Meet me under the tallest Christmas tree

I woke up in a hotel in River North the morning after Brian’s work holiday party. I had brought a coule outfits but after the wild night, I was leaning toward a pair of tie-dye yoga pants and a hoodie. Brian steered me away from super comfort and suggested I try something else.

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

He had apparently made reservations at a restaurant called Brunch, where we would soon eat ourselves stupid. “You can’t leave brunch to chance,” said the man who rarely makes reservations for anything.

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

Breakfast nachos at Brunch: a plate of waffle fries, cheese, bacon, and eggs.

And so we went to brunch at Brunch, where they served breakfast appetizers (nachos made from waffle fries and topped with eggs—are you drooling yet?), coffee in thrifted mugs, and the most perfectly poached egg on the planet.

Sleeping Beauty coffee mug

And I thought this was going to be the highlight of my day…

I was slightly suspicious, of course, partially because I had booked the hotel with the hopes that Brian would take the hint and partially because of a group text exchange of some friends who must have forgotten I was in the chat.

I defer to the other two guys: Brian because he has some pretty big plans today...

Oh does, he, Eric?…Big plans, huh? What kind of big plans?

But I had no idea the wild ride I was in for. At Brunch, Brian was distracted. Staring at his phone (which is unusual for him). Furiously texting. I asked who he was talking to and he kinda  brushed it off.

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

As we finished our meal, making tentative plans to go to one of the museums, Brian jumped up quickly, stating he had to go to the bathroom as if it were there first time he’d ever done it.

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

I spent my time wisely, screwing around on social media, bragging about the best poached eggs ever on Instagram and showing off last night’s makeup like a rockstar on Snapchat.

Just a selfie of me bragging that I was still wearing last night's makeup.

And then I waited.

And waited. And it got a little weird.

And then it got a lot weird when I looked up to see two of our friends, Eric and Brooke (one of my Something Blue girls). And Brooke had her video camera.

All I could think was, Okay, so it’s happening here. An interesting choice, Brian.

I never expected a big scene or anything. I figured it would be quiet, somewhere nice/special, but mostly quiet. And never on video.

Eric slid in next to me, and Brooke sat down where Brian had been sitting.

“So where’s Brian?”

“Ummmm…the bathroom?”

“I don’t think he’s coming back,” her words were drawn, full of excitement.

“Where’s his jacket?”

“You’re sitting on it.”

Brooke reached into his coat pocket and pulled out an envelope.

Inside the envelope was a note, an Android-compatible usb reader, and a cryptex.

For those of you unsure of what a cryptex is, go back to the The DaVinci Code. That puzzley thing Langdon had to solve? That’s a cryptex.

The note from was a clue to open the cryptex. Eric had the answer (and additional clues), so he could provide hints. Brooke knew nothing, so she could help me solve it.

As we spent an embarrassingly long time trying to solve this puzzle, I figured out how to get the answer, and was about to work it into the cryptex, when I realized, the cryptex numerical combination was still taped to the bottom of the device.

Nailed it!

Inside the cryptex, was a usb memory thingy (which plugged into the cable which plugged into my phone). It was a video from Brian, in which he told me that he planned an adventure and gave me a clue to another location.

This led us to The Looking Glass Theater near Water Tower Place. Upon our arrival, several really excited attendants handed me another cryptex and another clue. I solved this one in approximately 37 seconds, and inside this bigger cryptex was another clue to another location.

Again, it took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out the location, which I knew was at Navy Pier, but had no idea where to go once we got there. As we were walking through the entrance, I mentioned The Crystal Gardens, having gone to an even there years ago. And Eric was like, BOOM.

We made our way up the escalator, and as I looked through the windows,

Oh fuck, my parents are here!

My parents were sitting at a table inside the garden with another cryptex. They also knew the answers and had additional clues for me. Eventually, Brooke solved it, because holy crap it was hard.

Inside the cryptex was a final location clue (and a flower hair clip, because as you can see, there’s room for a flower inside) in which Brian told me to meet him under tallest tree.

I knew immediately we were going to Winter Wonderfest at the end of the pier. My mom had wristbands for all of us to get in, so she led the charge. And we made our way through the restaurants and shops, twisting and turning to avoid crowds.

As we drew closer to the fest, Eric received some intel, and was told to find the man in the blue suit before coming in.

When we arrived an elf in a blue suit greeted us.

“Welcome! Welcome! You must be Chrissy! We’ve been waiting for you! I am the mayor of Winter Wonderfest! Welcome!”

A few other elves, including what appeared to be a reporter elf, appeared, but I looked past them to see Brian, wearing a suit under the giant Christmas tree in the center of the hall.

The mayor took my arm and walked me toward Brian while the other elves cried, “Make way! Make way! Chrissy’s coming through!”

As I walked up to Brian, he pulled out a velvet box with my grandmother’s ring inside it and got down on one knee.

Behind me, I heard someone yell out, “Oh shit! He goin’ to propose!”

Proposal under the Christmas tree at Winter Wonderfest

He asked me to be his bride, and of course I said yes. We hugged and kissed and then hugged my parents, his brother, amd our freakin’ awesome friends who had joined me on the scavenger hunt.

And then we needed some good pictures, of course. Brian got down on one knee, again, and asked me to marry him, again. And I said yes, again. It was perfect.

After wandering around the indoor fest for a while, the six of us went for champagne and snacks at Riva, a Navy Pier restaurant Brian and I had been to a few years earlier on my birthday.

We even kept the empty champagne bottle until fittingly, our wedding day, when it managed to get tossed out with other bottles in the mass insanity that was my house the morning of the wedding.

And now, a year later, I can look back on that memory my wonderful husband created for us before he was my husband. And Christmas will forever be better than it was before.

What was your proposal like?

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!

Champagne and Mom Go Hand in Hand

There are many wonderful things I love in this world. Cheese. Brian. Brunch. My mom. Being a godmother. My own godmother. (Don’t worry dad. I love you, too!) And, I promise this is in no particular, highly calculated order or anything.

I’ve always loved Mother’s Day, despite the having-never-been-a-mother thing I’ve got going for me. It’s one of the Big Five holidays in our family–Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, Mother’s Day–as we’re largely a matriarchy with loud, confident women (if I told you I was the quiet one, would you believe me?). Which pretty much means feasting, family, fighting, and fun. Now that Brian and I own our own home, we like to host family gatherings. I’m not going to lie, though, I’m using the term “we” loosely.

Last year, I took over Mother’s Day (and Halloween. And Christmas Day). As I’m the lady of the family without kids, I wanted to make the moms in my life feel special. So I invited my parents and brother, my godmother and her husband, and my cousin, the mother of my godson, and her family over for an early afternoon brunch of joy. I have every intention of doing it again this year, because it was ridiculous amounts of fun.

So, without further ado, I’m going to give you everything you need to create a delightfully magical brunch for your fam.

Sometimes, I like to have a bloody Mary bar when I host brunch, but I thought it would be fancy if I planned a glorious mimosa bar.

Everything you need for a mimosa bar

  • Champagnemy preferred drink of choice. Obviously.
  • Sparkling almond champagne – It’s a little bit sweeter for your guests who prefer a fruitier beverage
  • Peach bellini – Trader Joe’s has a really great bottle of this stuff and it rounds out your set nicely
  • Orange juice – Apparently, people add this to champagne. It’s not my bag, but I offered it anyways
  • Pineapple juice – I promise, this is WAY tastier than OJ, but you do you, my friends
  • Sliced peaches, oranges, and pineapples – Go big or go home, guys. If you’re going to all the trouble of creating a mimosa bar, make sure you’ve got the right accouterments
  • Maraschino cherries and strawberries – who needs a proverbial cherry on top when you can have a real one? And come on. Strawberries and champagne? Did you even see Pretty Woman?

For Mother's Day, I like to host a brunch for my mom, my godmother, and the mother of my godson to celebrate the beautiful and wonderful mothers in my life.

Now that we’ve got the drinks covered, let’s talk about food. In my family, we cook to feed an army. So when I make brunch, I make a lot of brunch. But…I’m also conscientious of my time. And so when I think about things like cinnamon rolls, I buy them from a store. Some call it cheating. I call it ingenuity.

With kids and adults, creative palates and traditional tastes, I like to offer a wide range of options for everyone. Here is my list of top food stuffs to include on my brunch menu.

Brunch ideas for the whole family

  • Eggs – if you’re going for gold, you can make eggs to order (I don’t) or eggs benedict in a chafing pan. Me? I make cheesy eggs and throw them in a crock pot half cooked. By the time everyone is ready to eat, they’re fully cooked. I also like to offer options, so sometimes, I’ll also make an egg casserole or strata or something.
Breakfast Casserole

This delicious beast is eggs, broccoli, cheddar, and ham atop a glorious crescent roll crust.

  • Potatoes – Nothing says brunch like a big ole pan of cheesy potatoes. I like to throw in shredded potatoes, whatever random cheeses I have in the cheese drawer, some onions, and whatever cream condensed soup is hanging out in the cabinet. The last time I made it, I used Campbell’s Creamy Gouda Bisque, and it was amazing.
Cheesy potatoes

Bake until there’s a golden bubble, and then add more cheese. Of course.

  • Meat – You’ve gotta have something meaty and delicious, but since my family is all over the place, I tend to have 2-3 different types of meat. We might have smoked salmon (cold or hot smoked – both are delicious), bacon/sausage and turkey bacon/sausage, because that tends to make everyone happy. One year I made bacon-wrapped dates and turkey bacon-wrapped dates and LOOK OUT world, because Chrissy forgot to take the pits out of the dates. Everyone ate them anyway (and had to get rid of the pits, obvi).
  • Yogurt bar – This is always a hit. Just get some vanilla yogurt (don’t get Greek yogurt. As much as I love it, everyone will think the regular vanilla is FABULOUS), fresh fruit, local honey, and granola. It’s easy, and you don’t have to cook anything!
  • Baked goods – Fruit breads, muffins, cinnamon rolls, slices of bread for toast, English muffins, bagels, etc. There’s no need to bake these yourself when Panera or Peapod will do it for you. Serve with jams, butter and cream cheese.

Cinnamon rolls

Invite guests with style

Now, you’ve got a plan; it’s time to send out invites. While paper invitations are great for, like, weddings and stuff (and only because my mom is making me do it), I’m a fan of the digitation. For your Mother’s Day brunch, you can use Evite to create personalized invitations with easy-to-track guest lists. Boom.

Evite Sample

What are you doing for Mother’s Day? Do you host or go out to eat? 

This post was sponsored by Evite. Some links used in the content may be affiliate links, which will garner me a small commission should you make a purchase. This helps offset the costs of running this little ole blog. As always, all opinions, ideas, etc are my own. 

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

The Hostess’ Guide to the Holiday Madness

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

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

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

The hostess' guide to handling holiday madness

2 Months Out

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

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

1 Month Out

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

2 Weeks Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Week Out

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

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

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

5 Days Out

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

3 Days Out

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

1 Day Out

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

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

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

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

Day of the Party

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

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

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

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

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

Game Time

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

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

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

Netflix Stream Team

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

Quirky, Useful and Fun Gift Options for Everyone on Your List

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

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

Good; me too.

The gift guide for everyone on your list

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

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

Stocking stuffers I can’t get enough of

X-Cube

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

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

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

Card games

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

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

Shark Rocket ® Powerhead

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

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

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

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

Gifts for Foodies

Nutri Ninja® Auto-IQ™ Pro Compact System

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

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

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

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

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

Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker

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

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

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

Tech accessories that make my life easier

iMagnetMount

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

Winter Ice Welcome Box

Mighty Lifesaving Gifts for Clumsy Klutzes

Mighty Mug

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

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

Speck Mightyshell + Faceplate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Board games

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

Barbie

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

And finally, gifts for the children at heart

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

Harry Potter blankies

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

Alice in Wonderland purse

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

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

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

The Nightmare Before Christmas Sally Skellington Nails

Greetings and salutations, Blog Friends! It’s Geek Week here at Quirky Chrissy, which means Brian and I (and our friend, Don) will be off to see the Wizard tomorrow in geeked-out Indianapolis for GenCon. In honor of such a joyous occasion, I thought I’d share with you a little cosplay-light fun. You see, as much as I adore Halloween and costume creation, I’m not a big fan of dressing up in full costume for cons. I like to wander free, and even though I’m probably going to make an ass of myself and still be recognized as a bonafide hot mess, I’d prefer to do so as under the radar as possible. Although, obnoxious tie-dye yoga pants aren’t completely out of the question…and fun nerdy shirts and dresses are on my packing list for sure, I just don’t do full-on costumes.

I thought it would be fun to create patchwork nails that matched Sally Skellington's ragdoll dress in The Nightmare Before Christmas

Sally Skellington Patchwork Nails

So I decided to play with my nails. I like to multitask when I paint my nails, so I usually binge watch a television show or choose a movie to enjoy as I work my way through the nail routine. Brian says I’m not really watching the TV at all, but my ADD loves focusing on the detail of nails with the background of entertainment. I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas on Netflix to get myself in the mood (and the fact that Saturday was Christmas in July only made it that much sweeter of an idea), and thought that my Sally Skellington Costume needed a refresh in the form of nail art. So I pulled out my Julep collection and carefully chose the colors that I would use to create patchwork nails.

Julep Nail Polish for Sally Skellington Nails

Julep colors: Dawn, Carla, Veronica, Brielle, Joanne, Nic, and Amy

I started with my base coat – and I used the Julep Oxygen Bonding Base Coat to hold the polish longer. Then, I applied the first layer of each nail.  I decided I was going to follow the movie version of Sally’s dress, though my costume is based on the cartoon drawing of Sally (so you’ll note the difference with the large polka dot, I used Carla instead of Amy for the base coat). Feel free to play around with the colors, because there are dozens that would fit the patchwork dress. I was hoping the Nic would be a deeper black than it is (it’s a blood-red black), but it worked out pretty well for what I wanted. The rest of the colors were almost exactly what I wanted.

After I let the base color dry, I began applying the designs. I used my Julep striping brush (which works okayish) and Nic to paint lines and patterns. I wasn’t terribly brilliant at the swirls, but I was also using my non-dominant hand to paint them, so give me a little leeway with that. I didn’t completely think the hands through.

I kept the left Amy and Dawn pinky and ring finger bare to match Sally’s sleeve and upper quadrant respectively. I painted the swirls on the Veronica middle finger, vertical stripes on the Dawn pointer finger, and diagonal stripes on the Carla thumb.


Sassy Sally Costume
On the right hand, I kept the Nic thumb bare for the abdomen section of Sally’s dress. I painted the Brielle pointer finger with a crisscross design and a messy slash design over the Dawn middle finger to match the tiny patch on Sally’s dress. I painted thick stripes over the Joanne ring finger and messy dots on the Veronica pinky nail.

After the designs were dry, I added the large polka dots to the Carla diagonal striped thumb using the Julep dotting tool. I let them all dry completely and applied the Oxygen Performance Top Coat. (Pro-tip: Continue to reapply top coat daily for longest lasting nails.)

To match my Sally Skellington costume, I decided to paint my nails with a variety of colors and tools, creating a neat patchwork nail look.After I finished with my nails, I kicked back and watched the end of the movie, as Sally (the most logical character in the whole movie) helps Jack save the day. Because she’s awesome.

The Nightmare Before Christmas on NetflixI love playing around with funky nail art, and thank God for my Maven subscription to Julep. Every month, I get 2-3 new polish colors, lipstick shades and other beauty products for a fraction of the cost. If you’re looking to create your own sweet nail designs with some of the most unique nail colors, you may want to consider becoming a maven too. You can even try them out for free (with the low shipping cost of $2.99). If you’re anything like me, you’ll fall in love and never look back. I also regularly purchase a monthly mystery box, have early access to a secret store full of killer deals, AND get free shipping/20% off regular priced items on every purchase.

This post was brought to you by the fine people at Netflix, who didn’t pay me to say nice things, but they did give me a year’s subscription to Netflix and a device on which to stream it in order to tell y’all about my experiences with the Stream Team. 

Netflix Stream Team

Some links used in this post may contain affiliate codes. If you make any purchases through these links, I’ll make a small commission to keep this site running. 

 

 

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!

New Year’s Resolutions…You’re Doing Them Wrong

Show of hands, Blog Friends…

Who’s making a New Year’s Resolution this year? I’ll bet it’s related to weight, money, happiness, or education…amiright?

New Year's Resolutions

Fuck that shit, you guys. Everyone makes THOSE resolutions. It’s time to get serious about your life. Do some hard thinking and really plan out the year that you want. Lucky for you, I’ve come up with the perfect system for resolution making. It’s seriously flawless. I’ve taken the liberty of breaking down the ultimate resolution checklist by month to make it easy for you to achieve your goals. You’re welcome in advance.

January Goals

Do fucking nothing. You’ve spent the last 2-8 weeks preparing for the holidays, whether you celebrate Christmas, New Year’s, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice or whatever…and before that, there was that whole Thanksgiving feast thing to worry about. Slow the fuck down, young padawan. January is a month of rest – not a month of fixing your life. You’ve survived the last however many weeks, months or years without hitting up the gym…I’ll bet your body can do another 4 weeks while you cuddle in front of the TV doing absolutely nothing.

February Goals

Get the fuck out of town. If you’re in a cold-weather climate, you’re probably cold, tired and depressed because you haven’t seen the sun in weeks. Even if you’re just hitting up a local indoor water park for the weekend, buck up and get away. Even if it’s not cold, go somewhere different. Use the time away to think and unwind. You’ll be revitalized to really get moving on these resolutions you’re about to start.

Marco Island Florida

Valentine’s Day

  • If you’re single, ACTUALLY ignore Valentine’s Day. Don’t say you’re ignoring it and then go out with all your girlfriends to celebrate you. Go to work. Eat a regular candy bar and not 27 mini candy bars in your favorite game of heart-shaped chocolate roulette. Eat your regular frozen dinner and skip the bottle of wine tonight. Spend a few hours playing Candy Crush or whatever it is you do when you’re not doing anything important. It’s just another day.
  • If you’re in a relationship, go ahead and do something on Valentine’s Day. Even if you could give two shits about that “silly Hallmark holiday,” you’ve got a honey to hug, so hug them.

March Goals

Drink more. It’s still cold. And gray. And snowy. Or rainy. And the days are still pretty short. So go ahead and enjoy a bottle or two of wine. Your waistline won’t mind…Plus it’s good for your heart (I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I’M A MASTER OF BULLSHIT. DO NOT LISTEN TO MEDICAL ADVICE THAT I PRETEND TO GIVE.)

April Goals

Go outside, lazy. The weather is finally picking up. It doesn’t matter if you’re just dining al fresco in 65 degree weather…get your ass outside. You’ve been cooped up inside eating and drinking for 3-5 months. You could use a little Vitamin D.

Spring Tulips on State Street

Plan for something amazing. It’s now time to start thinking of a summer getaway. If your local weather gets sweltering, head north for a cool, breezy summer vacay. Or head somewhere even warmer. Or plan a getaway to meet up with a bunch of people on the internet that you’ve never met before (or that you meet every summer just like summer camp only better). Do  what you want, yo. It’s your vacay.

May Goals

Wish me happy birthday, bitches. As I was born in the beautiful month of May, you should plan to stop by and say happy birthday to me. I mean. You know. If you want.

Pick some flowers. Just, you know…don’t be an asshat and pick flowers from your neighbor’s garden. Go to a field or park where you are allowed to pick flowers. Or try your own backyard. Dandelions and other “weeds” totally count. But not that kind of weed. It’s like you’re not even listening to me. Sheesh.

June Goals

Overuse your grill. If you don’t have a grill, you’re doing it wrong. Stop cooking inside. Your home will stay cooler, and your food will taste better. If you don’t believe that everything tastes better on the grill, you’re wrong. And that’s that.

July Goals

Drink a cold one (or twelve). It’s summer, and what’s summer without a frosty beer? Try something new, this time though…No more of that Miller Lite bullshit. Journey outside your boundaries of piss water, and drink a crafty craft beer.

I love this beer.

I love this beer.

Cash in on those vacation plans. Whether you’re heading to a small local getaway like the Wisconsin Dells, a nearby beach, or a local lakeside escape, go enjoy a weekend or week of summer. You’ve been working hard on your resolutions; you deserve it.

August Goals

Plan out your Halloween costume. For real this time. Don’t SAY you’re going to have a plan and then forget until October 25, when you’re forced to tease the fuck out of your hair, thrown makeup all over your face and pretend to be a crazy lady.

Halloween teased hair

 

September Goals

Get your Christmas shopping done. Imagine you. In December. Without a fucking shopping care in the world. You don’t have to worry about who’s got free shipping. You won’t have to step foot in a mall from November through January. Pat yourself on the back this year and get that shit over with early.

October Goals

Go ALL out for Halloween. I’m talking costumes. Decorations. Treat bags for the kids. Get wild and have fun. You know you’ve always wanted to.

Eat your favorite candy. It’s okay. You didn’t make a goal to lose weight this year. You’re following the resolutions that will allow you to have more fun this year. So go ahead. Buy that bag of Almond Joys. I won’t tell.

November Goals

Celebrate Thanksgiving, and DON’T call Thanksgiving or a dinner with friends, “friendsgiving.” Thanks in advance for limiting the hipster buzzwords from spreading like gonorrhea.

Avoid getting suckered into Black Friday. God created the internet for a reason. You can do all your sale shopping from the comfort of your home…while you’re still in your underwear. Or naked. Just…you know…avoid taking selfies.

December Goals

Plan for next year. Don’t wait for me to tell you what to do. Make your own list this time. Maybe you can give me a few pointers, because I’ll surely tap out halfway through December in stress mode.

Eat, drink, and be merry. Seriously. You only live once. Enjoy it.

Happy New Year, guys! What goals would you add to this list?

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!

21 AWESOME Themed Christmas Trees to Decorate Your Home

If you didn’t already know this, I have a Christmas tree problem. I mean…Brian calls it a problem. I think it’s a fun way to celebrate the holidays. Luckily, I’m not alone in my crazy. I certainly didn’t get this way all on my own, and I don’t think Brian’s childhood was completely immune to the idea of a themed Christmas tree – or an overabundance of Christmas in general. But I LOVE themed Christmas trees. I came across an article on Yahoo! DIY that had a variety of unique tree ideas, and it really got me thinking. My people (and Brian’s people) are evil geniuses when it comes to Christmas tree themes. I knew that I had to share the joy. Without further ado, I’d like to present you with my friend-sourcing project for the holidays. Below you’ll find the Christmas trees that we, along with our friends and family, put up for Christmas.

I’ll start with my themed trees. I know that Hallmark isn’t really a “theme” but you know what? I’ve wanted one ever since I saw Katie Kelly’s mom’s Hallmark tree, so you bet your bottom dollar that I planned to have one when I grew up. The family trees pictured belong to myself, my mom, and my aunt (you’ll meet some of their other trees later in this post). Try to guess which one is mine. The bird tree is a tree that I received on my doorstep this year (courtesy of my aunt) with ornaments that belonged to Brian’s mother. It’s my all-time favorite tree. The shoe tree started as a random collection, much like my martini glass collection, and was upgraded from a 3-foot tree to a 4-foot tree last year, and this year has become a full-grown, 6-foot tree. The book tree was upgraded from a 12-inch tree to a 4-foot tree, but she’s got a ways to go before she’ll grow up any further.

Hallmark Ornament Tree

Hallmark Ornament Tree

Heirloom/Family Tree

Heirloom Trees

Bird Tree

Bird tree

Shoe Tree

2014-12-21 21.24.01

Book Tree

Book tree

Chicago Bears Tree

Comic Strips from Christmas past

Comic strips from Christmas past

My mom has her family ornaments strewn out on two separate trees in the family room and the living room/front room. She also has a 5-foot tinsel tree in the front hall. She’s even put lights on a palm tree to remind her of Florida. But the tree that amuses me the most? The Charlie Brown Christmas tree in her family room.

Charlie Brown Tree

Charlie Brown Tree

My aunt, who is one of the most Christmas-loving people I know and the very lovely benefactor of one of our many trees, goes all out for Christmas. I can only hope to have the time and energy to fill my home with as much Christmas joy as she does. The next several trees were all her creations, and I have to admit I’m completely jealous of all of them. I’m working toward a Grinch tree for Brian. My aunt does that one for my cousin who doesn’t seem to love Christmas as much as she and I do.

Grinch Tree

Grinch Tree

Sports Tree

Sports themed Christmas tree

Vintage Tree

 Vintage Ornament Christmas Tree 2

Flocked Santa Tree

Mr and Mrs Flocked Santas

Handmade Ornament Tree

Handmade Ornament Tree

Angel Tree

Angel Tree

Vintage Bone China Tree

Martha Stewart Tree with Vintage Bone China Ornaments

My mom’s best friend who is basically my second mom, has a vast collection of Barbie ornaments from Hallmark. When I was a child, I received many of these from her for Christmas, so I could very well have my own Barbie tree also. Right now, those ornaments live on my Hallmark tree. She has a beautiful pink tree loaded with Barbie, and oh boy is it beautiful!

Pink Barbie Tree

Pink Barbie Tree

One of Brian’s cousins sent me pictures of her stunning Disney-themed Christmas tree as well as her Disney advent calendar tree and S’mores-themed tree (Hey Joules! Lookout!). The Disney tree has 550 ornaments and 2000 LED lights to set a magical atmosphere that makes me wish I was in Lake Buena Vista. I am actually hoping to have a Mickey Mouse Christmas tree one year, and possibly a Disney princess or Disney villain tree as well. So this Disney tree is pretty much amazing. The Disney Advent Calendar tree would fit right in with the advent calendars article I read on Yahoo! DIY , as you can find each day of advent on the tree! The marshmallow tree has S’mores branded ornaments with little S’mores marshmallow men.

Disney Tree

Disney Tree (2)

Disney Advent Tree

 Disney Advent TreeMarshmallow S’mores Tree

Smores tree

My darling best friend on the planet, Katie (of Words for Words fame), with her darling penguin obsession has (obviously) a penguin tree. Which is so full to the brim with penguin ornaments that I stopped buying her penguin ornaments. And occasionally I will buy her penguin-y things…and keep them for myself. Because she has plenty of penguins. And everyone needs a tuxedo bird pal.

Penguin Tree

 Penguin tree

Another friend of ours, Kelly (who also sells amazing soap on Etsy), has a tree that she is absolutely in love with (and I certainly can’t blame her). This stunning peacock tree stands out in her home with teal, green, and blue feathers, magical sparkly ornaments and lots of help from her adorable tiny humans. This tree reminds of our bird tree, only with more sparkles and purples. I’m a huge fan.

Peacock Tree

Peacock Tree

And last, but certainly not least, my friend Joules, over at Pocketful of Joules, has her own really amazing tree that makes me super jealous I didn’t think of it first. She has a Wizard of Oz tree with all the fabulous characters from the beloved movie. With almost twenty-five ornaments, in an ornament collection/obsession that begun with gifts from her grandparents, this tree oozes of delicious joy.

Wizard of Oz Tree

Wizard of Oz Tree

Blog Friends, do you put up a themed Christmas tree? Do you celebrate Christmas? If you DID put up a themed tree, what would you WANT it to be?  Have you been following #YahooDIY for ideas and other fun goodies?

Thank you Yahoo! for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from Yahoo!, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

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!

Welcome to My Nightmare…. I Mean My Holiday Workshop

Greetings Blog Friends!

With Christmas a mere five days away, I’m going to whisk you away on a tour of all things deliciously holiday in our home. If you’re not into Christmas joy, you don’t even need to step away, because interspersed with Christmas decorations, trees, and crafts, you’re going to see all the crazy that I’ve experienced. So you’ll get Santa and the Grinch. I promise. It’s not all spotless dining rooms and fancy-pants trees (but there are those).

Let’s start with my holiday workshop. Now, USUALLY around this time, Christmas cards are sent off, presents are wrapped, and I’m patiently awaiting the arrival of Saint Nick. This year it’s more like the fourth circle of hell in which nothing is going right.

Christmas cards

Even though I think our cards are hysterical what with visual puns and stuff, I had a bazillion problems getting my cards this year, including the photo prints being late, our return address labels not getting printed out, not getting enough envelopes for the aforementioned cards and being short-changed on the number of cards printed. Christmas cards were finally sent off this morning with a few adventures in driving…

Like the person who made a right turn from the LEFT lane on a very busy major street. Or the crazy lady who almost hit me in the post office parking lot because she was flying through like a bat out of hell (and then proceeded to make her middle fingers dance in front of me when I was stuck behind her at a red light).

Holiday Workshop Tools

A little Christmas gift from Office Depot and Office Max to help smooth out my ridiculous holidays

Next year, I’m getting everything done at Office Depot. I’ve never had issues with them, and I hear they do holiday cards too. They were kind enough to send me some helpers for my holiday greeting card checklist, including stickers to seal the envelopes and pens to write out all the addresses. I was even able to slide in some of the thank you notes they sent for people who gave us gifts for our housewarming. (I’m all for the multitasking y’all. Some people got three pieces of correspondence in one envelope.)

Christmas presents

Today, I’ll be locking myself in our soon-to-be guest room, which is currently doubling as my holiday workshop with the rest of my goodies from  my wonderful friends at Office Depot and Office Max. I’m going to make a cup of cocoa, turn up the Holiday Lite (our Christmas radio station), and wrap wrap wrap my little heart out. With  gift tags, ribbon, two rolls of tape, markers and a pair of scissors from OD, and the BAZILLION rolls of wrapping paper that I have from the last few years of clearance shopping, I’ll be able to stick to my ridiculous OCD-tendency need to wrap everyone’s individual presents in different wrapping paper.

My holiday workshop

This is it. In all it’s disastrous glory. Boxes, presents, wrapping tools and ribbons EVERYWHERE…and a tree to set the mood.

What are your Christmas card/present-wrapping habits? Are you finished or still kickin’? Have you even started? What would make your holidays easier?

Disclosure: I was not compensated to write this post, but I did receive some very helpful goodies from Office Depot and Office Max to make my holiday workshop just a little bit less of a stressful place to be. 

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!

Get Your Bathroom Ready for the Holidays

I’m working with my friends at Charmin and Roto-Rooter to show you how I get my bathrooms ready for the holidays.

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Charmin. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

As you probably remember, we just moved into our first (and please for the love of cheese, last) house and instead of one piddly apartment bathroom, we’re now the proud owners of three. Full. Bathrooms. This is one of them. This is actually the upstairs hall bathroom, but I like the tree in this bathroom best. I’ve had it for more than twenty years – It started as my bedroom Christmas tree, and now it’s my bathroom tree. The fancy soap dish and soap were Brian’s mom’s. I’m pretty sure that soap just keeps getting put out and no one uses it. I’m okay with that, because the other soap makes my hands smell like gingerbread cookies.

Bathroom Decorated for Christmas

Thanks to our party-friendly house, we (okay fine, I) volunteered to host Christmas. For 30-40 people. Both Brian’s family and my family will be joining us for one of my absolute favorite holidays as we celebrate, eat, drink and make merry.

People keep asking me, “Are you sure?” as if I volunteered out of obligation, but really, ALL MY GRISWOLD DREAMS ARE COMING TRUE!

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to do this. Of course, knowing me, something is bound to go wrong. Thankfully I’m stocked with Charmin (the brand backed by Rotor-Rooter as a clog-free and septic-safe TP) for the holidays so I won’t have to worry about a clogged toilet, even with 30-some-odd people in our house, and can instead focus on not burning myself, cutting myself or falling down the stairs.

Prep your bathroom for the holidays in six easy steps

Step 1: Stock up on toilet paper  – I usually opt for Charmin since it’s the softest, strongest and comes highly recommended by the plumbers at Roto-Rooter. The partnership between Charmin and Roto-Rooters promises that your toilets will stay clog free this holiday season. Make sure to have a couple extra rolls on hand in case someone runs out in the middle of their business. I can’t store them in the cabinet under the sink, since my laundry chute lives there, so I stock TP behind the mirror in the bathroom.

Bathroom stocked with TP

Step 2: Prepare for hand washing with lots of soap – I try to have festive holiday soap for the season, and always have a backup ready to switch out. I also like to have different scents in each bathroom.

Downstairs Bathroom - snowmen

Step 3: Use clean and dry hand towels or disposable hand towels – If you can splurge on the disposable hand towels, life will be oh-so-much easier, but a supply of cloth towels is great as long as you have extras to switch out regularly. With 30-40 people coming to our home, I’m going to have both.

I haven't gotten new fancy Christmas towels yet - I'll buy them after Christmas when they're 75% off.

I haven’t gotten new fancy Christmas towels yet – I’ll buy them after Christmas when they’re 75% off.

Step 4: Place a trash bin next to the toilet – You’ll be especially grateful if you use the disposable hand towels to have an empty trash container with a disposable liner or grocery bag. (I don’t think you need a picture of my trash bin.)

Step 5: Set up a Christmas tree and decorations – I kept things simple this year and just put up my mini tree, but other years, I’ve had Christmas towels and other decorative accents to really celebrate the season.

Mini Christmas tree in the bathroom

Step 6: Invite everyone over – Get ready for the hap hap happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, my friends, because your bathroom is ready to go. Don’t invite your elf on the shelf though. You never know what kind of trouble she’ll get into.

Meredelf Grey - just hanging around.

Meredelf Grey – just hanging around.

And just for fun, I made a quick video for you! Welcome to my upstairs hall bathroom. Thanks a million to my pal Brookie Banosnapper for coming over to shoot this little vid for me. I can’t even tell you how much flack I got for the way I put the toilet paper on the roll. Apparently, she’s of the toilet paper must be placed over and not under camp. I personally could care less, but she made me change it.

Blog Friends, what do you do to get ready for the holidays? Do you host parties this time of year? What holiday-ready bathroom tips do you swear by? Do you have a toilet paper brand preference? How about over or under?

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!

Holiday Leftover Breakfast Pizza – It Sounds Gross, But Even Brian Liked It

Okay, so after Thanksgiving, my girlfriend Brookie Banosnapper Snapchatted me with her fancy “Turkey and hollandaise with poached eggs on flatbread” and “I’m making all the soup from Thanksgiving leftovers” I’m-cooler-than-you-videos.

In typical lady fashion, I had to one-up her.

I also had to use some of the Thanksgiving leftovers that I had in order to make room in my fridge for Second Thanksgiving food prep and such. It was a Saturday morning. I was bored. I was hungry. And I thought…what the hell? Let’s get experimental and crazy up in here.

So I did this. And OMG even Brian was down with it.

Holiday leftovers breakfast pizza

If you have Snapchat, why aren’t we friends yet?

The beauty of this breakfast treat is that it’s totally relevant after whatever holiday feast you’ve got going for you. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Easter. Random fancy-pants Sunday dinner if you do that sort of thing.

Holiday Leftover Breakfast Pizza Recipe

Holiday leftover breakfast pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 can of crescent rolls
  • 1 cup turkey
  • 1 cup ham
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cheese (or more) (I used brie on half and Vella Dry Monterey Jack on half)
  • 3 Eggs

Method

  1. Roll out crescent rolls in a circular shape on a round pan (I used my pizza stone, but you can use non-stick pans or whatever you prefer, really)
  2. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on the type of pan you used (longer for stoneware) and your preferred crustiness
  3. Slice or shred cheese (I sliced the brie and shredded the Jack)
  4. Dice ham and turkey (if you don’t have a cup of each, don’t worry about it…I’m really bad at that whole measuring thing)
  5. Add the meat to a non-stick frying pan (or a regular frying pan with your spray, butter, or oil of choice)
  6. Cook for a minute
  7. Crack the eggs over the meat and scramble in the pan (I prefer this method to pre-scrambling, but you can do it your scrambled way and it’ll work just fine)
  8. Set the scrambled eggs aside
  9. Remove the crescent crust from the oven and spread with cranberry sauce (I knew Brian wouldn’t want the cranberry, so I only used that on half the pizza)
  10. Evenly distribute the scrambled eggs on the cranberry sauce or crust
  11. Top with cheese (I used brie over the cranberry side and the Jack on the non-cran side)
  12. Return the pan to the oven to melt cheese (keep it on bake if you’re using stoneware, broil otherwise)
  13. Remove when cheese is melted
  14. Slice and enjoy

Brian was surprisingly impressed with my Thanksgiving leftovers breakfast pizza concept (and thankful that I didn’t include the cranberry sauce on his half). I had two slices for breakfast and two slices for lunch, while Brian ate 4 slices for brunch – he doesn’t wake up in time to eat breakfast with the laypeople. He also added a little sriracha hot sauce to his slices, and that was pretty damn tasty too.

What weirdo creations have you concocted with leftovers? Tell me your leftover war stories – the good, the bad and the ugly. Any kitchen successes that probably should have been fails or vice versa?

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