Adventure is out there!

Ya know, I’m not normally one for exclamation marks, but I’m about to embark on three weekend adventures in a row.  Tomorrow after work, I’m heading on a flight to Las Vegas to hang out with one of my besties and see the Backstreet Boys — who, apparently, I see every ten years-ish. I saw them in 1997 and 2008 (yeah, I know a little more than 10 years. Whatever. Close enough). And now, I’m going to see them in 2017 in Las Vegas. I wonder where I’ll catch them in 2027…

Chrissy falling out of her camp chair at the Backstreet Boys concert

This is the only photographic evidence I have of me at a BSB concert. And it’s because I fell out of my chair and my girlfriends thought it was funny.

Of course, I’m not entirely sure that I’m going to make it out of Las Vegas alive. Just last weekend, one of my other besties sent me a text sharing a link to an article about Legionnaires disease in Vegas. My mom had suggested I stay at the Rio, but I’m thrilled she helped me find a sweet deal on a room at Bally’s instead. Either way, I’ve decided that I’m just not going to shower while I’m there. You know…Just in case.

And that’s only the beginning of all the ways I could die in Las Vegas.

After a few cocktails, I have a tendency to wander off. On my own. And in a city like Vegas, I’m likely to get eaten by wolves. Or something. Maybe I’ll walk the plank on that pirate ship in Treasure Island…or get too excited near the Bellagio and fall in. The possibilities are endless. And terrifying. At my bachelorette party, I started talking to strangers with the promises of free shots. I’m not entirely sure that won’t happen in Vegas. Except, I won’t have a brood of lady friends protecting my ass. It’s me and my girlfriend against the world. And this is how we roll:

triple fisting cocktails

Why yes, we are both triple fisting the cocktails in 2006. And it’s entirely possible we’re at a strip club. Also, I really miss that strapless shirt.

The only other time was in Sin City was approximately a million and a half years ago when I was 17 with a bad haircut and couldn’t do anything fun. I was with my best friend and we wandered the hotels, shopped, and gossiped about life. But as an adult? I don’t know if my brain was designed for Vegas. There are so many bright and shiny things and lights and sparkles and OMG you guys I’m going to get so distracted, I’ll probably miss my flight home.

Chrissy at 17 with a vegas gondolier

At least I knew this gondolier was attractive when I was 17…

And I can’t miss my flight.

Because I’m coming home for approximately 46 hours to smooch my husband, throw dirty clothes down the laundry chute, and refill my suitcase for Orlando.

From there, I’m going to gently dabble in a little solo Disney adventure. I say gently because this shameless hussy sharing a room with me promised to meet me for an after-5 dinner date inside the Magic Kingdom.  The next day may include a little waterparking before heading into BlogHer17, my fourth BlogHer conference. Much hugging will ensue, and at that point, there will be plenty of friends with me to make sure I don’t get lost in the House of Mouse.

Chrissy and Mary Poppins Disney World

I’ll return for about 5 days, this time, with one final adventure on the horizon for Fourth of July weekend. 5 days in the cheese motherland of Wisconsin with the one I left behind two weekends in a row. But honestly, guys, don’t feel bad for Brian, abandoned though he might be. He eats this shit up. You mean days upon days in a row in which he doesn’t have to do ANYTHING but go to work? No peopling? No socializing? No incessant babbling? No Disney music? The man is going to be in heaven.

Me too, Brian. Me too.

What adventures are you heading for this summer? Anything sweet on the horizon? 

Want to follow my adventures? Make sure you’re following me on all the social media nonsense. 

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!

Meet me under the tallest Christmas tree

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

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

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

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

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

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

Sleeping Beauty coffee mug

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

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

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

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

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

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

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

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

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

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

And then I waited.

And waited. And it got a little weird.

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

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

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

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

“So where’s Brian?”

“Ummmm…the bathroom?”

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

“Where’s his jacket?”

“You’re sitting on it.”

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

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

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

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

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

Nailed it!

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

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

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

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

Oh fuck, my parents are here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proposal under the Christmas tree at Winter Wonderfest

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

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

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

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

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

What was your proposal like?

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

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue

Man. Our wedding…where to go from cheese? I guess I’ll start by explaining the bridal party. Because that shit got out of control real fast. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

So it all started with the whole picking bridesmaids thing. Which was hard because holy shit I have a lot of amazing friends. And I didn’t want to offend anyone. I also didn’t want to impose on…well…everyone.

And then there was Brian…who only wanted two groomsmen: his brothers. We compromised by making my godson the most handsome junior groomsman to ever exist.

the groom, groomsmen, and junior groomsman at the alter

This photo makes my heart happy.

So I chose two bridesmaids and a matron of honor. Katie was destined to be my MOH from the first day I met her. She even planned a rough draft of her speech 4 years ago when I begged her to guest post on this little ole blog. I always knew my cousin Rachel would be one of my bridesmaids, and my post-college bestie, Ally, was a perfect complement to the other two.

we took wedding photos at a playground, and had so much fun on the purple dinosaur.

Ally’s outgoing personality balanced Rachel’s and Katie’s introvertness. We all had a blast.

I invited the three of them over with Brian’s brothers for some quality wedding planning time, and invited them to be my bridesmaids with a super fun little puzzle gift (when I tell you about our engagement, this will make more sense. Hold tight, y’all. That’s coming soon to a QC near you).

My bridesmaid proposal included pink gerber daisies in pink vases, Sweethearts candies, heart-shaped rings, a message in a bottle, and a scrabble tile unscramble

The message in a bottle had song lyrics with a different song memory for each maid. Once they named the song, I handed them the scrabble tiles, and they had to unscramble the word. I made them work for it, y’all.

But what about the other super important people in my life? Tom and Matty were always going to be bridesmen in my wedding, and I knew I had to make it happen. I told them and my brother that they were ushers, but let’s be honest here, guys…they were absolutely my bridesmen. You may be asking why there are only two men in this pictures…the answer is complicated, but it ends with a really handsome baby boy who I will convince to call me Crazy Auntie Chrissy, just as I do with all the tiny humans I love.

My bridesmen kissing me on the cheek at the wedding

I love these guys.

And then my girls. I’ve stood up in three weddings. I have some amazing family. And oh-mah-gah what would I do without some of these other women in my life? So I created a whole new category of the bridal party.

Standing with my something blue crew, all wearing teal dresses

We never actually got one picture with everyone included, but it’s totally okay. There are two women not pictured-one who was unable to make it at the last minute (another baby was born just a few weeks earlier and something came up for them) and another hadn’t arrived when these photos were taken (she ALSO had just had a baby. SO MANY BABIES!), but she was in some of the later pics!

I called them my Something Blue Crew, and they were magical. Because my colors were pink and teal, I asked my bridesmaids to do the whole official same dress thing in the pinkest pink I could find, and then I asked the Blue Crew to wear something teal.

I printed poems and messages on cardstock to ask my Something Blue Crew to be a part of my wedding

I wrote a silly little rhyme-y poem and either mailed or hand-delivered these, depending on whether the girls lived out of town.

I wanted to make sure that my Something Blue Crew knew that they were a special part of my world, so I went to eBates, and ultimately Mixbooks, to create my invitations. I wrote the poem and the blurb at the bottom, and was super excited about it.

As I spoke with each girl, I was thrilled that they were just as pumped about it as I was. Essentially, they were bridesmaids without the responsibilities. They didn’t walk down the aisle, but they were introduced at dinner. They were invited to the rehearsal, but not required. They didn’t have to go buy crazy fancy dresses and shoes or get their hair and nails done, but some of them did. And they all looked perfect.

The kids were also spot on. My sassy little niece nailed it as the flower girl with the rando basket I had from an old Halloween costume that I wrapped ribbon around. And my AMAZING floral friend plucked rose petals for her to throw.

The flower girl threw pink rose petals

She was so afraid of running out of flowers that she only dropped a few at a time.

Our ring bearer nailed it. He made it all the way up the LONG aisle without hesitation. And with full-on cuteness. I even found him the most perfect toddler tuxedo on Amazon.

Our ring bearer had a sign that said "Has anybody seen the rings?" and dragged the ring pillow behind him.

At two years old, we didn’t think our ring bearer should carry the ring, but we did give him a fun sign and tied the pillow to his wrist so he could drag it the whole way down the aisle.

He and his sister had a blast.

The ring bearer and flower girl walking back up the aisle

The ring bearer’s sign was double-sided, so on the way back, we switched it.

And they were all there with me on Brian’s and my day.

the full bridal party with bride, groom, groomsman, bridesmaids, ushers/bridesmen, something blue crew, flower girl, and ring bearer.

And the colors turned out to be my best, happiest, most wonderful dream come to life.

Magic.

Wedding photography courtesy of Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

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 Normal

“You’re not normal.”

“I know.”

“That’s why you love me.”

“It really is.”

I’m so lucky, you guys, to have someone like Brian who not only loves how weird and me I am, but encourages me to let my freak flag fly.

adorable engagement photo with board games and a picnic

Photo credit: Being Joy Photography

I wasn’t always this sparkly, shiny ray of positivity that make my coworkers think I’m in my early to mid twenties (bless their wonderful hearts-and not in a sarcastic way). But something about Brian (who is not sparkly or shiny, by the way) makes me want to be better. Makes me see the world from another angle. It gives me hope. It puts my faith in humans. It helps me believe in magic when most would say that magic isn’t possible.

My dad used to say to me, “Christine, you’re really book smart, but sometimes your common sense could use a little help from your brain.” I never took offense at this, because, let’s be honest, I’m a little bit flighty. I walk into no parking signs when I’m too busy looking at my phone. I drive my car into the middle of a snow bank. It took me three months to realize I had gotten my period. But you have to be flighty if you’re ever going to fly. Too much logic can kill imagination. And I happen to love my imagination. My little world, where skies are pink and I’m a cool girl. Where I create a snow beach in my parents’ front yard. Or where I cry at Disney World because I’m so happy and overwhelmed with memories that I can’t think straight.

Brian was baffled when I told him he was partially to blame for my rose colored glasses. “But I’m not that happy or positive.”

He doesn’t realize it’s not his demeanor that emboldens me to dream big and picture all the wonderful magical things I can do. It’s how he sees me. It’s how he tells me that I can do all these amazing things. He believes in me. He thinks I’m adorable. He encourages me, and he inspires me. And he’s everything I ever wanted or needed in a partner.

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 Just Want to be Perfect

Yesterday was my birthday. All my life, birthdays have been filled with anxiety and a little bit of disappointment. Partially because of my Clark Griswoldian dreams. I have hope. I believe in magic. I think anything is truly possible. And I imagine the most perfect of days for any special event, holiday, or vacation. I’m basically Riley from Girl Meets World.

Riley has Rileytown, a place where all her weirdness and happiness comes from. I have Chrissy’s World, where skies are pink and I am cool (with all my weirdness and happiness).

Riley has Maya, a best friend who stands up for her and loves her for who she is. I have Katie, who threatens to hit people over the head with a Corona bottle if they don’t stop teasing me or hurting my feelings.

It’s a good life. And it’s all mine. And for some reason, unbeknownst to me, a birthday never goes by in which I don’t cry at least once. I’m not saying this so you’ll feel sorry for me. I’m just explaining my weird little world for context.

So, yesterday, Brian took me out for breakfast and we planned our birthday adventure. We went home for a bit to digest and watch Game of Thrones. He took a nap (because I woke him up early to eat breakfast), and I called my mom for my annual cry.

It was at this point that Mama Bear offered to help. We were talking about Delilah, our beloved pool, who went to the pool graveyard in the sky a couple years ago, and how I could have been swimming while Brian napped. She asked if I wanted to go to one of the public pools in the area. My response was a mix of fuck no and lazy.

And be around all those people? I would have to shave my legs!

Mom knew I was right, and so she offered to left me come run through her sprinkler in her fancy, new, plush backyard grass(they sodded last year). I started laughing.

Come on! I’ll even do it with you!

At that point, I couldn’t stop laughing. It was uncontrollable and perfect. Everything I needed. I just kept picturing two grown women running through a sprinkler. I’m still laughing.

Brian woke up, and we took off for our adventure. A canoe rental in a beautiful hidden glacier-formed lake in the middle of suburbia. It was awesome!
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After our canoe trip, we walked around the lake, chasing geese. Brian kept telling me to leave them alone, but it was his idea to find them when we were on the canoe!

Once they left the lake, they wandered the grounds, just like we did. And they were so cute! I loved them.

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Afterwards, we met my parents for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Greek Islands. We drank wine, ate snacks, and they sang Happy Birthday to me before presenting me with a non-cake dessert and a birthday candle. All a girl wants on her birthday is to make a wish. Which I did. I’ll let you know when it comes true. We passed around the dessert, which was unbelievable coconuty custardy goodness, and my dad got the last piece.

As we nommed on our split dessert, Dad realized something was amiss, and he spit out the pink birthday candle. Apparently, he didn’t realize it wasn’t edible until it was too late. My parents and my boyfriend are pretty much the best. They know just what to do or say to make me laugh and give me the best birthday a Clark Griswold girl could have. A few tears turned into a magical day. Riley would be proud.

In the spirit of imperfection, I also wanted to tell you about a book that debuted this weekend. A book written, in small part, by yours truly. 37 co-authors produced the 4th book in the New York Times best-selling Pee Alone series, I Just Want to be Perfect. When Jen Mann invited me to contribute, I died a little bit with joy. It was the perfect title for me to be a part of and I hope you’ll all join me in reading this magical book of horrifying, hilarious, and true stories of women who try and fail at perfection.

I Just Want to be Perfect

You can find I Just Want to be Perfect in print and digital forms on iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Netflix Stream Team

This post was created as part of my work with Netflix (shameless plug excluded) as a member of the Stream Team. I received a device on which to shamelessly watch Netflix and an annual membership to stream all the streams I can stream. I binge watched Girl Meets World this month, and boy was I glad I did. Riley and I have a lot in common…you know, since I’m perpetually a 12-year-old girl. I had a Netflix account before the Stream Team, and no one pays me to say nice things about them. If you have Netflix, you understand. Even Mama Bear is obsessed with 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!