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!

21 AWESOME Themed Christmas Trees to Decorate Your Home

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

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

Hallmark Ornament Tree

Hallmark Ornament Tree

Heirloom/Family Tree

Heirloom Trees

Bird Tree

Bird tree

Shoe Tree

2014-12-21 21.24.01

Book Tree

Book tree

Chicago Bears Tree

Comic Strips from Christmas past

Comic strips from Christmas past

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

Charlie Brown Tree

Charlie Brown Tree

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

Grinch Tree

Grinch Tree

Sports Tree

Sports themed Christmas tree

Vintage Tree

 Vintage Ornament Christmas Tree 2

Flocked Santa Tree

Mr and Mrs Flocked Santas

Handmade Ornament Tree

Handmade Ornament Tree

Angel Tree

Angel Tree

Vintage Bone China Tree

Martha Stewart Tree with Vintage Bone China Ornaments

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

Pink Barbie Tree

Pink Barbie Tree

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

Disney Tree

Disney Tree (2)

Disney Advent Tree

 Disney Advent TreeMarshmallow S’mores Tree

Smores tree

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

Penguin Tree

 Penguin tree

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

Peacock Tree

Peacock Tree

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

Wizard of Oz Tree

Wizard of Oz Tree

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

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

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

Welcome to My Nightmare…. I Mean My Holiday Workshop

Greetings Blog Friends!

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

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

Christmas cards

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

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

Holiday Workshop Tools

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

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

Christmas presents

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

My holiday workshop

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

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

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

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

Get Your Bathroom Ready for the Holidays

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

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

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

Bathroom Decorated for Christmas

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

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

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

Prep your bathroom for the holidays in six easy steps

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

Bathroom stocked with TP

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

Downstairs Bathroom - snowmen

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

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

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

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

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

Mini Christmas tree in the bathroom

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

Meredelf Grey - just hanging around.

Meredelf Grey – just hanging around.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holiday leftovers breakfast pizza

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

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

Holiday Leftover Breakfast Pizza Recipe

Holiday leftover breakfast pizza

Ingredients

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

Method

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

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

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

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!

Ladies and Gentleman, Meet Dark & Twisty Meredelf Grey, Our Elf on the Shelf

I never PLANNED to get an Elf on the Shelf. In fact, the first I ever heard of the damn thing was when a co-worker told me about Jen Mann from People I Want to Punch in the Throat being a hilarious mom blogger who wrote about the Elf on the Shelf. Until then, I was blissfully unaware.

After that point, I jumped into the elf judgement. The elf hatred. The oh-my-god-really-Santa-isn’t-good-enough-for-you-people judgy judgy bullshit. I swore I’d never get one. I planned a life without an elf. Even if tiny humans were to happen upon my world, it would be tough cookies for the kids, because their elf was still secretly hidden (and never coming out to spy visibly.) I was down with this plan. Until I wasn’t.

A Skypeversation with Katie

A Skypeversation with Katie

I still think the elf is SUPER creepy. But I kept thinking of all the fun I could have with the elf.

And so a few weeks ago, I went out and bought one. And then I took her home and put her on a shelf. And I thought about names for her… I wanted someone strong, and maybe a little sassy. So I came up with a little list of possible names for her.

Name ideas for your girl elf on the shelf

Grown-Up Names for Elf on the Shelf

Okay…Sort of grown-up names… *cough* kid at heart *cough*

Elizabelf Bennet. She won’t settle for less than love.

Princess Elfsa. She can build ice castles in her sleep.

Britnelf Spears. She’s stronger than yesterday…and she’ll probably do it again.

Katniss Elferdeen. She fights hard, and she’s not afraid to say no.

Jennifer Lawrelf. She might fall down a lot, but she’ll laugh with you about it.

Hillary Clintelf. Because she gets more flack than she deserves. And she’s a pretty strong lady.

Meredelf Grey. She’s stronger than she thinks, and she can really hold her tequila. Sold to the tequila drinking doctor with mommy issues who’s bad with sisters.

When I brought her out for the holidays, she BEGGED me to take her Black Friday shopping at the liquor store. She said tequila was on sale, and she just HAD to get a bottle. While I shopped for wine and whiskey, Meredelf scampered off to another aisle. I found her in the tequila aisle swooning.

Elf on the shelf at the liquor store Meredelf Grey loves tequila

I really had to drag her away from the booze, but we made it home safely, and sober. She was practically pleading with me to buy it. Unfortunately, I tapped my budget with other shit. I think she’s going to take it out on me. I’ve heard she’s really good at holding grudges.

Do you have an elf on the shelf? What did you name her (or him)? If you don’t have one, what would you name your elf?

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!

“Friendsgiving” is Stupid. We’ve Been Calling it Second Thanksgiving For Almost a Decade. And We Were There First. #StreamTeam

Thanksgiving is for giving thanks. Not giving friends.

Sheesh.

So I’ve mentioned Second Thanksgiving in the past when I told you about the hematoma on my butt. But I’ve been hearing the term, “friendsgiving,” a lot lately in regards to people throwing these “festive affairs” with cheap wine and instant mashed potatoes. Even the Netflix Stream Team is celebrating a discussion of “friendsgiving.” And people have started calling our 9-year tradition “friendsgiving.”

And I hate that.

friendsgiving is stupid

I hate it because that’s not what it is. It isn’t some hipster tradition that we just started doing in 2012 because we saw our favorite characters on TV celebrate Thanksgiving together as friends for years, but decided it needed a new name because Thanksgiving wasn’t good enough. The only place you can even find a definition of “friendsgiving” is on Urban Dictionary, which basically describes it as a subpar event where friends gather together the day before or the day after Thanksgiving to enjoy either leftovers or boxed wine and cheap dishes.

Did Jess and Schmidt re-name their Thanksgivings “friendsgiving?” No. (Okay, Schmidt may have decided on “bangsgiving” this year, but he’s dirty and ridiculous and it’s not REALLY a thing.)

Did Rory and Loralei head to “friendsgiving” with their people? No.

Did Ted and Marshall call it “friendsgiving?” Nope. (Fine, they had “slapsgiving.” Which was wicked and funny and not trying to MAKE A THING happen).

Go ahead! Celebrate the big Turkey Day with friends. Enjoy it. Watch a few Thanksgiving episodes of your favorite shows. Watch football.

I’ve heard people hosting and attending these “friendsgiving” dinners as early as the beginning of November. I’m sorry, what? That’s called a dinner party. If you’re going to host a Thanksgiving to celebrate with the family that you chose, instead of the family that you’re born into (or stuck with), do it the week of Thanksgiving. Or ON Thanksgiving. Last year, I attended 5 Thankgiving feasts. Five. And not one of them was called, “friendsgiving.” Because it’s stupid. We had work Thanksgiving, Pre-Thanksgiving, two family Thanksgivings and Second Thanksgiving. At all of these events, there was turkey. Ham. Homemade potatoes. Real vegetable dishes. Pie. Nothing was re-purposed leftovers. We made fresh, delicious food for each other. And celebrated a thankful day.

Second Thanksgiving may be a way to enjoy a turkey dinner with the family that you choose, but it’s not a cheap substitute for the real deal. It’s an equal. It’s powerful. No one’s fighting over what time to bring the turkey out. Dirty Uncle Jack isn’t flirting with your girlfriend. Crazy Cousin Maria isn’t drunk and picking fights. Grandma isn’t yelling at the little ones to sit down. It’s just friends. Drinking good wine, expensive beer, liquor-filled jello shots, and eating the best food that each attendee can prepare. We typically host it on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so we can even watch football as per Thanksgiving tradition.

My college friends and I started Second Thanksgiving after a discussion of our crazy (albeit lovable) families on the holidays. Nine years ago at my best friend’s apartment (the same best friend who’s car I stole a few years ago), back when I used to throw parties at other people’s homes. The first year was a potluck of epic proportions, but the second year became a full turkey dinner because I wasn’t going to have a real Thanksgiving with my family (one day, I’ll tell you about that). And I wanted a real Thanksgiving.

This is a picture of everyone who attended the second annual Second Thanksgiving in my best friend's one-bedroom apartment. While he was in Australia.

This is a picture of everyone who attended the second annual Second Thanksgiving in my best friend’s one-bedroom apartment. While he was in Australia.

For nine years, I’ve hoped to one day host out of my kitchen. This year is the first year that I can host Second Thanksgiving in my own home. All my Clark Griswold dreams are coming true.

So tell me, Blog Friends, do you have a Thanksgiving with your friends? Do you call it “friendsgiving?” If you don’t, what do you call it? Would you have a Thanksgiving with friends?

This post is brought to you by the fine people at Netflix. As a member of the Netflix Stream Team, I was given a free year of Netflix along with some other sweet perks. Prior to joining the Stream Team, I had a Netflix subscription of my own accord. Because Netflix is awesome. And no one paid me to say 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!

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

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

Holiday Gift Guide

The Best Gifts for Him

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

Wireless, keyboardless keyboard

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

ThinkGeek Goodies

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

 

The Best Gifts for Her

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

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

Handmade art jewelry

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

Dome Life Studios Jewelry

Zazzle Home goodies

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

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

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

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

60% Off wrapped canvas, posters

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

25% Off ornaments, bags, jewelry, speakers

$15 Off pillows, chocolate boxes, lamps, watches

20% Off all orders

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

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

Cunt flask

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

Gifts for Kids at Heart

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

Fun Wall Art

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

Patents

Patents Wall Art

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

Games

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

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

Utter Nonsense Game

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


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

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

A video posted by Quirky Chrissy (@quirkychrissy) on

Stocking Stuffers for Grown Ups

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

Nail polish and makeup stocking stuffers

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

Snow Day Welcome Box Offer

Razors make excellent adult stocking stuffers

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

ShaveMOB Razors

Mini bottles of booze

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

Fun socks

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


Handmade soap

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

The Little Blue Hippo Phone and device cases

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

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

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

Handmade Scrabble ornaments

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

Book Scrabble Ornament

Giveaways and Christmas Cards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was an Irish Princess

For the first 25 years of my life, my parents owned a bar. Not just any bar. To us, it was THE bar. All of our important coming of age shit was celebrated in the bar. First communions, graduations, birthdays, even some holidays…and most especially, St. Patrick’s Day.

You learn a lot when your parents own a bar. You learn how to mix drinks, of course, non alcoholic drinks…like the Chrissy Cocktail I invented when I was 9–seven up, squirt, grenadine, pineapple juice and orange juice (when I grew up, I added vodka). You tell your kindergarten teacher that you want to be a bartender when you grow up. You play waitress in your best friends’ basement (but you add roller skates, because when you own the bar, everyone is going to wear roller skates). You go to a lot of wakes and funerals because you know a lot of people (and a lot of alcoholic). You decide that you DON’T want to be an alcoholic, because you spent your impressionable years watching them. But you drink like a fucking fish in your twenties, anyway.

And then, one day, the bar is gone. And all you have are these AMAZING memories. And that’s okay. It brought you to where you are. It shaped your existence. It gave you all those AMAZING memories.

You try for a few years to go out to other Irish bars on St. Patrick’s Day. You run around town like the Eurotrash of the suburban town where you once held court. Fallen royalty without a kingdom. And then you realize that a bottle of Jamo, a bottle of Bailey’s, and a 6-pack of Guinness are way cheaper than a few shots and a couple of warm green beers at an overcrowded pub. And your dad taught you to make the best corned beef and cabbage on the planet anyway.

But you still deck yourself out like a motherfucking leprechaun and roll into work. Because that’s just what you do. And you wear a green jacket with the name of the bar and the year of your birth like a boss. And you live every day. With your memories and your plans for the future.

Because THAT is what makes life happen.

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!