The Bad Ass Book Club for Nice Girls

Starting a book club is a lot of work. No, seriously. It’s fucking painful. But the results? OH SO WORTH IT.

A few months ago, I was contacted by a company about reading a book for a book club (and they’d provide 1. The books. 2. The wine. 3. Some snacky stuff. 4. Extras.)

So I rallied the troops. I said to a collection of my girlfriends, “LADIES, let’s start a book club. We’ll call it The Bad Ass Bitches’ Book Club. And it will be good.”

And the troops were in. Unfortunately, between regular gaming nights, epic social lives and the holidays…it was damn near impossible to get together.

FINALLY, we were able to set a date. While not everyone could make it, the wheels were set in motion.

Look! They sent us hats! :)

Look! They sent us hats! ūüôā

When the calendar invites went out, Brookie Banosnapper (pictured above, slightly behind me) requested that we change the name to “The Nice Girls’ Book Club. Because we’re nice.

And so, I modified it to the Bad Ass Book Club for Nice Girls (even if we’re sometimes a little bit bitchy). And our little club was formed.

This Missing Something Club Book Review

 

We read¬†The Missing Something Club by William Haylon…and I use the phrase, “we read” loosely. Of the four ladies who made it to the inaugural book club meeting, only two of us finished the story. We both enjoyed the easy read and the basic plot line of the story, one of the others couldn’t get into it based on the first few pages, and the other just didn’t find the time to get into it (though she liked¬†the writing that she did read). Two other¬†friends who didn’t make it¬†to the book club weren’t a fan of the story at all.

SPOILER ALERT: I’m really bad with giving a synopsis without giving away what might be a spoiler. So take this as fair warning.

The premise of the story begins with a 50-year-old empty nester and divorcee who feels lost. She starts a Meet Up group for people who are missing something. Whatever that something in their lives may be. Five strangers initially show up, varying in age, sex, and life experiences. The story follows their experiences through the separate voices of each character, who all seem to find themselves with the help of the oldest member of the crew.

There’s a lot of drinking. A lot of human nature. A lot of nakedness (thought mostly non-sexual nakedness). And more drinking. The characters are all deeply flawed, and I think that’s part of the point of the story. All of the women pose naked for the oldest character, where they share even more of themselves and open up in ways they don’t even open up in the weekly group. The book is a lot of therapy jammed into several chapters.

Unfortunately, for me, while I liked the premise of the story, I wasn’t sure I liked the way it was delivered. I enjoyed some of the prose, but the dialogue (and there was a LOT of dialogue) felt unnatural – almost too formal. And some of the things the characters did were…extreme. In general, though, it was an easy read and I found myself enjoying parts of it it the further I delved into it.

Brookie liked the story too, and played the part of teachers’ pet when it came to answering questions for the book club. After talking about the book, I think I liked it a little bit more. Seeing it from Brooke’s perspective definitely helped me to gather that each of the very flawed characters has something that I can relate to…and that was a really interesting way to see it.

BUT…we did eat. drink. and make merry. And we started a joyous club that will hopefully live on for many years to come.

Would you ever join a club without knowing the members? Do you think that drinking makes it easier or more difficult to open up and share secrets? What about nudity Рwould being naked make it easier or harder to share secrets?

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!

EASY Toaster Oven Lunch Plan – Spicy Baked Tilapia and Truffle Goat Cheese Sub

You guys know I love me some Gorton’s Seafood, right?

Easy, fast, and delicious fishy goodness. Perfect when you’re forced to cook seafood for one…or when you go to your parents house to cook a meal for everyone except your boyfriend because he hates seafood…

Well, I recently discovered that these delightful little Simply Bakes are PERFECT for lunches at work (if you have access to a toaster oven or full-size oven – which we have both). I decided I’d pack everything I need for a tasty little tilapia sammy. I wanted it to be simple and flavorful. I had a French baguette waiting to be used, so I sliced a sandwich size chunk and bagged that for work. Then I grabbed a toaster oven sized panto put the Simply bakes bag in. I knew I had tiny packets of Tabasco sauce at my desk, and figured cheese was a necessity in this venture. When I left for work that morning,¬† I grabbed the baguette, the fish from the freezer and Trader Joe’s truffle goat cheese from the fridge, threw them in the bag with the pan and jetted to the train.

Spicy Baked Tilapia and Truffle Goat Cheese Sub at Work

Spicy Tilapia and Truffle Goat Cheese Sub

Ingredients

  • 1 Gorton’s Seafood Simply Bakes Tilapia fillet (if you only have access to a microwave, you can use the Gorton’s Grilled Tilapia, but it won’t be as saucy)
  • 6-inch French baguette
  • 1-2 oz truffle goat cheese
  • Tabasco sauce to taste

Process

  1. Preheat toaster oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Put the fish in the toaster oven for 20-25 minutes
  3. Remove fish and let stand in bag
  4. Toast the baguette
  5. Spread goat cheese on one side of the toasted bread
  6. Flake the fish over the cheese
  7. Drizzle sauce from the bag into the sandwich
  8. Top it all off with a healthy spray of Tabasco
  9. Devour

This healthy(ish) and delicious recipe is a result of working with my friends at Gorton’s. This month, they’ve partnered with SparkPeople to focus on realistic resolutions. Now, you’ve all seen my 2015 resolutions, and I wasn’t kidding. I’m not doing anything to lose weight this month. But I couldn’t just send you to a site without checking it out. That’s not my style. So, I signed up for an account and set my SparkPeople goals to maintain my current weight. I decided that I would check out the Realistic Resolutions 30-Day Challenge, and I’m really glad I did. SparkPeople offers a great tracking tool and community for you to get started on your weight loss (or maintenance routine). The challenge has 30 daily tasks, all of which are pretty simple changes to make if you’re interested in getting started on a healthy journey.

The Giveaway

In addition to leading you to The SparkPeople and sharing my new favorite lunch recipe, I’m hosting a delightful little giveaway for some goodies. All you need to do is comment below with your favorite seafood recipe or dish.

One lucky winner will receive:

While you’re playing the giveaway game, you can enter the Gorton‚Äôs Eat Smarter Sweepstakes to win $5,000 or one of many daily prizes.

This giveaway has ended.

Blog Friends, what’s your favorite seafood dish?

This post is brought to you by my friends at Gorton’s. I was not paid to write nice things, but I did receive free products in order to give you my honest opinion. You can get social with Gorton’s and like/follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram using the hashtag #RealisticResolution.

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

Let’s Be Honest Here…Cleaning Isn’t Exactly My Favorite Thing To Do…

Does anyone really love cleaning?

If you answered yes, please send me an e-mail, I’ll send you my address and you can come clean. I’ve got everything you need to get the job done; all you have to do is show up. Also, I pay in whiskey, vodka, and wine.

The other day I gave you some stellar tips for New Year’s resolutions, and I wasn’t joking. I really did mean do nothing in January. Relax. Calm down. But if you’re going to enjoy eating and drinking and cuddling in front of the TV for a month…I highly recommend a clean house/apartment/condo/whatever. If you haven’t found the right cleaning professional yet, you’re also going to need to take a few hours to do this yourself. (I know. I really honest to goodness considered hiring someone¬†after all the Christmas madness, but I’m also Polish.)

Our house has pretty much been a madhouse since we moved in. Mostly thanks to my crazy.

Brian new house cleaning

This was before we moved into the¬†new house when everything was empty and new to us…We even received a few cleaning supplies to get started thanks to Butler Products (Mr. Clean, Black & Decker, Dawn, and EverCare)

A month¬†after we closed¬†on the house, we threw a housewarming party (don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it later. I promise.) A month after we moved in (so three weeks after the housewarming party), we hosted Second Thanksgiving for my college crew.

Brian even swept the front porch with the Black and Decker broom

Brian even swept the front porch with the 24 inch Black & Decker Indoor/Outdoor Push Broom
while I took pictures…

A month after Second Thanksgiving, we hosted Christmas dinner for both of our families (about 30 people in total). And finally, a week after Christmas, we had some family over to play games on New Year’s Eve. Quite frankly, I’m surprised Brian hasn’t actually killed me yet.

Mopping with Mr. Clean Mop

Brian mopped the floor with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Super Twist Mop and a flat back bucket before guests arrived on Christmas Day. This mop is super awesome as that little round thing on the end is a magic eraser, designed to get those tricky stains! Also, does anyone else think my aloe plant looks like a creepy green hand?

So it’s been a roller coaster of clean/party/clean/party/clean/party etc since Day 1. Things got lost. It took me 2 weeks to find my Jewel saver stamps so I could turn them in for my free Cuisinart cookware at Jewel. That’s what happens when last minute cleaning turns into¬†QUICK! Hide everything in cabinets, drawers, closets, boxes, and the basement!

It’s time.

While I have every intention of soaking up the relaxation of January and doing very little, I’ll be cleaning and arranging the house piece by piece so that everything is organized and has a place.

Brian may help me, and he may not (as you can see, he certainly helped a lot before all the parties)…but we’re fully armed with a couple of my favorite brands to really get stuff done around this place.

 

Cleaning supplies from Butler products

The good old days…when there was nothing in our house but cleaning products.

 

So cleaning may not be my favorite thing, but at least I’ve got the tools I need to make it as easy as possible.

Blog friends, how do you get yourself organized? Do you do it all in one day, or do you take your time, like I intend to? What are your can’t-live-without cleaning products of choice?

While no one compensated me to write this blog post, I did receive free Butler Cleaning Products, including items ¬†from Mr. Clean, Black & Decker, Dawn and EverCare¬†in order to give you my honest opinion. As I think it’s important to keep my reviews completely honest, I promise that I will never write anything I don’t believe in or agree with.

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!

Another New Fancy Phone For the Win

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Sprint. I received a sample device to facilitate my review.

2014-12-28 15.31.01

So I’m really loving the¬†Sharp AQUOS Crystal¬†that I received from my friends at Influence-Central and Sprint. This beautiful fancy phone has a stylish look and runs on the Sprint Spark network, which gives it a one-up when it comes to watching videos, so watching Netflix was fantastic! I spent some quality time with this phone on the train watching some of my favorite shows, playing a game or two and just enjoying everything that the AQUOS had to offer. ¬†This phone also comes equipped with Google Mobile services that I use regularly, including Google Search, Google¬†Maps, Google Navigation, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google+ and YouTube, so I can get all my Google on in one place.¬†Sharp AQUOS Crystal

It comes pre-loaded with lots of apps with which to play

I love the style¬†of the phone. The sleek AQUOS is thin, and the screen kicks serious butt with a¬†five-inch,¬†edge-to-edge HD design. The screen is clear and bright, and I think it’s awesome. My brother recently cracked his current phone’s screen and called dibs on this piece of tech that he oohed and ahhed over.

Sharp AQUOS Crystal

I love how thin the phone is

I wanted to show you the camera features, but I’m not a very talented photographer. There are a lot of sweet options to make this camera stellar, if you’re really good with a camera. I know that with a little more time, I could get to know the features better and my pics would look magnificent. So here’s what I was able to capture.

 

Sloth and Lillian Connelly artPhoto captured with Sharp AQUOS Crystal

I thought I’d take a picture of my new sloth buddy, Ebenezer hanging next to my Lillian Connelly print. Photo captured with Sharp AQUOS Crystal

Photo captured with Sharp AQUOS Crystal

Photo captured with Sharp AQUOS Crystal

Olive penguin photo captured with Sharp AQUOS Crystal

Olive penguin photo captured with Sharp AQUOS Crystal

Backyard Photo captured with Sharp AQUOS Crystal

Backyard photo captured with Sharp AQUOS Crystal in the 50-degree Chicago December

The Sharp AQUOS is only available through Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile. As a Sprint Ambassador, I have been given complimentary services on both Sprint and Boost networks, but I’m also an eleven-year Sprint account holder with a family plan that I do pay full-price for. We recently switched my mom over to Boost, and she’s enjoying services with them, as well.

Overall, I was a huge fan of this phone. The design, the HD quality, and the Sprint Spark bonus makes this a sure bet for this girl. If I wasn’t giving it to my brother, I’d be switching my service over to this puppy in a heartbeat.

What features do you look for in a mobile device? What about in a mobile carrier?

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!

Quirky Chrissy’s Adult (Not DIRTY Adult – Just Grown-Up Adult You Sicko) Holiday Gift Guide Extravaganza!

Shopping for kiddos is easy. Shopping for grown ups? Not so much. As adults, we tend to buy what we want when we want it. Okay, Brian and I do, anyways. So from November 1 through December 25, Brian is under a strict no-purchase rule, as he has, on more than one occasion, bought what I was planning to buy him for Christmas/birthday/etc. ¬†But I’ve crossed paths with several really fun and unique gift ideas (okay and some tried-and-true ideas too) that you can steal (don’t actually steal the products, homies – just steal my ideas) to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Okay, fine. Everyone above the age of 12. And in some cases the age of 21. I’m not encouraging illegal gift giving here, people.

Holiday Gift Guide

The Best Gifts for Him

I may not be a dude, but I’ve got a dude in my life who is REALLY flippin’ hard to shop for. Last year I made him a romantical (slightly funny) book of looooooove swoon and he actually really loved it. He’s sentimental like that. Here are a few top picks from Brian (okay fine. I added a few of my own too, since he was mostly unhelpful…Amazon gift cards are not PRESENTS Brian.

Wireless, keyboardless keyboard

Brian was a big fan of this gift I got him for his birthday. It’s gadgety and techy and cool. It works pretty well too! My cousin sent me a link showing me how sweet it was, and I knew that was exactly what I needed to get for Brian. We’ve used it for the internetty stuff we do on the TV, because it’s way easier than trying to navigate with the regular remote.

ThinkGeek Goodies

Brian suggested shopping around ThinkGeek for cool stuff. If you’re like me, and hoard Amazon gift cards from the internet, you can find a bunch of Think Geek products¬†available on that big box digital retailer of joy. Plus free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime. Please note, Brian also suggested Amazon gift cards as gifts. I only half acknowledged that. Because I prefer to find the best presents for the people.

 

The Best Gifts for Her

Speaking as a lady, I’ve got some adorable ideas for lady gifts that I have, love or want. These are those.

Get Fit for the Holidays with terrific yoga gifts from YogaAccessories.com

Handmade art jewelry

My pal Lily makes the BEST art jewelry. With glass stones and alcohol ink, Lily creates one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces that any lady would be lucky to have. I have one of her pendants and always get the best compliments when I wear it! The prices at Dome Life Studio are also quite reasonable, so maybe pick one up for yourself, too.

Dome Life Studios Jewelry

Zazzle Home goodies

I LOVE Zazzle. I’ve actually bought Brian a ton of gifts from Zazzle (a couple of mugs with octopods and a really sweet wall clock for his zone in the office), but I recently had the opportunity to try out some of the Zazzle Home products and thought they were super awesome. Zazzle¬†offered to send me a product of my choice from their home department.¬†¬†I spent hours perusing the pillows, lamps, blankets and poufs. I eventually settled on the polka dot pouf beside my reading chair, and it was the perfect addition to our home. ¬†Not only is it adorable and (sort of) matchy matchy with my polka dot blanket, but it served as additional seating when we had 64 people in our house a few weeks ago. It was easy to pull up to the circle and join the conversation, and it was comfortable too! It’s a little squishy, but mostly solid and ideal as a foot rest or seating. A few days after I received the pouf, I found myself scouring the pillow collection to see what else they had. I really wanted something with chevrons, so I got a pillow in the same colors, but with chevrons. I think it turned out pretty well, if I don’t say so myself.

Zazzle Home Pouf and Pillow (the blanket was already mine)

Zazzle Home Pouf and Pillow (the blanket was already mine)

The Zazzle Black Friday sales are happening all week. So check them out and use this code for super savings: ZWEEKOFDEALS

60% Off wrapped canvas, posters

50% Off wrapping paper, all cards, stickers, calendars

25% Off ornaments, bags, jewelry, speakers

$15 Off pillows, chocolate boxes, lamps, watches

20% Off all orders

FREE shipping with zBlack (I’ve been a zBlack member for several years now, and the free shipping is so worth it.)

And if you’re in the mood for some of Brian’s art on Zazzle products or you want some random and ridiculous things I’ve created in my Zazzle store, you should check out the Quirky Shop. Just make sure that your content filter (left navigation bar) is off. Because some of my designs are not appropriate for tiny humans. Like this flask inspired by The Bloggess.

Cunt flask

This doesn’t make me a bad person, right?

Gifts for Kids at Heart

If you’re like me (or your gift recipient is like me), these fun and lighthearted gifts will brighten their day in a way that only a child at heart can understand. From toys for grown ups to grown-up things featuring toys, you’re going to appreciate these epic finds as much as I have.

Fun Wall Art

I received a really fun canvas from Patents Wall Art¬†in order to tell you about it. You guys! I couldn’t decide what to get. While there were some cool mechanical/sciency/adulty patents available on canvas, I opted for something a little more my style. My decision was wavering between Mickey and LEGO patents, and ultimately, I went with Mickey Mouse. Because Walt Disney is one of my creative heroes. And he created Mickey Mouse. With Patents Wall Art, you can choose any pattern in several different colors. My personal favorites were navy, green and natural. Ultimately, I went with the natural shade, so I could¬†match it in any space (as we hadn’t bought our house or moved yet). Now it lives in my office nook, waiting to get hung on the wall. The product itself is pretty nice. The canvas comes mounted on wood and looks really cool in our office. I’m a fan.

Patents

Patents Wall Art

You can see it’s currently living beside my computer screen with my Disney pins and vision board.

Games

Last year, Brian stocked my up on Cards Against Humanity, Munchkin holiday cards and other choice gamer games. It made me happy. So I am an advocate for game gifts. I even put together a widget of games you should buy on Amazon. You’re welcome. You can find it here in the sidebar——————————————->

Of course, when I was at the ChiTAG Fair last week, I came across another adult game, that seems to be even more random and inappropriate that Cards Against Humanity. The game is called Utter Nonsense, and the logo is dudes without pants. I repeat. DUDES WITHOUT PANTS.

Utter Nonsense Game

So obviously, I bought it. They were recently funded on Kickstarter (LOVE KS) and are locally based out of Chicago.


The premise is simple: Read cards in funny voices to impress the rotating judge. You can paraphrase to match the voice of your chosen person/dialect/accent. For example, on Instagram, I spoke in my best Caveman voice(and I suck at Caveman), saying something about a photo app and math. Here. I’ll show you.

Playing the Instagram version of @utternonsensegame. #Cavemanspeak #nopantsgames #contest #stopjudgingme

A video posted by Quirky Chrissy (@quirkychrissy) on

Stocking Stuffers for Grown Ups

Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you don’t deserve your very own stocking chock full of goodies! As a teenager and adult living at home, Mom used to fill our stocking with the best stuff. Razors. Hair stuff. Beauty stuff. Candy. All the things you need or want, but don’t really want to pay for, amiright? Here are my picks for the best grown-up stocking stuffers this Christmas. Brian, take note.

Nail polish and makeup stocking stuffers

You all know¬†about my Julep obsession, I’m sure. I’ve been a maven since July and I’m addicted. The nail colors are spectacular, and the paint goes on so smoothly! They’ve also got some stellar make up products that I’m a big fan of. The lip gloss has a sweet smell to it that makes me happy. Plus if you sign up to be a maven, you get a 4-piece welcome gift for free. If you don’t sign up to be a maven, they’ve got an awesome clearance section full of fun colors and products, so you don’t feel like you’re breaking the bank on stocking stuffers.

Snow Day Welcome Box Offer

Razors make excellent adult stocking stuffers

Mom always put razors in my stocking stuffers. And I always put them in hers. So it seems like a great idea. Of course, my friends over at ShaveMOB also wanted me to let you know that they’ve got the perfect razor stocking stuffer gift for the holidays, so they sent me a starter set to test their product out. They have razors for men and women, so you can stuff¬†anyone’s stocking. Pink lady razors make me happy, so I was pleased to discover that they sent me a set of pink blades and a pink handle to win me over. You all remember what a pain in the ass it is to shave…so I had a little NoshaveNovtemtober (November/September/October) experiment. When I took to my woolly mammoth legs last week, the ShaveMOB razor did the trick. No cuts, either. Okay fine…just a mini scratching on my wrist. But in general, the razor rocked it. I recommend adding a moisturizing shave cream or gel to the stocking, as these razors don’t have added moisturizers. But the price is right – so I’m totally down with them!

ShaveMOB Razors

Mini bottles of booze

Don’t want the whole gift to be liquor? Stuff his or her stocking with their favorite mini bottles or give them a collection of new and exciting flavors/brands/etc to try.¬†In addition to mini liquor bottles like vodka, whiskey, Bailey’s and tequila, you can find mini bottles of wine and champagne. You can even pick up a pack of pre-mixed shots like Twisted Shotz (which we had at our housewarming party and were oh-so-good) to toss in a big stocking.

Fun socks

Funny story. Amazon suggested that I add these socks to my cart based on my wishlist of slothy stuffed animal joy. I already own them. It’s like Amazon KNOWS me.


Handmade soap

There’s something so natural and fabulous about using handmade soap instead of store-bought soap with all sorts of adding chemicals and stuff. My friend,¬†Kelly, started making her own handmade bars of soap and we’ve been using them. I’m in LOVE. Soft, gentle and aromatic. Brian smells like man with the beer soap and I smell like happiness and girlishness with the White Whey of Delight. You can visit her Etsy Store, The Little Blue Hippo for really fabulous homemade soap.

The Little Blue Hippo Phone and device cases

So a couple years ago, Brian stuffed both of our stockings (he likes to buy BOTH of us Christmas gifts…like last year when he gave me two tablets and said, “pick one.”) with phone cases for our new-ish phones. Speck is one of my favorite products when it comes to protective cases, as they’ve encased my phone in the past, and they currently encase my iPad mini. (I’m not going to lie, after seeing how cool the ShowFolio was, I wanted an iPad mini all to myself just so I could use a ShowFolio and I don’t even like Apple products. Thankfully, my friends at Netflix hooked me up with an iPad mini so I could play with my case.) They’ve got cases for all the most popular devices whether you’re an Android or Little i person. They come in several cool colors for everyone on your list, too!

Right now, Speck’s on sale!. Here are some current and upcoming deals.

  • November 24-27: 15% off site-wide*
  • Black Friday (Nov 28) ‚Äď Cyber¬†Monday¬†(Dec 1): 25% off site-wide*

Handmade Scrabble ornaments

Hey! Something you don’t have to buy! I stock up on Scrabble games through the garage sailing season, and then hot glue those bitches together for adorable Scrabble ornaments.

Book Scrabble Ornament

Giveaways and Christmas Cards

In honor of the holiday spirit, I have TWO wonderful things to offer you.

The first is an invitation to recieve our annual holiday card. If you’d like to receive a card from Brian and me, send your mailing address tochrissy@quirkychrissy.com.

The second is a big, fat holiday giveaway! I’ll be giving away a huge surprise collection of stuff, including the razor stocking stuffer from ShaveMOB, a Speck iPhone case, Julep products, a game or two and so very much more! To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment that says which of these gifts you think would be best for someone you love. You’ll get two entries if you visit any of the aforementioned sites to name specific products not mentioned here. Three entries if you share it on social media and tag or mention me. The giveaway ends at 10 PM on Friday December 5. The total prize is valued at more than $100. Just saying…

UPDATE: CONGRATS to Stephanie for winning the giveaway. You should have received an e-mail from me for your contact info!

Which of these gifts would be on your list? Will you be shopping online or in stores this season? What OTHER gifts would make great presents or stocking stuffers?

Disclosure: I received some of these products to review, while others were already on my list. I didn’t include anything I wouldn’t buy again. Additionally, some of these links are affiliate links, which means I make a tiny commission off your purchase. The Etsy sellers are my friends, but I do use/love their products. Basically, all of the above has my stamp of approval.

*Excludes iPhone 6, 6 Plus, custom cases, and Best Buy exclusives.

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!

My Mom’s First Selfie, My Secret Phone, and My Code Name is Cheesasaurus Rex

I’ve been with Sprint for over a decade. More than eleven years, according to a HAND-WRITTEN note from Angie at Sprint. Actually, it’s been about twelve¬†years, but who’s counting?

Disclosity-closure:¬†I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Sprint. I received a sample device to facilitate my review. I really have been a Sprint customer for what seems like forever. And I really would recommend them. And there’s a pretty fun story below, so keep reading.¬†

I like to say that I sold my soul to Sprint back in the fall of 2002 for a VERY fancy, then-super-techy flip phone. The Sanyo flip with a pretty blue screen and a¬†retractable¬†antenna¬†was ALL the rage…and a pretty lofty upgrade from my Nokia brick with the hot pink sparkle face plate¬†(Funny; come to think of it, my phone now is bigger than that brick). It was also jumping from a Chicagoland cellular phone provider to a company that had nationwide service, particularly service that stretched to the middle of Illinois, in Peoria, where I was a student at Bradley University.

So I sold my soul. Because I’m never leaving the Sprint family. (And it’s totally not a bad thing.)

What started as just me, and worked up to a family plan of five (me, Brian, Mama Bear, Papa Bear (post about Dad coming soon), and Little Brother), was a business relationship that has, in truth, had its ups and downs. My Sprint love-affair was a little rocky for a few years. Between 2011 and 2013, Sprint service was spotty. I was on the phone with customer service almost as often as I was on the phone with Brian. I got to know several of the customer service associates and they were, in fact, the reason I stayed with Sprint. I would get yelly, and they would calmly explain that they were upgrading the towers and talk me off my ledge.

Luckily, I stuck around. The Sprint upgrades in the Chicago metro area now include 4G LTE (long-term evolution) and HD voice (high-definition voice) so Sprint customers like me can get faster speeds and better call quality. Speeds of 50-60 Mbps are especially beneficial for streaming video and online gaming.

But this fancy 4G LTE service isn’t just for Sprint customers. Boost Mobile, a subsidiary brand of Sprint that offers pre-paid plans, also runs on the network. For the last several weeks, I’ve been testing out the LG Volt with a Boost Mobile monthly plan courtesy of the powers that be over at Sprint and Boost Mobile.

LG Volt

The LG Volt retails for $179.99

For $35, my secret phone and I can talk, text and max out on up to 1GB of high-speed data. They also have higher plans for $45 and $55 with higher levels of monthly high-speed data. Since this wasn’t my “real” number, I allowed myself to play with the Facebook app, Twitter app, and use it for social media galore. Which worked out well. I texted and called just a few people with the number, allowing it to be my “secret” phone. Obviously, I needed a code name.

Secret Phone and Code Name

A textversation with one of my favorite people.

My mom is excited that she’s getting her first smart phone pretty soon (coughthisonecough), so I let her test it out. The first thing she did? She took a selfie. My cousin and I photo bombed it. (The self-facing camera isn’t my favorite (It only has 1.3¬†MP), but it’s still better than a certain little i. I’m just saying.

My mom, my aunts, and my cousin were at cats for Halloween. Me? I was a mouse.

My mom, my aunts, and my cousin were at cats for Halloween. Me? I was a mouse.

The rest of the features are pretty on par with my regular smart phone. I really enjoyed having a phone that utilizes the Kit Kat system. Brian was less than impressed with some of the pre-loaded apps. I can’t say I blame him.

LG Volt pre-loaded apps review

The 8¬†MP¬†rear-facing camera was pretty solid, too. Doesn’t it make you just want to drink capirinha ¬†all night long?

Capirinha

What do you think, Blog Friends? Do you have Sprint? What cell phone service provider do you have? Do you love them, hate them or neither? Would you try out the Boost Mobile service for an easy $35 monthly cost?

You can also keep up with Sprint on Facebook and Twitter.

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!

Halloween Survival Kit Courtesy of Loot Crate

Happy Halloween bloggy friends!

 

I wanted to share this month’s Loot Crate box with you, so you could see how much fun I was having with it! As you remember from last month’s Galactic Loot Crate review, the October crate theme was fear. I knew that there would be some Walking Dead goodies and a sweet horror-related tee. I was pretty pumped to find this black kitten skull tee shirt on the top of the box. The first thing I saw was the kittens, and it took me a few minutes to catch the skull design. When I showed Brian, the first thing he saw was the skull. And I had to point out the kittens. He was kind of jealous (well…maybe a little {FINE. Not jealous at all]). Since I received a men’s XL, I told him he could borrow it some time. I think I may wear it tomorrow night to my first heavy metal concert. What do you think?

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The rest of the box included some other sweet things that I could use for surviving a Halloween full of zombies, ghosts, and other terrifying creatures. A SuperEmoFriends print of Daryl and Merle Dixon from the Walking Dead, bite mark temporary tattoos (which may also make an appearance at the metal concert), a Walking Dead comic with special Loot Crate exclusive cover art, a book with tips for surviving every type of potential disaster (including a sharknado), and a Dead Rising 3 sledgesaw pen hammer among a few smaller items like candy, a button and a digital code for a game. I really liked the shirt (obviously) and the comic. And the tattoos. And even the print (Daryl is still my favorite character, even though I stopped watching the show, and stick to the comic now). I think the weapon is surprisingly fun (not a Dead Rising girl), ¬†and if you check out Loot Crate’s Twitter feed, you’ll see several hilarious retweets of the hammer pen and a variety of beloved action figures.

The only thing that may make it into someone’s Christmas presents this year would be the Sharknado survival book, as it’s funny, but not something I would really read or keep on a shelf.

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Next month’s Loot Crate theme is Battle, which makes me hope and wish and dream for a Hunger Games reference (release is in a few weeks, y’all!)

Which piece in the Loot Crate box would you like best? What do you think is going to be in next month’s box? Would you dig a monthly surprise box full of nerdy toys and stuff?

I was not compensated for this review, though I was provided with a complimentary Loot Crate shipment in order to facilitate this review with my honest opinion, which you always receive. I only review products that are of interest and enjoyment to me, and hopefully may benefit 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 My Boyfriend Noticed About My Hair and Things He May Have Missed…

Brian rarely notices things I do to my hair. When he does, it’s kind of a big deal. A few weeks ago, I mentioned trying out Living Proof PhD (Perfect hair Day) so that you could get the DL on the life-altering promises that this stuff made. (Wait, you mean I really won’t have to wash my hair as often? And it’s going to be cleaner? And more awesome?) After using this for well¬†over a month, I can safely say that yes, it really did mean less hair washing without looking gross (Note: Previously, I could go about 2 days without washing my hair before it started looking SERIOUSLY oily and gross. That’s me. Not everyone. Just clarifying).

Living Proof

Note: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Living Proof. I received product samples to facilitate my review and to thank me for my participation.

So I’ve been washing my hair every 3 days or so (I actually went 4 days at one point…don’t you judge me) since starting this Living Proof regimen, and I haven’t been disappointed.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Review

I really enjoyed the results of styling my hair after using PhD. (And I can’t take a picture without making a funny face)

In my infinite wisdom, I styled my hair for Halloween…

Disclaimer: Normal people don't do their hair like this. But it's Halloween week, y'all.

Disclaimer: Normal people don’t do their hair like this. But it’s Halloween week, y’all.

And THANKFULLY, it wasn’t completely destroyed after the mass amounts of hairspray and teasing.

Living proof review

The day after the Halloween party. Unwashed hair. Boom.

And even after washing my hair and styling it, it’s definitely not destroyed.

As¬†I’ve been testing this product out, Brian really has noticed several things about my¬†hair, and I, of course, responded as best as I could:

  • ¬†“Your hair is softer. Did you do something to it?”
    • “I didn’t wash it?”
  • “Your hair smells nice.”
    • “It’s not my favorite smell, but I feel a lot better knowing that it’s just me being weird.” (Disclaimer – I hate orangy/citrusy smells for some odd reason, even though I love orange and citrus)
  • “You’ve been taking a lot of bubble baths lately.”
    • “That’s because I don’t have to shower as often. This pleases me greatly. But I should probably still be clean and wash self.”

Of course, there are things he didn’t notice, and probably wouldn’t have, which bums me out because it’s pretty awesome.

  • My¬†hair is literally squeaky clean. When I’m washing my hair, I don’t know if I’m losing it, but I definitely hear/feel the squeaks. Because this stuff is really getting to the root of the problem. Pun intended.
  • My¬†hair doesn’t look like a disgusting greasy mess, even though you haven’t washed it in days. Well done.
Living Proof

The products I received from Living Proof to review.

In the grand scheme of things, this slightly pricier shampoo/conditioner set seems pretty worth it for the convenience and quality factor. I was legit skeptical at first, but I’m totally a believer. I’m not as big a fan of the styling treatment (I think it’s because I needed to wash my hair slightly more often when I used that, whereas the shampoo and conditioner alone gave me a longer run time), but after watching the following video, I’m willing to give it another go¬†for some beachy waves (is it bad that I’m ALREADY thinking about our next Florida trip?).

So you’re interested in trying this sweet stuff out? Through November 8th, you can get free shipping and a free travel size PhD 5-in-1 Styling Treatment with the purchase of $20 or more using the following Living Proof coupon code.
‚óč Promotional¬†Code: NOV2014

What do you do for the perfect hair day? What is your idea of a great hair day? How do you combat bad hair days? Have you ever teased the ever-loving-everything out of your hair?

 

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!

Under Pressure

I’ve always been afraid of pressure cookers. Okay, I’ve been afraid of pressure cookers since I discovered their existence when Brian and I first moved into our apartment two years ago. He had one and tried to get me to use it. I laughed it off…in fear.

A few months later around St. Patrick’s Day, I used his mom’s, under the supervision of his mom and uncle to make a bacon roast thing (basically, bacon in hunk form). I made Brian deal with the pressure release.

About a month ago, we got this fancy pants Cuisinart electric pressure cooker. I was pretty excited about it, because it seemed much less scary than a traditional pressure cooker…but not as excited as Brian. Which is weird since he doesn’t cook anything besides frozen dinners, frozen pizza, cans of soup and grill food.

Except that the pressure cooker can create all his favorite things in half the time. So he went into this venture ready to tackle a new device. Me? I was planning on throwing stuff in the pot and hoping it turned out.

So we each gave it a go.

While I was sick a few weeks back, Brian prepared a tasty meal as I watched on with amusement…and my camera.

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He made a pork roast with parsnips, tri-colored carrots, potatoes and onions, which he seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper and fresh thyme.

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As he was cooking, he showed me how to operate the machine (you know, since he had read up on it and read through the directions and such.)  It was surprisingly easier than I expected.
1. Select mode from low pressure, high pressure, brown, saute, simmer, and keep warm.
2. Add food. And water.
3. Close and seal lid (unless you’re browning – then you can keep it open)
4. Set the timer and press start.
5. Release pressure/steam (Brian did the quick release by turning the pressure knob dealie, and I did the slow release by not doing anything.)
6. Remove lid.

That’s seriously all.

So his pork (which he cooked on high pressure for 20 minutes) turned out pretty well, though I suspect we added too much water (we used a cup of water & opened it up to find a little more than 4 cups of liquid). The flavors were nice and it cooked wicked fast. To be honest, we probably over cooked it too, out of fear of under cooking. The browning feature was awesome as we browned it right in the pot without needing another pan.

So when it was my turn to try it out, I was ready. But not really at all. We still haven’t moved into the new house, but I thought I’d cook there one night with the pressure cooker.

I stopped at Trader Joe’s to pick up the ingredients for pot roast and made sure I wouldn’t have to cut anything. I literally threw it all in the cooker (after browning the pot roast) and went on with my day. I cooked at low pressure for 30 minutes, and I think I over cooked this one. I guess I can’t fault Brian, huh? I also used less water and still ended up with about 3 cups of liquid, so there’s that.

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Is it as easy to get right as I hoped it would be? Not really…BUT this is a girl who failed on slow cooker usage waaaay more (to the point of inedible). So, we’ll keep trying until we perect it, and once we have this system DOWN, I’ll be back with an update. Because the cook timing of this contraption is exactly what we need for home-cooked meals in our busy commuter schedules. Plus it’s WAY less scary than the other kind of pressure cooker.

Have you used a pressure cooker? Would you? Do you love roasts as much as my Irish boyfriend?

This is not a sponsored post. I was supplied with a Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker in order to review it and give my honest opinion, but I was not financially compensated.

I did use affiliate links in this post, so if you make a purchase, I might get a bitty commission.

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!