Munchkin Deluxe: Harry Potter™ Edition (USAopoly — $35)

I haven’t played this, but OMG. Munchkin meets Harry Potter and there is no way this could go wrong. Munchkin is a dedicated deck card game infused with so much humor and cleverness. We currently have five different versions of Munchkin and various expansion packs for them, as well. It’s fun to play with two players, but it’s so much better with a group of 4-5. Dear Brian. Pretty please with chocolate frogs and butterbeer on top?

Harry Potter Clue (USAopoly — $40)

I played this with some friends and their children, and it was lots of fun. The board game moves (just like the moving staircases) on spinners so things can be rearranges and swapped to make it trickier (or easier!). Otherwise, it plays just like regular Clue.

Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Battle (USAopoly — $50)

This is one of my all-time favorite board games. It’s a cooperative deck-building game for up to four players, and, just like the books and movies, the game is designed to grow with the players. In the base game, there are seven varying degrees of difficulty, each year adding new components, rules, and villains. It’s really fun to play through and has a lot of replayability. At this point in time, I do not recommend adding the expansion because the difficulty level is INSANE. We’ve only played through the first level (and lost every time — we won’t move on until we’ve beaten the round).

Tabletop games for Disney addicts

Also me.

Codenames Disney (USAopoly — $27)

Another spin on Codenames, this one is so perfect for DIsney lovers of all ages. Like the Harry Potter version, on one side of the cards is pictures, and the other side has words associated with the House of Mouse, so you can play either side. We’ve played with a five-year-old, and she had just as much fun as everyone else.

Disney Villainous (Wonder Forge — $35)

I raced out to buy this game as soon as we got home from GenCon (because it sold out at the con. Any opportunity to play Maleficent in a board game already has my vote, but it was also a really fun game. Each character has their own strategy and win conditions, so you have to learn to play the game and then understand your character’s motivations. There is a lot of room for expansion here, so I hope Wonder Forge runs with it.

Snow White Gemstone Mining Game (USAopoly — $35)

This is a push-your-luck style game in which you are competing to get the most and best gems from a mystery bag. I demoed this at GenCon as well, and I really enjoyed playing it. Honestly, I’m just a total Disneyphile and want everything that says, “Disney” on it.

Party games for casual gamers

Listen, I know Cards Against Humanity is still supes popular, but let’s give some other new party games some love, shall we?

Monikers (Monikers — $25)

I love this game. It’s part Taboo part charades and based on speed as well as memory. Each player chooses several of the choices that will be used in the deck, and you play three rounds with the same deck. Each round gets harder. in the first round, you can say anything but the words on the card. In the second round, you can say one word. The third round is charades. It is so much fun.

Pantone™ the Game (Cryptozoic — $25)

Guys, if Disneybounding were a game, this would sort of be it. Like Monikers, it’s played in three rounds that get progressively more difficult. Basically you have a selection of Pantone™ swatches to create an abstract design to get other people to guess what pop culture character or characters you are referencing. I love this game, but Brian hates it.

Friend or Faux (Games Adults Play — $25)

I talked about this super inappropriate game over the summer with my GenCon haul, and we’ve played it a couple of times since. This is great for a group of friends who know each other, but it’s surprising even with people who don’t know each other that well. The first two rounds are all-ages appropriate, but by round 3, you’ll want to leave the kids (and your Great Aunt Lorraine) at home.

Blank Slate (USAopoly — $25)

This was a super fun party game that felt like the opposite of Scattergories, which is one of my favorite OG party games that I refuse to play with my family. With Scattergories, there’s always fighting. It’s always crazy. Because you want the most unique answers, people get defensive and yelly super fast.

What do you Meme? (What do you Meme — $30)

This was another game from my GenCon haul, and we had a lot of fun playing it with a gaggle of friends. If you’re playing with kiddos, make sure you go through the entire deck of memes before playing to pull out the NSFW pics.

Tabletop games that might actually break the bank

Serious gamers only. Make sure you’ve got plenty of refreshments.

Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition  (Fantasy Flight Games — $90)

This is a badass freaking game. Based on the H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu stories, this game uses an interactive app to guide you through a changing mansion set up as you fight bad guys and try to solve the mystery before time runs out. If you can’t tell, I love story based games, and this is another one. The theming is on point, and the app integration is perfect. This is a loooooooong game. Even the shortest game is a few hours. But it is worth it for a day of intrigue and madness. We have the first and second edition of this game because the second edition is superior (Less set up and no need for someone to manage the game villains and bad stuff because the app takes over).

Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game (Flying Frog Productions — $90)

I really like this game with its Indiana Jones-esque adventure theming and the intricacies that come with it. Not for the faint of heart, this game has also been known to go all day (it plays up to eight people, and the more people, the longer the game), but when you’re fighting Nazis and zombies with movie-style cliffhangers (and hopefully eating lots of snacks), you don’t even notice how much time has passed!

Cthulhu Wars (Peterson Games — $200)

This is one of Brian’s favorites. It’s big and bold and there was no making these miniatures miniature. Another Cthulhu game to call out. The world has ended and the elder gods are vying for control. The few remaining acolytes are assisting you, as you take on the roles of the various elder gods, and your minions on a giant world-map board. For as big and badass as this game is, the play time is actually very doable, even on an evening game night. There are different strategies for each role, and tips are provided to help you succeed. If you can find it on sale, I highly recommend it. There are also several expansions that can increase the player limit and change things up with more characters and sweet miniatures.

WOWEE that was a lot. I hope you found it helpful and can find some great gifts for your friends and family! If you’re still looking for other gift ideas, I’ve got you covered!

Need more gift ideas for everyone else on your list? Consider some of these other guides I’ve created:

 

Adult Holiday Gift GuideGifts for everyone on your list a holiday gift guideChrissy's quirky wish list gift guideUncommon Goods Gift GuideUnique holiday gift guide for kids, pets, and grown ups

2018 quirky holiday gift guide

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!

20 Last-minute gifts for your quirky wife

Yep, I see you. Waiting until the last minute to buy those Christmas gifts for your wife. I see you, because I live with you…HUSBAND. Brian is infamous for waiting until the eleventh hour to buy Christmas gifts (even though he is RIDICULOUS with ordering birthday gifts so early that I have to restrain myself from investigating and playing 20 questions).

That being said, here are some gifts that should (hopefully) arrive in time for Christmas. And make sure you fill a stocking for her. She’s already got one for you, so you should probably return the favor. (And if you’re the wife in this relationship, add these puppies to your wish list so he knows what to get you!) Full disclosure: product links may be affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a few pennies from any purchase you make. All of the products mentioned either live in my home already or are on my current wishlist.

Last-minute gift guide for your quirky wife

Order online — pick up in store

My new favorite thing to do? Buy something online and then go pick it up in the store. I know it’s in stock (instead of racing to three different Targets looking for something and not succeeding) and will be in my greedy little hands immediately. Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target, and Barnes & Noble are on my list of favorite places to do so.

Cozy essentials

Last-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ cozy essentials (1)

I know I need some downtime with the mass amount of energy I exude, and these are a few gifts that can help your favorite lady chill the fuck out. There’s something warm and cool (I know. At the same time) about a salt lamp. We have one in our front room, and it’s a favorite piece of decor to be sure. These elf slippers are perfect for the holidays…and pretending you live in the North Pole with Santa Claus year round.

And the most important accessory for any cozy evening: BOOKS. Now, I’ve had a Nook (GlowLight) and I currently have a Kindle (Paperwhite). And I miss my Nook like you wouldn’t believe. Sure I can get books on Amazon now. But I miss the design and style of the Nook. It was at least a pound lighter, which makes a big difference when your e-reader has a tendency to fall on your face with more frequency than you’d like…But you know…both e-readers do the job. So order one or get some books to add to the one she already has.

Order online — fast delivery

Prime shipping. I don’t have to tell you, I’m sure. But Prime one day? If you spend $35 or more, you can get your gift TOMORROW. You can even have that shit wrapped up. And who doesn’t love those pretty (and reusable) Amazon bags?

Quirky style

Last-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ style essentials

Y’all may know I’m something of a self-proclaimed style maven. And let me tell you, there’s so much more to style than traditional wardrobe essentials. It’s the add-ons that really make you stand out. The year Brian got me a light-up skirt for Christmas was seriously hard to top. Here are a few Chrissy-approved ideas for your wishlist or gift list.

I love holiday sweaters, especially this slothy sweater I wear every year. I also highly recommend a pair of butterfly wings, because you never know when they’re going to become useful. Nerd con events? Renaissance faires? Vacations? Costume parties? Wings are a staple, people.  And of course, what’s a mermaid without her tail? This mermaid skirt is the best!

Kwirky party game

Last-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ party games

What better to give to a quirky lady than a party game with her name on it! With this Goliath Games gem, Kwirky, the possibilities (and laughs!) are endless. It’s a fast-paced quiz game where the answers don’t matter nearly as much as your conviction! It’s fabulous for improv lovers and anyone who enjoys friendly banter!

Adult coloring books

Last-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ coloring books

Listen, people. We love us some coloring books. You Are Here, from Jenny Lawson, is especially magical. Not only does it have incredible art to color, but it also has blurbs and affirmations from The Bloggess, queen of the quirky wives. This is a great gift for anyone who suffers from anxiety, depression, or even just boredom. It’s full of positive vibes and magic. I love my copy, and I’ve given it as a gift a number of times. It never fails me. Other coloring books I recommend? Calm the Fuck Down and Sloth are two that really get me.

Colored pencils

Last-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ colored pencils

While you’re getting her some coloring books, make sure she’s got a good set of colored pencils. Personally, I prefer Faber Castell to Prismacolor, but to each their own. I have friends who swear by the Prismacolor though I think the tips break too easily. For the less expensive route, you can always go with the trusty Crayola pencils (in a fancy new box for “grown ups”).

Quirky stocking stuffers under $10

Last-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ stocking stuffers under $10

I love stockings. I love little things. I used to make my brother play a game I called little things. The art of filling a stocking with as much little stuff as possible makes my heart happy in a really weird way. But these gift ideas also make my heart happy. I own two of the three, and I want the third. Can you guess which is which?

Aqua notes are incredible for writing in the shower, by the pool, or wherever. You can leave love notes for your best friend who stays at your house with some frequency or you can jot down ideas for your next Instagram post. I am obsessed. Taco Socks? Yes please. Also bring me tacos. Always. Octopod wine stopper? Cork your wine with pizazz, kids!

Email delivery

Happy gift cardsLast-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ gift cards

Okay, let’s be honest here. The easiest gift you can get her is a gift card. And she’s probably okay with picking out her own goodies…assuming you know the right store to include in the gift card. These Happy cards, though…they bring something even better to the table. OPTIONS.

The Happy Lady gift card can be redeemed at:

  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th
  • Panera Bread
  • Sephora
  • Spafinder
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Lord & Taylor

And if she’s more of a foodie, consider the Happy Dining gift card which she can use at:

  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • McCormick & Schmick’s
  • Red Lobster
  • Bravo
  • Texas de Brazil
  • Brio

Personally, I would be ecstatic with the Happy Teen gift card, which includes (books books books!):

  • Regal Cinemas
  • Sephora
  • Dave & Buster’s
  • Nike
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Jamba Juice
  • American Eagle

Need more gift ideas for everyone else on your list? Consider some of these other guides I’ve created:

Adult Holiday Gift GuideGifts for everyone on your list a holiday gift guideChrissy's quirky wish list gift guideUncommon Goods Gift GuideUnique holiday gift guide for kids, pets, and grown ups

 

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!

Unique holiday gift guide to impress everyone

“Auntie Chrissy gives the best presents,” my godson tells his little sister and brother. I love giving presents to my family. I adore spending the time to find something each one will appreciate (that they don’t already have) and then taking it home to wrap it in some crazy mess I call a gift-wrapping space. Wrapping presents is part of the joy in providing a gift they’ll love. Sometimes, I’m sneaky (because I was a gift opener as a teen). And sometimes, I just really enjoy making a pretty package to store under my tree. But I always try to fill the package with something that brings the receiver joy.

I don’t know about you, but I get tired of seeing the same things on gift guides year after year. So I’ve come up with some more creative gifts for you to wrap up for your loved ones if the classics just aren’t going to cut it. And this year, because it’s my first with puppysaurus rex, I’ve included gifts for your furbaby. Because I’m definitely getting Lady Nymeria all sorts of gifts! Some, if not all, links are affiliate links, and any purchases you make may earn me a small commission (and costs you absolutely nothing).

2018 Gift Guide - Unique gifts to impress everyone

For the kiddos

Highlights™ for Children magazine subscription 

gifts for tiny humans, magazine subscription: Highlights, High Five, and Hello $30

When I was a kid, there were few things more exciting than getting mail. Okay, fine. Even now, there are few things more exciting than getting mail that isn’t a bill. But I LOVED when the Highlights™ mag hit the mailbox. I would read the entire thing from front to back, play all of the games, solve all of the puzzles, and then wait patiently for the next issue. It was magic. Gifting a subscription to the kids in your life is simple and sure to bring 12 glorious months of joy to any kid. Highlights™ is perfect for kids 6-12, and if you have a younger tiny human to surprise, they also have High Five™ (ages 2-6) and the tear-resistant Hello (ages 0-2) magazines available.

Puzzlemania® book club subscription

gifts for tiny humans, puzzle books - Puzzlemania $14

I’m not sure if you know this about me, but I’m kind of into puzzles. And I can say with perfect clarity that it probably started with Puzzlemania®. I loved solving logic puzzles, answering riddles, finding hidden pictures, catching the mistakes. You name it, I loved it. I also know that I have an 8-year-old niece who seems to think a lot like me – loves reading and writing and creating. I’m pretty sure a subscription to Puzzlemania®, with two full-color puzzle books a month, would totally be a hit with her. Want a mathier version? Consider a Mathmania™ subscription instead.

Let’s Grow™ Play & Learn Boxes

Gifts for tiny humans Let's Grow Play and learn Box $25

A good subscription box is a good subscription box. And this one, for the tiniest of humans (ages 0-2), comes with two books, a fun toy, and activities that parents (or Auntie Chrissys) can do with their toddlers and babies. Right now, you even get a free fancy tote bag with your first month’s subscription. I’m definitely signing the baby up for this one!

For the grown ups

MacGyver: The Escape Room Game

Gifts for "grown ups" MacGyver The Escape Room Game $30

This game from Pressman Toy is only available at Target and offers a fun MacGyver theme with a room escape in a box. You get five one-time, one-hour missions that will test your thinking and puzzle-solving abilities. This is the perfect gift for any gamer or puzzle solver in your life. I love Pressman and their family of brands. They have some really fantastic games for kids and “grown ups” of all ages, which you’ll see next week with my board game gift guide.

Sloth neck pillow

Gifts for "grown ups" sloth neck pillow - $38

Traveling in style is something I pride myself in. With this sweet hoodie and neck pillow, anyone can be the coolest kid on the plane, train, or automobile. Not going to lie, guys, this one is at the top of my own wish list (cough Brian cough). So if you’re looking for something silly for your favorite kid at heart, I recommend this slothy magic.

Mermaid-tail blanket

Gifts for _grown ups_ mermaid tail blanket $18Who doesn’t love cozying up on the couch with a blanket and hot chocolate in the winter? Add a little whimsy to someone’s snuggle with this sweet mermaid-tail blanket. Anyone who loves magic and mermaids will totally appreciate this fun gift of comfort. Plus this one comes with a bonus mermaid necklace (which you can gift to the same person or someone else. I’m not judging. I’d do it!).

Sixteenth-century Italian globe bar

Gifts for grown ups sixteenth-century Italian old world globe bar $150

As the priciest gift on this list, I know what you’re thinking. Chrissy, this isn’t Goop. What the Gwyneth Paltrow are you thinking? $150 is a lot of cash. But GUYS. This is a full-size bar cart. On wheels. In a globe! And also, I own one of them and think everyone should have one. It was probably one of Brian and my favorite gifts from our wedding showers. We put it on the registry for fun, because it was so freakin’ cool, and luckily we have some family that thought, “let’s get them the craziest thing on their registry!” And so I present to you the best gift for someone you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks on. Even if that someone is you. You’re welcome.

For the pupper

Outward Hound puzzle brick toygifts for furbabies: puzzle toys $20

Like dog mom like dogter. My little pup loves puzzles, especially puzzles with a food prize. This Outward Hound (one of our favorite brands) toy is the perfect thing to add to her puzzle collection (and keep that crazy pup just a smidgen occupied when someone is trying to get some work done around here!).

Bark Felt Toy Bin

gifts for furbabies: toy storage $30

The thing about gifts for puppies is that they are also gifts for dog moms. And this toy basket seems like the perfect thing to store Nia’s ever-growing selection of toys so that they aren’t always scattered all around the house (and trying to kill me—one of these days, I’m going to twist my ankle/knee/hip/back by tripping on one of her toys in the middle of the kitchen!).

Twistleton Twerp chew toy

Gifts for furbabies Twistleton Twerp $10My dog LOVES toys with rope. She also loves plushies. And chew toys with ribs and bumps and grooves. She just loves toys. It’s actually pretty rare that she destroys a plushy, but we’re finding that because of the sharpness of her teeth (a result of the distemper that stunted the growth of enamel on them), she does eventually puncture her beloved toys. So this guy has a little bit of everything, and I know that I’ll be waiting patiently to see her get into this guy because there’s a fun toy surprise inside the toy!

So there you have it, gang. My 2018 gift guide for everyone! Which of these gifts would you give to someone? Which of them are you adding to your wishlist? Let me know in the comments below!

And if that wasn’t enough gifting for ya, consider some of these other guides I’ve created over the years:

Adult Holiday Gift GuideGifts for everyone on your list a holiday gift guideChrissy's quirky wish list gift guideUncommon Goods Gift Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 jury duty

This important fashion tip is brought to you by the wonderful world of civic duty. And also TV Store Online, who sent me this sweet dress I wore to jury duty.

Any links in this post may be affiliate links, which will earn me a small percent commission on any purchases you make.  

chrissy wearing a Marvel dress for jury duty

I may be one of the few creatures in this world who gets excited about jury duty. My best friend, Cletus, and Mama Bear are two others on that short list. So when my summons came, and it was scheduled for my first say in Disney World, I was heartbroken. And feeling all the sass.

Luckily, I was able to reschedule my service upon returning from my magical vacation.

My last jury duty stint was on Halloween, five years ago. More sass ensued. I wore a cape. Thus beginning a tradition that I had to bring my silly sense of style and joy to jury duty.

This year, a Marvel superhero dress from TV Store Online showed up just days before my assigned date in court. Fortuitous? I think so.

I debated whether to wear it or not because it could have been the deciding factor of whether I was put on a jury or not, but ultimately I went with my gut and choose to wear my style on my sleeve. Literally. And if I wasn’t going to wear a cape, I was definitely going to wear some superheroes wearing capes. I like to be a little meta.

chrissy wearing a Marvel dress for jury duty

This dress is SUPER cool, and definitely made a few people smile in a place where no one really smiled (which of course made me sad). It did run a little small, so I needed Brian’s help zipping me in. You can find it, along with several other fun dresses and costumes (just in time for Halloween, amiright?), including a Rockford Peach replica baseball uniform (I was THIS close to getting that instead) at TV Store Online.

I styled it the way I do with all my summery dresses in the winter…with leggings, boots, and a cardigan. But look how cute it is without the cardi!

chrissy wearing a Marvel dress for jury duty

During my time at the courthouse, only one set of jurors was called to make a jury for a single trial, and I was set free by about 3 PM. I was sad to have missed an opportunity to view a courtroom and participate in our judicial system, but I was happy to go home and snuggle with this puppyface.

Would you wear a fun dress to jury duty? Would it a date in October, close to Halloween make a difference for you?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Things I did when I was seventeen

Show of hands: Who drank beer in high school? Anyone do it so much that they needed to mention it 30 times in a job interview?

I did a lot of things at the young, innocent age of seventeen. But none of them were illegal. And none of them caused me to blackout. And I’m not even trying to get appointed to the Supreme Court.

A non-exhaustive list of things I did my senior year of high school

I went to school dances

I attended parties that DIDN’T involve alcohol

group of high school friends

Nearly twenty years later, I still see some of these girls on the regular.

I didn’t drink beer

I worked my tail off at school

I got into a good college

I didn’t drink beer

I was an athlete

Three girls blowing kisses in 90s high school cheerleading uniforms

If you tell me cheerleading isn’t a sport, I will fight you.

I had inside jokes with my friends

I didn’t drink beer

I went on dates with boys

I filled travel mugs with hot chocolate and hands with fresh baked cookies and, together, my best friend and I drove past our ex boyfriends’ houses

I didn’t like beer

I dressed in a way that made me feel pretty, which was sometimes too provocative for the school administrators

I went to the under-21 club without my parents’ knowledge

I still didn’t drink beer

I kissed my boyfriend. A lot.

I joked with my friends using sexual innuendo

I didn’t like beer

I dominated week-long games of Monopoly (and maybe I cheated)

I played Truth or Dare and Never Have I Ever

I didn’t want beer

I went ghost hunting at all the most-haunted spots in Chicago

I skipped senior prom because junior prom was just okay

I still didn’t like beer

I attended football and basketball games and went to TGIFridays afterward for chicken fingers and honey mustard

I went to theater parties and hung out with band kids

I didn’t want beer

I went on a Christian youth group trip to Florida 

I went to Las Vegas

Chrissy and friend with gondolier in Las Vegas Bellagio

At seventeen and sixteen, there was still a lot of fun things for my pal and me to see and do in Las Vegas without drinking beer or having sex.

I still didn’t want beer

I had co-ed sleepovers at my house

I hosted an unsupervised New Year’s Eve party with sparkling grape juice

I didn’t need beer

I can’t imagine a world where everyone in high school drinks. I suppose I should be thankful for my very rare high school experience in which I retained my innocence for a few years longer than everyone else. What did you do in high school?

Disclaimer: I was a super good kid in high school, but once I hit college, I discovered that I would, in fact, drink beer. This post is not designed to showcase me as holier than thou. Humor is a cornerstone of my life, and my intent is solely to amuse. And also to see how many times I can mention beer in a blog post*.

*18

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!

Can we please see Wolverine the Musical?

I’ve been on a musicals kick. It has nothing everything to do with seeing Hamilton for the second time. I’ve graduated from listening to the Ham soundtrack on YouTube to listening to Hamilton radio on Pandora. You see, I was hoping for a nice roundup of Ham, Rent, Le Mis, Wicked, and all the other musicals that provide me with lyrical poetry to sing in the car on my hour-long drives into the city every week.

Empty Hamilton stage

Pandora, for the first time since my Britney radio channel (which has been properly curated to play all 90’s and all my favorite party pop tunes), got it right.

So I’ve been jamming out. And it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that I wanted to spend my weekend watching musicals when no one in our house got any sleep because Brian had a software release (he was up until like 4 am working on Friday night), the puppy’s schedule was outta whack, and Chrissy needed to wake up at 2 am and 6 am on Saturday in order to successfully acquire (apparently not one, but two) stuffed Mickey Mouses that she absolutely needed. </second person>

I came home on Saturday from my mall adventure to pick up the Mickey and couldn’t fall asleep. So I popped in The Greatest Showman. And then Moulin Rouge. The next day, I continued the magic with Les Mis. Brian caught bits and pieces and said, “The music is kind of dull. It all sounds the same. There’s very little variation.”

I mean…I guess he’s not wrong, but I felt the need to defend one of the most epic musical tragedies, which I did to little avail.

A few days later, I was playing The Other Side from The Greatest Showman because it’s in my head, and when a song is in my head, I just have to play it. Constantly.

Brian looked at me, “See, this song alone already has more melodies and variation than the other show.”

“It’s the same actor.”

“I know. It’s Wolverine.”

“OMG. Brian. BRIAN! We need Wolverine the Musical. We just need it. How do we get in touch with Hugh Jackman?!”

So then, ignoring my brilliant idea (one that rivals my Captain America vs. Harry Potter mashup, he pulls up Deadpool the Musical, and despite Brian swearing he’s shown this to me, I’ve never seen this magic before, and I’m SO here for it. And Deadpool the Musical 2, which is even better. And it’s like my idea was already a thing and I didn’t even know it.

So, I thought I would share it with you. Because Disney owns all the good shit now. And you know how I feel about Disney. And parodies.

Enjoy. (PS: NSFW)

The Wolverine cameo is in here, and it’s perfect.

But I still think Wolverine could have his very own musical. Don’t you agree?

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!