Champagne and Mom Go Hand in Hand

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

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

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

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

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

Everything you need for a mimosa bar

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

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

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

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

Brunch ideas for the whole family

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

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

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

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

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

Cinnamon rolls

Invite guests with style

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

Evite Sample

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

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

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

The Hostess’ Guide to the Holiday Madness

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

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

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

The hostess' guide to handling holiday madness

2 Months Out

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

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

1 Month Out

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

2 Weeks Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Week Out

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

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

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

5 Days Out

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

3 Days Out

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

1 Day Out

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

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

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

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

Day of the Party

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

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

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

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

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

Game Time

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

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

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

Netflix Stream Team

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

PlayCHIC A Night of Play and Fashion That Took Over Chicago

The stunningly beautiful Alhambra Palace in Chicago set the scene for an exotic night of play and fashion, as the third annual PlayCHIC commenced last Thursday night. The sponsors, ever-present Mayfair Games, Rainbow Loom, Women in Toys and Celebrity Name Game set in motion one of the most entertaining fashion shows I’ve ever been to…okay fine. All the fashion shows I’ve been to have been PlayCHIC. One of my favorite annual events.

PlayCHIC 2014

 

 

Michelle Tan – Mayfair Games Villainy

Michelle Tan has been designing the Mayfair styles since PlayCHIC’s inception three years ago, and with Villainy, she really made a splash. Her creations are whimsical, wicked and wonderful and looked great on both the lady and dude models.

Mayfair Games Michelle Tan

On another Mayfair Games note, I got to take a selfie with Mayfair president, Larry Roznai, who was a really cool dude to chat with.

 

Elda Delarosa – Celebrity Name Game

The elegant designs by Elda Delarosa were the start of this celeb-adorned gown. I’m not going to lie, this was probably my least favorite of the designs. It felt uninspired, as if the game was merely sewn onto the dress. I’m no designer, but I like to think that there are other ways to incorporate themes into clothing than sewing photographs to a dress. Sorry guys, you lost me on this one.

Elda Delarosa Celebrity Name Game

Peach Carr – Rainbow Loom

Made with the actual toy, this  Peach Carr original represents Rainbow Loom with a fun two-piece set. The creator of Rainbow Loom was even there wearing the jacket that Jimmy Kimmel wore! Brian would have been impressed. Probably.  My favorite part? The Rainbow Loom poodle. Who wants to make me one of those?

Rainbow Loom - Peach Carr Rainbow Loom

Gibeon Tolbert – Women in Toys

Representing a fantastic group in the toy and game industry, Gibeon Tolbert’s power suit represents everything I want to be in this world. Pink, powerful, stylish and fun. I seriously LOVED this design. Which shouldn’t be a surprise. If we all remember from PlayCHIC 2012, he created my favorite design, the Word Winder tie.

Gibeon Tolbert Women in Toys

 Which design is your favorite? What games or toys would you like to see mashed with fashion?

 

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 Like a Word Magician

So, you already know that I’m a word ninja and a grammar Nazi. But did you also know that I’m a word magician?

I'm like a word magician

Last week, Brian and I made our way over to DreamHost’s DreamCon (This is when my favorite hosting company, DreamHost <–[That’s an affiliate link with a shameless plug and $10 off], threw a party for me to check out in Chicago.) We were able to attend another one of these shindigs in San Jose and had a BLAST playing Cards Against Humanity with some of the DreamHost team. We expected nothing less here in the Windy City. We weren’t wrong.

As this was a networking event, we found ourselves chatting it up with new friends and old (hello DreamHost friends! I heart you guys!). While we were talking with someone from DreamHost HR, he introduced his title as something amusing (of course, my beer-muddled brain forgot to write that down). So I told him that I was a word magician.

So, out there in the real world, I’m an SEO copywriter (not copyrighter). I write copy (that’s content for advertising) for a pretty large retail company and then do some word magic to get the content to the top of your Google search. SEO is a fickle bird, and it’s certainly not one I try to do anything with for this blog. And so I told my new friend this.

I started explaining that SEO is great for somethings, but I mean, I can’t just try to optimize everything. And that’s a lot of what I see bloggers doing. Some posts (like this one) just aren’t designed to be optimized. I could try to optimize this post for “reasons your blog doesn’t need SEO” and maybe I will. But probably not. Because someone who is looking for that type of content isn’t looking for my random ramblings. They want facts and statistics. Which I’m not going to give you.

So then I explained to this lovely fellow that there were some opportunities for me to bank on my SEO knowledge…

“Say you want to search for ‘ways to fuck with your boyfriend while he’s sleeping.’ Now that’s something I could probably optimize for. Because it’s humorous and random, and anyone searching for that is looking for a girl like me.”

Of course, at this point, the guy is belly-laughing and Brian looks out through his glazed-over eyes (introvert tricks) and notices that there’s a conversation happening and he may be the subject of it. But it went all the way over his head. And I let it. Because coming soon is a post entitled, “Ways to Fuck With Your Boyfriend While He’s Sleeping.”

Because you need that in your life. Amiright?

Blog Friends, if you could re-title your professional career (whether you’re a full-time corporate monkey, a part-timer, wfh, sahm, whatever), what would you title yourself? Do you believe in SEO for your blog?

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!

In Which My Boyfriend Is “Cooler” Than Your Boyfriend

I, along with a couple of our friends received the following e-mail last week.

From my boyfriend.

Yes, yes…He IS sometimes more creative than me. One day, I’ll show you the first e-mail he ever sent me. Maybe.

<knock><knock>
 
Good, you’re all here.
It was getting pretty late and the night watch has a price on all of our heads. Yes, Yes… BananaMan… the price on your head is still the highest. What? No! We have to continue using our code-names so they can’t track us down. Did you bring the map?
 
The Map
 
Good… good…. wait! No… that’s USELESS, BananaMan! Get your head in the game! That’s a map of the whole city. We need more specific intel about our targets.
 
NaughtyNurse, what kind of information did you get from the guards you cavorted with last night?
 
Gen Con Website
 
That’s better! Good job NaughtyNurse!
 
Gen Con Hotel Info
 
Hmmm…. Yes… we’ll need to regroup near the target but our “Investor” has backed out. We’ll have to fund this operation on our own, but I think the payout may be well worth the investment.
 
What’s that? No! You CAN’T change your codename to “QuirkyChrissy”, CheeseWiz. Yes…. yes… we all know how much you hate cheese-wiz… you’ve been complaining about it ever since you were assigned that code-name… you KNOW its short for “Cheese Wizard”. Fine… Fine. Ok.ok.ok.ok…. pick another type of cheese then.
 
OK.
 
Oh. you have some scouting information for our basecamp? You think that close proximity to the target may be expensive and that one of your “contacts” may be able to stash us away for the duration of the caper? Do you trust them, though?
 
Travel Site 1
 
Travel Site 2
 
Well… that’s a start at least.
What? No I didn’t actually have an assignment.
I’m the team leader!
What?
No. No one voted for me…. well, see, there was this chick in a lake that handed me a sword…
 

But…you’re probably asking yourself…WHAT does it all mean?

We’ll be spending the entire 4 glorious gaming days in August at Gen Con. At a hotel that doesn’t have bedbugs. AND I need a new code name.

Pictures from Gen Con 2012.

Gen Con Gen Con Gen Con

I’ve got LOTS of questions for you guys!

So what should my code name be? Do you go to any cons? Which one(s)? Would you participate in Cos-play (dressing up in nerdy costumes at conventions)? Should I? I’m thinking about live blogging while I’m there. What are your thoughts on that?

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!

Wordless Wednesday: Polar Plunge

Chicago Polar PlungeChicago Polar Plunge Chicago Polar PlungeChicago Polar Plunge Chicago Polar PlungeChicago Polar PlungeChicago Polar Plunge Chicago Polar Plunge Chicago Polar Plunge

Chicago Polar Plunge Donation for Special Olympics Chicago

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!

5 Things I Learned From Yelp

In honor of my third year as Yelp Elite, I’d like to take a few moments to recognize Yelp for its utter awesomeness…And share with you a little poem I wrote.

After a conversation with Heather from The B(itch)log, I felt the need to share with you some really bad poetry. And by bad, I mean truly and most inspiredly awesome. (Yes, I made up inspiredly. Just think of me like the next Shakespeare. Trust me…it will make sense in about 5 paragraphs or so–depending on how long I ramble this morning.)

Heather believes that there is no such thing as bad poetry. I informed her that I once wrote a sonnet about Chicklets (yes, the gum) and asked if she wanted to take her comment back. She said no, which made me hunt for my sonnet about Chicklets…and I couldn’t find it in my vault of bad writing. One day…I promise. One day. But I did write another sonnet in my life. One to the people of Yelp. But first…

5 Things I Learned from Rockin’ with Yelp Across the Country

  1. You see, Yelp is not just a website. It’s a way of life. Whenever we’re looking for somewhere to eat, something to do, somewhere to go…we ask Yelp. We make friends around the country and they help us by writing honest reviews. Yelp is a community of good folks working together to make the positives and negatives known. Yelp is what you make of it.
  2. Not all reviews are created equally. You need to learn to read what’s not being said. That very very very sickly positive review? Might just have been written by the owner or an employee. That very very very angry review? Give everyone a break and read other reviews of that business as well as other reviews from the person writing. You’ll get a feel for whether you trust their judgement or not. I know that I never trust someone who wrote a positive review about the local dive club where everyone shares STDs and drugs. Ew.
  3. You can make new friends just about anywhere. When Brian and I arrived in Orlando for our trip to Disney World, I received a “Welcome to Orlando” compliment from one of the wonderful Yelpers in Orlando. How freakin’ cool is that?!
  4. Business owners who don’t like your review can be ass hats or rock stars. After I reviewed a certain cheese “mecca” poorly, I got a NASTY message from the manager. It was spiteful. And mean. And written with really bad grammar. And then I did some research, and discovered that he had written his very own review of his business. And I called him on it. And was nice. Because that’s how I roll. I’ve had other owners contact me and invite me back for a second chance. I almost always go. Because that’s how Yelpers roll.
  5. It’s OKAY to act like a kid. When Yelp gave me a giant bouncy ball with the Yelp symbol, I knew that I had found my place in this world. S’mores bars and dance floors and so much more…Yelp is fun!
S'mores bar

S’mores Bar-and you thought I was joking.

Things I learned from Yelp drinks

This was a “Jack Frost Martini,” but it was deadly and tasted like college (fruity with the taste of potent alcohol).

A Sonnet to the Big Wigs at Yelp

In order to maintain my elite status for the year 2013, I was asked to write to the big guys with an application and a good reason why I should be elite. I figured the best way to secure my status would be to write a poem. But not just any poem. I wanted it to be a motherfuckin’ Shakespearean poem. And so…I wrote a sonnet.

Quirky Chrissy: Sonnet 2

And now, a sonnet:

To the dear higher ups at the great Yelp,
The holidays and time to choose are here
My Yelp status is floating like a kelp
To be elite Twenty-Thirteen, it’s clear

My application for this honor, bright
with Yelp reviews, comments and stats so fair
includes a poem for your heart’s delight
to show you just how much I really care

And if I am worthy of this status
You can count on me to keep reviewing
Unless I get a sweet pet platypus
Because then I would be busy playing

Do not fret, dear Yelp elite deciders
I love Yelp, please keep me with insiders

Yelp Photo Shoots (Photos Taken by Andres D. and Swiped from Facebook)

Yelp Elite Event

Gettin’ my locks conditioned at the Yelp Fab Femme Fete

Excellent organic conditioning courtesy of Eko Salon and Spa in Orland Park, IL

Excellent organic conditioning courtesy of Eko Salon and Spa in Orland Park, IL

Yelp SWAG panties

Yelp SWAG! Panties anyone? Too bad they were a size small. Too tiny for my bootie!

Yelp Hair Salon Pictures

Just a funny picture of my faux ginger flying high

Yelp events

A Yelp Event at the Wilder Mansion with my pal, Cletus (remind me to tell you the story of this event sometime)

Yelp events with elite yelpers

The Rick Moranis look with the Yelp Crew at Glen Prairie

Thing I Learned from Yelp Elite Events

Making new friends at the Ylep Elite Events

Yelp Egg Nog Rumchata Martini

Sipping on a Rumchata Egg Nog Martini at the Glen Prairie

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!

Chicago Toy & Game Fair: Where Chrissy Gets to Be a Kid

What a whirlwind weekend!

So bright and early on Saturday morning, Brian and I trekked into the city and headed for Navy Pier to attend the Chicago Toy & Game Fair Blogger Preview. Now, I woke Brian up earlier than he normally wakes up for work. And I dragged him to an event in which there were a lot of people in close quarters. And then he had to stay the whole day, while I was competing in a tournament for like 5 hours.

Smaller than GenCon by a lot, ChiTAG was still pretty darn awesome for a girl like me. With a party-game spirit, and a nephew that I’ve promised to play lots and lots of games with, this event was the perfect way to find and try new games!

So I’ll be starting a new segment next week, in which I review and relay the experience of these awesome games from some really great game inventors (because they gave them to me to play-test!) Of course, you can count on the Chrissy-style while I review–aiming to make you laugh at the ridiculousness that ensues. And there will be ridiculousness. With me, there always is. Even if my family refuses to let me publish the pictures or videos that I produce

That being said, let’s get on with this thing. So ChiTAG. It started with a lovely continental breakfast of snacks and coffee (Yes, if you’re going to see my smiling face before 9 AM, you’re going to need to provide coffee). At the breakfast we listened to some really great speakers, including Kevin Harrington, of Shark Tank fame and Greyson MacLean, kid inventor of BrickStix (a cool Lego accessory).

We made our way to the fair, and were given an hour of open viewing before the public arrived. It was at this point that I got arrested by Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper, for trying to race to the giant Settlers of Catan carpet board…

Chicago Toy & Game Fair

Luckily for me, R2D2 was just around the corner, and he sped up and distracted them just long enough for Brian to help me escape. We made it to the giant Settlers of Catan just in time for me to steal the robber.

Giant Settlers of Catan

Of course, I later found R2 and thanked him properly.

Chicago Toy & Game Fair

And I realized. Oh. My. God! I’m hanging out with R2D2! I used to have an R2D2 underwear and sleep tank when I was a wee one! So cool!

Quirky Chrissy meets R2D2!

After leaving R2 to go find C3PO (who I used to lovingly refer to as 3PPO, because one time it made my older sister, Deven, laugh…I didn’t realize that the joke only works once, yet), Brian and I perused the fair floor. I was on a Scavenger Hunt to tweet a bunch of cool stuff.

I ran, not walked, into the Bananagrams booth for fun with giant bananagrams!

Giant Bananagrams

Thanks to the fine people at Bananagrams, I’ll also have the joy of reviewing Pairs in Pears and Zip It! Little A and I are going to rock out those games like rockstars. My goal in life is to turn my godson (Little A) into a genius gamer kid. So far, it’s working.

We played some games. We met some cool game inventors. We saw some really awesome booths.

Pirate Family Treasure Quest app and board game

This Pirate Family Treasure Quest had a really neat concept: Incorporate the app onto the game board. Compatible with little i only. Next time, I want to see Android compatibility. 🙂

Amazing Bubble Show

Giant Bubble Show. The camera could not do it justice.

Giant Word Winder

The Giant Sized Word Winder.

Dabble Game

This was probably my favorite game at the fair (Settlers aside). I’m a word nerd, you know…err excuse me, I’m a word ninja! Oh and they gave me free candy.

Then I competed in a Settlers of Catan tournament. 2nd place, 2nd place, 4th place in the rounds respectively. Not bad considering it was the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time I had ever played the game in my entire life.

Settlers of Catan

game 1: Gettin’ the hang of it

Settlers of Catan Tournament

Game 2: Sneaky Sneaky

serious gamer

Game 3: Serious Settler

I didn’t advance in the tournament, but I had a great time.

I left with all sorts of games and toys to test out with the kiddos, and I can’t wait! I’m looking forward to trying out all of my new games and reviewing them for you, fair readers! Get excited!

Chicago Toy & Game Fair Gift Bag

The contents of the gift bag and other games I was given to try out and write about!*

*I was not paid to write any of the nice things posted in this blog. I was given free admission to the Chicago Toy & Game Fair for myself and my boyfriend. I was given a gift bag with free samples, games, and promotional materials. Individual game booths also provided me with free samples of their games to play test them and write about the experience.

 

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!