A playful year of fun and magic

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

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

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

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

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

I play games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I play with video

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

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

I play dress up

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

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

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

I play pretend

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

Level D show photo from Second City Training Center Chicago

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

I play house

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

 

 

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I play with my hair

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

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

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

I play with puppysaurus rex

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

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

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

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

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

Magic Kingdom Disney Photopass hub grass Cinderella Castle

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

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

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

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

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

Tabletop gaming gift guide for every budget and gamer level

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

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

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

Tabletop games I just adore

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

Cash ‘N Guns (Asmodee — $27)

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

Above and Below (Red Raven Games — $35)

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

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

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

Mice and Mystics (Plaid Hat Games — $60)

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

Tabletop games under $20

Gaming on a tight budget.

Fluxx (Looney Labs —$12)

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

Trash Panda™ (Gamewright Games — $13)

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

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

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

Okey Dokey (Tasty Minstrel — $15)

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

Forbidden Island (Gamewright Games — $18)

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

Tabletop games for Harry Potter fans

It me!

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

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

Codenames Harry Potter™ (USAopoly  $25)

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

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

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

Harry Potter Clue (USAopoly — $40)

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

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

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

Tabletop games for Disney addicts

Also me.

Codenames Disney (USAopoly — $27)

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

Disney Villainous (Wonder Forge — $35)

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

Snow White Gemstone Mining Game (USAopoly — $35)

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

Party games for casual gamers

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

Monikers (Monikers — $25)

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

Pantone™ the Game (Cryptozoic — $25)

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

Friend or Faux (Games Adults Play — $25)

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

Blank Slate (USAopoly — $25)

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

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

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

Tabletop games that might actually break the bank

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

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

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

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

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

Cthulhu Wars (Peterson Games — $200)

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

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

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

 

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

2018 quirky holiday gift guide

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

The best four days in gaming

Every year, I trek down to Indianapolis for four nights to play as many games and see as much cool stuff as I possibly can at Gen Con, a board gaming convention. This year was no different. Brian and I made our way down to Indy, where I played dress up a few times, demoed/played 22 games (I have a crazy New Year’s resolution to play 365 games including 100 unique games and 25 games that I own that we’ve never played, so this was a good booster because I’m super far behind. Puppies make board gaming hard), and shopped, well, not a lot, but a little. Since quitting my job, we’re kind of on a budget or something like that.

Games and swag I picked up at Gen Con 2018

I did buy some games and some jewelry, but I also managed to win a few games and walk away with a number of promo cards and decks too. And my friends over at Goliath hooked me up with copies of a couple new games from Games Adults Play and Pressman featured at the con as well!

I made a little video to show you the games I picked up. There’s party games for everyone as well as some fun, unique strategy games for more advanced gaming. Links to the games are below the video and on the YouTube page if you want to check them out for yourself (Some of them are affiliate links, which will earn me a teensy commission if you make a purchase!)

Oregon Trail: Journey to Willamette Valley

Dwar7s Winter

Lucky’s Misadventures Episode 42: Lost in Oddtopia

Argent the Consortium

Last Night on Earth

Machi Koro: Bright Lights Big City

Elemental Conflux

Friend or Faux

What Do You Meme?

Stupid Deaths

Pantone the Game (available for preorder)

Disney’s Villainous

Which of these games looks most interesting to 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!

Good Morning, Sunshine

When I was a little girl, one of my mom’s best friends got married. Her wedding was the first big wedding I had ever been to, and the only one I recall from my childhood. I remember hunting down the servers with passed hors d’oeuvres, searching for shrimp cocktail. I remember playing with the other kids in the super fancy bathroom. I remember the ceremony and riding in the car with several of the bridesmaids from the church to the reception. But what I remember most of all was the morning of the wedding.

A dozen or more women and girls, racing around the bride’s house. Pantyhose flying, curling irons sizzling, jewelry clasping, and (because it was the very early 90’s) a cloud of hairspray wafted through the house. My hair was French braided, a style I adored but could never accomplish on my own or even with the help of my mom.
The house was buzzing with life, love, and joy. Pure, unadulterated joy. Hectic, crazy, and loud, but happy. Full of excitement.
So when it came time for my wedding…I knew I couldn’t settle for less than that. So in addition to my bridal party, my mom and other women in my life, including the bride whose wedding morning inspired my own, joined me the morning of the wedding for the start of a beautiful, happy, and magical day.
Pointing at my awesome bride hoodie in front of my tri-fold mirror where my wedding dress hung was one of my favorite photos.

At the last minute, I bought this hoodie and a bride tank top from Amazon, and they both arrived the day before the wedding!

I woke up the morning of the wedding, put on my tie-dye yoga pants and other bridewear, and quietly snuck out to get myself some breakfast. I picked up bagels and cream cheese along with a fruit platter for the onslaught of ladies.
After a delightful exchange with the dude at Einstein Bagels (He was all, “It’s your wedding day? Why are you buying the bagels?” and I was all, “Because everyone is sleeping, and I was hungry.”), I made my way back to my bed, where Brian was sleeping and I started playing with my Snapchat filters.
 I created a wedding day snapchat geofilter for my house the morning of the wedding.
 If you remember from our Cheesy wedding prep, Ally spent the night at our house.  If you’re debating whether to have people sleep at your house on the night before your wedding, do it. It was fun to have her there the night before, and even more fun in the morning. It was no surprise that when she woke up, she started playing with Snapchat filters too.
My bridesmaid created a wedding morning blanket fort in the guest room and sent me a Snap to invite me to jump in on her cozy.
Obviously, I left my sleeping husband and went to snuggle with my awake bestie. Shortly thereafter, Katie arrived. And my future sister-in-law. And my friend Laura with the flowers. And my hairdresser. And Rachel with two of the three kids. And the rest of the ladies. And the photographer. It got loud and crazy real fast.
Katie and Ally jumped into helping Laura with flower stuff in my garage. I sat down with Katelyn for some hair magic. If you can, GET YOUR HAIRDRESSER TO COME TO YOUR HOUSE. This was one of the best decisions I made through the whole planning process. We didn’t start until like 10am. I didn’t have to leave my house or drive 20 minutes or worry about anything.The rest of the ladies snacked and started doing their hair and makeup as well.
I’ll let the photos do some of the talking:
I wanted a boho chic, but sleek wedding hairdo with a side braid and curls and low-side pouf. My hairdresser nailed it.

I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect visualization of the wedding hair I wanted.

my aunt putting on my bridal make-up the day of my wedding.

I told my aunt, who used to have her own line of make-up, that I wanted to look like the butterfly snapchat filter. I may be biased, but I think she nailed it.

 

I love this wood tri-fold standing mirror in my bedroom. It was the perfect spot to hang my wedding gown.

When I bought this wood tri-fold standing mirror at an estate sale last summer, I knew I wanted it for wedding photos (yes, before Brian and I were engaged).

 

We received a personalized wedding gift of Connect Four with our wedding colors and hashtag

For our wedding, we received a personalized Connect Four from a couple of our friends.

Black and white bridal photo in front of a tri-fold mirror in bride's bedroom

bride and flower gir bridal photo in front of a tri-fold mirror in bride's bedroom

We have this window from our bedroom to our front room that made for a perfect Bridal sneak peek before the big reveal

We have this window from our bedroom to our front room that made for a perfect bridal sneak peek before the big reveal

 

Some of the amazing women in my life looking up at me in my bedroom window on my wedding day

Don’t mind the mess y’all…I made the photographer come take a photo from my POV because this was awesome.

The bride is coming down the stairs and her family and friends are watching.

And then I came down stairs…the photographer called this, “the big reveal” even though everyone had been in and out of my bedroom 😉

Bride coming down stairs

Taking a wedding photo in my grandfather's chair

Anyone who has ever been to my house knows that this was my grandpa’s chair, and I used to play in it as a little girl. I freaking love this chair.

We ordered Jimmy John’s for lunch (which I managed to finally slam 5 minutes before the ceremony when I realized I was starving. Yes, a Jimmy John’s Vito, full of delicious garlicky goodness right before my wedding. I also split it with the ring bearer who kept asking me for a bite), so everyone had something to eat, and they delivered Freaky Fast as JJ tends to do. And then we all rolled out in a party bus I hired at the last minute (are you catching a theme here, guys?) when I realized I didn’t know how to get 13 people from my house to the venue.

Are you tired of wedding nonsense, yet?

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!

Frolicking in the Park

Sometimes, it amazes me, the beauty that surrounds us. A few weeks ago, Brian and I took a stroll down the Fox River in Geneva, Illinois with a lovely photographer and her assistant. We had a little picnic, played some games, and frolicked (yes, frolicked) around the playground surrounded by tiny humans. Our photographer captured some of the suburban Chicago beauty of spring, and I’d like to share that with you.

We weren’t planning on having an engagement session, but when I stumbled across a contest (and YOU helped me win 3rd place), we received a complimentary photo shoot with the lovely and talented Joy.

All photos are from Being Joy Photography. If you can’t get enough, you can check out her Chrissy and Brian blog post (and more of our engagement photos).

We began the session with a walk along the river, where we sat on a park bench and told bad jokes while Joy took lovely shots of us in the background.

Engagement photo shoot at a park with cherry blossom trees

Then we got up close and personal with this cherry blossom tree. Because look at it!

beautiful plus size engagement photos

When Joy asked how I felt about laying on the ground, I informed her I’d do whatever she wanted; she was the professional. I was secretly hoping she’d take advantage of this and make me do some crazy incredible feat so that I’d fall down and have some truly epic photos…but she was kind.

beautiful plus size engagement photos in a park

We brought props. All the props. Edible props. Playable props. Toys. Games. You name it. We brought it. Obviously, cheese was the star of the show. But this game, Mice and Mystics, is our game. While it can play up to four players, it’s the game Brian and I play on our at-home date nights. The game plays through an entire campaign, so we’ve been working our way through it slowly. Savoring it, if you will. My favorite part? The currency in the game is CHEESE.

Engagement photo session with cheese and board games

In fact, we had a whole picnic with some of our cough my cough favorite things. Board games. Cheese. Champagne. It was glorious. And fun. I totally ate a ton of cheese that day too.

engagement photo shoot picnic with cheese, champagne, and games in a park

Of course, I won The Game of Life (for the first time ever), and Brian was less than pleased. So he flipped that shit upside down. I tried to explain to him, “BRIAN, I never win this game. Can’t I win just this once?”

engagement photo shoot with the game of life throwing the game in the air

He wasn’t having any of that nonsense. So we walked away. We had a wardrobe change and took some silhouette photos under this super cool archway. My grandpa, the brick layer, would have been proud.

black and white silhouette engagement photo under archway

There’s this really cool looking foot bridge over the Fox River that I really loved photos on, and Joy was happy to oblige. This is one of my favorite photos from the whole shoot.

engagement photo session on a bridge, sitting indian style kissing

Across from the bridge, which is underneath the train bridge, Joy decided she wanted a shot of us in the support dealie (any one have any idea what this is called?). It turned out pretty cool!engagement photo session under a train bridge around the corner from each other

And then we made our way to the playground, where there were dozens of tiny humans running around on the unseasonably warm April day. We had to get creative. Joy seemed to really appreciate our facial expressions. Brian called this my zombie face. He’s not wrong.engagement photo session at a playground on the slide

Maybe one day, I’ll show you all the picture of Brian falling off the swings…but for now, you can see us being all lovey and adorable.

engagement photo session at a playground on the swings

We concluded our photo shoot with a picture of us taking a selfie. Because I’m kind of a selfie queen. It’s a thing.

engagement photo session on a park bench taking a selfie

Did you have an engagement photo session when you got married? If you’re not married yet, do you want an engagement sesh? Can you believe we’re getting married in three and a half months?

No one paid me to write nice things about Joy, but I did win a contest in which the prize was the photo shoot. We paid for all prints and products.

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!

3 Backstabbing Games You Need to Play

Today is a glorious day my friends!

It’s International Tabletop Day! Brian and I shall celebrate by gathering with some of our board gaming buddies and playing copious amounts of games while snacking and boozing. Life is good today. In honor of this beautiful nerdy-as-fuck holiday started by one of our favorites, Wil Wheaton, and crew (Geek & Sundry, y’all), I thought I would share with you some games that you may not know exist. But should. Because holy hell are they fucking awesome. Also, these games are not for the weak at heart. These games are specifically chosen because they involve a lot of yelling. Screaming. Fuck-your-mother-ing. But I’ve played all these games with my mother. So there’s that.

Basically?

You’re welcome.

We're having a super sale in this shop!

Trailer Park Wars

When introducing non-gamers into the world of serious gaming, I used to use The Settlers of Catan as a gateway game. I like to think of it as Monopoly meets serious gamer. But then I discovered Trailer Park Wars. And oh shit you guys. This game is fucking hilarious. And ridiculous. And SUPER easy. The concept is simple, build a trailer park with trailer cards, amenities, and residents. Each amenity and resident offers benefits and (most importantly victory points). While you’re building your own park, your opponents are doing the same…but you’re also trying to destroy one another’s parks. With cards that send tornadoes through your neighboring park’s trailers, infestations and romances, you can kill, steal or move trailers, people and amenities. Flamingos flank your playing area as the victory points. Hillbilly accents and names are highly recommended. (One day, I’ll introduce you to my alter-ego Gina May). My PARENTS think it’s hysterical. My friends love playing. If you’re into horror flicks, you can also add the expansion, Trailer Park Wars: Terror in the Trailer which gives you more cards and more ways to screw your neighbor.

Trailer Park Wars

This was after I spilled that poor bottle of wine…

 

 One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Did you ever play MAFIA or WEREWOLF at Denny’s on school nights? No? Just me? Okay,  well, this is the ultimate lying and deduction game. There’s a werewolf (or a few werewolves) in the town, and the villagers are ready to hunt this shit down. Except that no one knows who’s a villager and who’s a werewolf. Each person receives a card revealing their identity, but no one knows what anyone else’s card says. The first phase of the game allows some people (werewolves and villagers) to do things in secret while everyone’s eyes are closed (there’s an app that tells you when you can do your thing!). Some people can look at other cards. Some people can look at each other. Some people can even move cards around. Then you open your eyes and the clock starts. You have to decide who the werewolf is and kill them. If you’re a werewolf, you want people to kill a villager by mistake. There’s a lot of yelling. And lying. And “YOU’RE THE WEREWOLF!!!!!” It’s pretty much amazing. This one’s a favorite in our gaming group, but I also got my parents and aunt & uncle to play on Saint Patrick’s Day. My mom was laughing so hard it hurt (probably because she’s a TERRIBLE liar). She’s still on the fence on this one. Oh yeah, this one ALSO has an expansion, which they Kickstarted last year: Daybreak. The expansion adds MORE characters. Additional features. Overall more stuff. Perfect for completionists like me (at least that’s what Brian says, anyways).

Ca$h N Guns

This one is equally as fantastic. You’re a band of thieves. You work together to rob a bank, but now what? Oh, right. You take out the competition. Each person has 3 bullets (Bang! cards) and 5 blanks (Click cards). You choose your weapon card, and on three, everyone points their foam gun (did I mention there are foam guns?) at someone else. At this point, depending on how many guns are pointed at you, you can choose to go forward for the loot (BONZAI!) or chicken out (put your gun down, homie). Those who chickened out and those who are shot, are out of the running for the loot. Everyone else divides the pot between themselves. At the end of 8 turns, the most money wins the game. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend playing with people you don’t mind stabbing in the back. I felt REALLY bad for my friend Beth’s boyfriend (and Brian), because of five of us, they were the two that I felt comfortable destroying. I made the mistake of going for Cletus once, and he wrecked me right back. So the other two guys it was.

What are some of your favorite board games? How will you celebrate International Tabletop Day? What’s the best lying, cheating, backstabbing, screw your neighbor game you’ve ever played?

No one paid me to talk about these games, but links in this post will direct you to Amazon. If you make a purchase, I may receive a teeny tiny commission. Which is awesome. So thank 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!

I’m Not Going to Lie…I Throw a Killer Party

So I know I promised months ago that I’d tell you about our housewarming party, but then LIFE happened…and the housewarming party came and went…and definitely got put on the back burner. But here it is in all it’s gaming glory.

I wanted to throw a game-themed party. And actually I wanted to get crazy into it with a different game theme in every room and people playing games everywhere. I had HUGE plans. I was going to set up a whole CLUE scenario. I was going to have little Jenga pieces for everyone to put house tips on. I was going to make cute little favors for everyone. But, as many of you already know…shit doesn’t happen the way we plan it. We closed on our house on October 15. We moved on October 25. And we threw the housewarming party on November 15. We’re lucky the house was clean and there was food to eat.

Throw an awesome housewarming party

Part of the quick turnaround was because I NEEDED to have an organized, put-together house in order to survive. I would have gone bonkers if we were living amidst boxes and bags that hadn’t been opened and organized. (There are still a few of those, but not many…and none of mine). Part of the quick turnaround was the timing. If it was around Christmastime, I would have had to have Christmas up and running perfectly…and then we were hosting Christmas dinner and it would have been a disaster of too many parties in quick succession. If it were after Christmastime…well let’s just say we’re still recovering and Christmas is still lingering in unseen areas of our home.

ANYWAYS. So we threw a party. Pretty quickly. And had about 65 people show up throughout the day (while expecting about 35-40!). We opened our house up to guests from noon until whenever (which ended up being around midnight), and ran ourselves ragged with tours and food replenishing and beverage duty. We had some wins and we had some fails, but all in all it was a total success.

While no one really played games, the theme was pretty evident throughout the house.

How to throw a game-themed housewarming party (without killing yourself or your partner)

Decor

Set up an AWESOME food display in an open area, where people can grab food, mill around and start one of the bazillion tours you’re about to give.If you don’t have a lot of decorations elsewhere, that’s okay (YOUR NEW HOUSE is the decoration that everyone’s dying to see). I was a caterer in another life, so the buffet set up can be super baller if you know how to use levels and fluff the hell out of tablecloths or fabric. (I use milk crates and similar containers to create my levels). Because I have so many Scrabble boards and pieces from my wanna-be-a-crafter box (and that one time I made Scrabble Christmas ornaments for everyone), I thought that using them on my buffet would be a hit! I labeled all the food with tiles (and even used the board to get all the ingredients for my Blue Cheese and Date Spread on Endive. I also pulled a few more game boards and pieces for good measure, adding just the right amount of nerdy gameyness.

Setting up buffet tables is one of my special skills. I used to be a catering manager so this sort of thing really tickles my jollies.

Setting up buffet tables is one of my special skills. I used to be a catering manager so this sort of thing really tickles my jollies.

dice and trvial pursuit

Food

Choose food that is SUPER easy to make and replenish. I’m a big fan of Crock Pot apps and snacks, so I went with BBQ weenies and buffalo chicken dip. I actually had another Crock Pot in the kitchen with more buffalo chicken dip for easy replenishment. My mom made several deli platters for sandwiches and it was cold enough that we could keep the reserves outside.Obviously there was a cheese platter. I like to to a lot of fan faves and choose one crazy concoction that I hope works out (that would be the blue cheese and date spread – which worked out). I made ALL of the food the night before, so the day of I could focus on the insanity of hiding all our crap in boxes and corners and shit.

BBQ weenies

Note the chess pieces, trivial pursuit cards and scrabble tiles for a mix of beloved classics

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Gratuitous cheese photo

Gratuitous cheese photo. Please note. I spelled cheese wring and am completely ashamed of myself. But don’t you love the risk board below?

Dessert

I REALLY wanted to make domino brownies. And I REALLY didn’t want to do a lot of baking. So I baked chocolate chip cookie bars and gluten-free brownies (both from mixes, homies) and picked up a giant brownie cake thing from Sam’s Club. I sliced the brownie in Domino-size pieces and dotted them with frosting. And it fucking worked.

Domino Brownies

I seriously thought these were going to be a huge Pinterest fail. And then they turned out alright.

mint chocolate chip cookie barsDrinks

We had wine galore. We had beer. We had the soda stream. We had two Keurigs. And we had some epic fails in forgetting to get bottled water and cans of pop. Not realizing just how many people would come, we thought that we’d be fine with soda stream and filtered water from the fridge… Go buy cans of pop and bottled water. Save yourself. Seriously.

Oh. And get these shots – which were a HUGE hit.

Twisted Shots Twisted ShotsPlaying HostessI discovered Twisted Shots while at BlogHer in San Jose last summer. They actually sent me a lovely little box of these delicious treats for my housewarming party! After 7, I figured it was time to get the party going (and most of the touring had ended), so I brought out the shots. I played server and convinced almost everyone to try a shot or two. With flavors like Sex on the Beach, Buttery Nipple and Porn Star, you know you’ve got a good thing going. Almost everyone was down with these sugary sweet twisted shots full of colorful booze that tasted mostly like candy. Even my whiskey-loving friends found a few shots that were right up their alleys.

Tours

Plan on basically spending the majority of the time touring and put someone else in charge of food and beverages once the party starts. Even if there are two of you, you’ll be switching off with the tours on a pretty serious cadence…and I think there were a few moments when we ran out of food. But I don’t know for sure because I was racing all over and mingling and busy and reveling and all of the things! (Yes, that sentence is supposed to give you anxiety.)

In the end, though, all you really want is for the people you love to come over and eat your food, drink your booze, and tell you that your house is pretty. And that’s what happened. I heard all sorts of positive things in regards to our first event in the new place (and then we hosted Second Thanksgiving…and then we hosted Christmas. So there was that.)

Blog friends, tell me about your party throwing experiences? What have you learned? What have you done well? What would you have done for a game-themed party?

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!

Nerds!

Good afternoon Blog Friends!

I have returned from Indianapolis with about 10% of the games and things that I wanted to purchase (while still finding a few gems and winning a few sweet freebies.)

Gen Con Games

The Spoils

I can’t wait to pop these babies, ESPECIALLY the Firefly expansion. Of course, I also can’t wait to have a house to display my ridiculous game collection in one beautiful game library so I’ve decided this is the week we’re going to find our house.

All that aside, it’s time for the Gen Con recap.

We, along with 50,000 or so other nerds, geeks, and gamers, descended upon Indianapolis for 4 days of unadulterated gaming.

image

What I wore to Gen Con

As with most nerd cons, it’s important to show off your finest geekery. I opted for two days of total geek chic and two days of comfort. Yoga pants dominated on the days that involved driving. But I’m pretty proud of the two full days’ ensembles.

image

Spreadshirt Sloth Tee

On Friday, I busted out my brand new sloth tee from Spreadshirt. This shirt was sent to me so that I could tell you how awesome they are. I was actually super impressed with several things that Spreadshirt printed shirts had to offer. First, the collection of tees and designs are pretty vast. I went to the site looking for the perfect shirt to wear to Gen Con. I knew I found it when I saw the big happy sloth who definitely doesn’t run.

Sloth t-shirt

Ironically, Brian really did want to nap instead…and I wanted to get to Gen Con OMGASAPNEEDNEEDNEED.

The shirt took just a few days to ship – two to be exact. Unlike other make-your-own printed stuff sites, I received this shirt in less than a week from the shipping date. Just in time for Gen Con.

The best part about Spreadshirt was the customer service. Each step of the process came with an e-mail letting me know when my shirt would arrive and I received a final feedback request that felt personalized. It was a great experience.

As far as the shirt? I ordered a woman’s V-neck XL. I would order a different style/size next time, as I felt the shirt was a little short for me. Otherwise it was comfy and soft. And got a TON of compliments from other gamers.

TARDIS dress

As I scoured the mall looking for another tee to wear, I stumbled across this dress that pretty much made my day. And FIT ME.

image

Upon entering the con that day, I immediately found my Dalek foe and went to wreak havoc on him for existing. Unfortunately, there was no chatting with a Dalek this year.

I did think it was super interesting, as I had never been in one place where so many people were wearing the exact same thing as me (and I went to Cheer Camp!).

On Wil Wheaton

Man! How cool would it be to be as cool as Wil Wheaton?! These are just a few things I saw:

image

I failed to purposely accidentally run into him again, but I think I’d be so nervous if I did, I wouldn’t say anything at all.

The Games

I love demoing games. I love demoing games at Gen Con. I didn’t get to play nearly as many games as I would have liked, but here are a few that really stood out to me.

Alpha Bandits

Alpha BanditsThis game from Wiggity Bang Games  was just funded on Kickstarter last month. I love the colors of the tiles, but the play of the game is really fun. It relies on creating words for points, but also sneakily changing up your opponents’ words and ending the round to garner the most points. It’s a really great word game for anyone who loves them some Scrabble/Words With Friends. I actually have a demo print and play version of the game already, but it’s still on my list of to-buy games when it comes out in a few months. Especially since this wordsmith kicked the game designer’s butt in a demo game!

Of course, because I beat the designer, I won a different game from Wiggity Bang games, Mad Quao (which I also got signed by the designer). I’ll let you know how it goes.

Seven Wonders with the upcoming expansion

I love this game as a stand-alone game or with its current expansions, and I really enjoyed playing one part of the new expansion. Each of the add-ons in this expansion offer help and hindrances depending on how you play your game. The one we played added a group card that everyone needed to work together to achieve. With a success, everyone who helped received a sweet bonus and with a fail, anyone who didn’t help was punished (in the game people!)

Run for Your Life Candyman!

Oh. My. God. You should probably own this game. The premise is Candyland. But with the added slogan of Smirk & Dagger Games, “Games are a lot more fun when you can stab a friend in the back.” And it’s amazing. We played in a 2-hour tournament game at 11:00 pm. What made this especially fantastic was the gingerbread cookies and food coloring gel.

You can watch as my cookie, Taunty, slowly loses every part of himself. Playing this with a group of strangers was surprisingly awesome. We had a fantastic group and Smirk & Dagger makes this an amazing experience with their enthusiasm and super fun game.

We spent most of the game in a candy cage match where we basically just ripped at each other until everyone had someone else’s candy limbs. It was fantastic.

There was SO much more, but I figured all you needed was a small glimpse into this year’s Gen Con experience.

Have you ever been to a game or comic con? What’s your favorite board or card game?

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!

PlayChic: Where Chrissy Becomes a Nerd Fashionista (and Gets Cool Stuff)

So last night was a big night for me. My first big event as a blogger. I was invited to the Chicago Toy & Game Fair Inaugural Fashion Show: PlayChic, as part of the media/blogging world (so yes, I did attend this event at no cost to me). What a spectacular affair.

Gamer's Paradise

Happiness is…toys and games!

More Toys and Games

More Happiness

Glasses of red and white wine were waiting as guests arrived in the private room at City Winery in Chicago. Passed hors d’ oeuvres were available (and let me tell you, I’ve never had a better polenta cake in my entire life….oh. mah. God.)

Chicago Toy & Game Fair PlayChic

I met some really neat people, including the captain and commander of The Urbaness (check this shit out–it’s a new neat Chicago Guide Site), the hubs of fashion designer Elda de la Rosa (who designed the Annie gown and the Brenda Starr gown), Elliot from The Gaming Gang (a sweet review site with some majorly detailed game reviews. Seriously, I could sit on there all day…), Nancy from The Radio Review, and game inventor, Graeme Thomson of HL Games (who took a picture of me with the Word Winder tie model and made absolute sure that I didn’t leave the event without a Word Winder game!)

The concept behind the Inaugural PlayChic is pairing fashion designers with toy and game inventors to create toy and game-inspired fashion. I had to fight pretty hard to get a decent photo spot, and in the end wound up under some super tall guy’s armpit, snapping shots. It’s an armpit eat dog world out there, kids. Of course, it was worth it… and I’m bringing you a real photo shoot, to boot!

Moshi Monsters

Moshi Monsters and Be Fore team up to create this fantastic monster dress and adorbs kids clothes. (You’ll note the blue light in the corner—that’s armpit guy’s arm in my way.)

Word Winder

Word Winder inspired designer Gibeon Tolbert to create this stunning dress and tie combo. “Love. Heart. Love,” says the Word Ninja.

Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan and Miriam Cecilia bring you this gorgeous and shimmering dress.

Settlers of Catan

The Settlers of Catan Man, also designed by Miriam Cecilia

Brenda Starr

The famous comic reporter, Brenda Starr brought out the inspiration for this Elda de la Rosa gown. This may be my second favorite.

Pony Royale Dress

One of Chicago’s newest fashion designers, Nade Baer designed this Pony Royale inspired dress. This model was the smiliest of the bunch, therefore I liked her best. And she was princessy with sparkles.

Annie the Musical

Annie the Musical was the inspiration behind this Elda de la Rosa design.

So the gamer in me had a great time. The foodie in me had a great time. The wish-I-was-a-fashionista in me had a great time. It was the coolest thing I’ve done this year… (OK, maybe not as cool as Disney World…but come on…Disney Magic? How do you trump that?)

By the way: I think that Brian NEEDS this tie. Don’t you?

Word Winder Tie

Word Winder Tie. Yes. Please.

Look, Ma! I’m famous!

Chrissy at the Fashion Show

Note: I was not paid to say nice things about PlayChic. I was offered an invitation to join in the festivities at no cost, and really really really enjoyed myself. These opinions and thoughts are my own and should not reflect upon the companies and entities mentioned in this post. I also received a goodie bag with some freebies.

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!

Rock Obama Won! And a Gamer Giveaway!

Good morning readers! I have some very exciting giveaway news! But first, a short election story:

Election Joy

4 years ago today, my then-3-year-old godson ran up to me with excitement in his eyes, “Auntie Chrissy Auntie Chrissy! Rock Obama won! Rock Obama won!” My cousin, Rachel, had tried and succeeded in explaining to Little A that this was a big deal. It was historic. Our first black president. A dem president after 8 years of you-know-who. A young president. And a Chicago man to boot. This year proved to be another historic election: Marriage equality on the ballot in 4 states, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin will become the first openly gay senator, Hawaiian Representative Mazie Hirono will become the first Asian-American woman in the Senate, and in my own home district, Tammy Duckworth will become the first disabled woman in the House. Mad props to our country for fighting for the rights of the vag. I hope someone explained to Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock that rape is bad and you just can’t spin that any other way.

Gamer Joy

As many of you may know, I’m kind of a gamer nerd. I fell into the world of gaming officially upon meeting Brian and learning about all of the SWEET games out there…and going to Gen Con…and sometimes kicking ass at games (and sometimes losing horribly because my boyfriend refuses to help me in games and sometimes aims to destroy me… ) While I don’t particularly enjoy Scattergories, I’m a Scrabble evil genius, and even as a  kid, I always wanted to play Life. So games: Kinda my thing…

Chicago Toy & Game Fair

I’ll be attending the Chicago Toy & Game Fair on November 17 & 18 and I want you to join me! Okay, I mean maybe we’ll get to meet and shake hands and kiss babies, and if you’re really lucky, we might hang out for a few minutes… (Hey, I’m getting ping-back spam now–I’m almost famous!)

The 10th anniversary of this huge gamer paradise is bound to be an event you don’t want to miss. With events and toys for kids of all ages, the Chicago Toy & Game Fair is the largest toy and game show in the country. Located inside Navy Pier’s exhibit hall A, you’ll get to play with giant sized Perplexus and Bananagrams (SO fun), participate in free game tournaments, meet & greet with top game inventors, and so much more.

Luckily for you, I’ve been given a couple of family passes to giveaway so that YOU can attend this fabulous event full of games, toys, games, and more games! Fun for the whole family! All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment below. Tell me a funny game story or why you want to go to ChiTAG. I’ll be giving away one family pass on Friday, November 9 and one family pass on Wednesday, November 14. So keep the comments coming.

If you’re a teacher, librarian, member of the military, a scout in uniform, or under 3, you get in free. On Sunday, November 18, any grandparents also get in free (with their grandchildren in tow–don’t try to go without the kiddos! That’s just mean.) Of course, if you don’t want to win free tickets, you can buy them at the door. Click here for ticket info and a $2 off coupon.

So get excited! I know I am. Maybe I’ll see you there.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below with a funny game story or telling me why you want to go to the Toy & Game Fair. It’s that simple.

NOTE: I am attending the Chicago Toy & Game Fair at the invitation of the ChiTAG people as part of the media/blogger preview. The powers that be from the Chicago Toy & Game Fair have given me the free passes to giveaway on this blog. The opinions expressed in this post are all my own, and I have not been paid to speak them. 

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!