When it Comes to Brothers, I Sure Lucked Out

Did you know today is National Siblings Day? A mere week after my little brother’s 32nd birthday (it’s currently the very brief two months in which we’re the same age). I may have weird sister drama, but whatever; it doesn’t even matter because I have the best brother on the planet. Seriously. There are SO many reasons I adore my brother. We even have matching tattoos, you guys.

Irish Twin Tattoos

The Irish Claddagh symbolizes friendship, loyalty, and love. Cupla is a Gaelic word used for twins.

My brother, whose name is also Brian (we’ll call him Woj to minimize confusion with my future husband), builds palaces for his pets – his “fur” babies. I use “” because one of them is a hedgehog. Honestly, I don’t know if Biscuit actually qualifies as a fur baby.

Woj and I have shared thousands of tiny and huge moments from wreaking havok on our home turf to tearing it up in New Orleans. He’s been my partner in crime for more than three decades – we even had to sneak INTO our house together in high school. My favorite karaoke buddy, my twin, my friend. And hell if he doesn’t know me better than I know myself, sometimes. I can’t tell you how many times he’s said to me, “Chris, you should watch/try/play/eat/drink/make this.” Ten years ago, I’d have looked at him as if he was insane. In fact, I did. On several occasions. I took the long way around, but as it turns out, he was right the whole time. (Don’t tell him I told you that.)

Things my brother told me to try that eventually made me a better nerd

  • Harry Potter (I can’t even believe I’m admitting this)
  • Firefly (I waited years to actually try it. And really it was on the insistence of my boyfriend that I watch it. And oh man was I hooked)
  • Gamer games (and now I’m WAY more obsessed than he is)
  • GenCon (yeah, he was going to them long before I became an addict)
  • Netflix (yes, you guys. My beloved one and only Netflix, without which I might not be obsessed with Gilmore Girls, New Girl, or The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
  • X-Men (I remember a time in my life I thought my brother was crazy for loving Wolverine so hard. And then Marvel introduced me to Hugh Jackman)

Recently, Brian asked me, “What else did your brother tell you you’d love and you didn’t listen to him about?”

Me: World of War Craft

Brian: Don’t do that. You’ll get addicted.

Me: YuGiOh

Brian: …

Me: Magic the Gathering. But I know I’d like that.

Brian: Yeah, but those are both collectible card games, you have a problem with collecting things. So, uh…try to stay away from those.

We’ll see, Brian. We’ll see.

What awesome things in your life can you thank a sibling (or a bestie, if you have no sibling — or if you have sibling drama) for? 

This post is brought to you by my favorite media streaming company, Netflix (Thanks for the intro, Woj!). As a member of the Stream Team, I received a complimentary year of streaming and a device on which to binge watch shows like Firefly and Kimmy Schmidt (who returns this week!). As always, these opinions are my own, and I would totally still have Netflix even if they weren’t so darn good to me. 

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

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

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

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

Throw an awesome housewarming party

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

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

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

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

Decor

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

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

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

dice and trvial pursuit

Food

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

BBQ weenies

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

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Gratuitous cheese photo

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

Dessert

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

Domino Brownies

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

mint chocolate chip cookie barsDrinks

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

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

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

Tours

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

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

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

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

Gettin’ Geeky With It Throughout the ‘Verse

I am a sucker for all things geeky, nerdy, and surprisy.

I flippin’ LOVE surprises. Which is why subscription boxes appeal to me. So when I found Loot Crate, I was all, “OMG! Geeky! Nerdy! Surprisy!” Yes. With that many exclamation points. And yes, I kind of hate exclamation points.

But I love Captain Mal.

Especially this version of Captain Mal

Especially this version of Captain Mal

And so when I found out the September Loot Crate was full of top secret Firefly exclusives and all things galactic, I was all in with all the chips.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Loot Crate Review

As a grown-up collector (we’ve gone over this: “hoarder” isn’t a very nice-sounding word, but “collector” totally is), I love toys and games and things. The Loot Crate is full of toys and games and things for grown ups who play like kids. So it’s kind of perfect for me.

September Galactic Loot Crate

Here’s what the September box included:

Captain Mal Funko Mystery Mini – A mini Mal just for me. Can I keep him?

Firefly currency – Can I just say how pretty Firefly money is? I love the money in my Firefly game, and I love this too.

Firefly money

Star Trek Tribble – Isn’t my cute little Tribble buddy precious? I just want to snuggle it.

Han Solo Poster – Trapped forever in carbonite ON MY WALL.

Star Wars magnet – I love magnets. Especially now that I’ve got a house with a fridge coming soon.

Pop Rocks candy – They’re going to sugar me up, too?

Funko Alien figure – If I told you I’ve never seen Alien, would you take away my geek card? (This is going in Brian’s stocking. Hopefully, he opts not to read this post. I’m going to count on the fact that he’s super busy with all the things that are work and house and not Chrissy’s little ole blog.)

Loot Crate button – I love buttons. I don’t know why… coughcollectorcough

Halo Escalation #1 Halo Comic Book Digital Redemption Voucher – Fancy code for more things! (Okay, I’m not a HALO person, but my I’m pretty sure this is something that would fall into the godsons would enjoy this camp.)

All in all, I would say that Loot Crate could very well be worth $19.37 (including S/H) depending on the month and your geeky preferences. In this box, there were some serious wins for me (Cap’t Mal and the Tribble) and a couple meh’s (Alien and Halo), but I’ve got some Christmas presents out of those, so it worked out well for me.

The October box (FEAR) sounds tempting what with an issue of The Walking Dead comic book, a mystery t-shirt and the promise of FEAR (we all know how much I love Halloween…).  So it looks like I may be adding another monthly subscription to my life, though I think I’d keep it at a per month subscription in order to make sure it’s a theme that interests me.  A lot of the past crates look awesome (Villains, Dragons, Heroes), but there are a couple that wouldn’t have interested me at all (Adventure, Transformer).

While this is not a sponsored post, I did receive a complimentary Loot Crate for honest review purposes. I was not compensated for my thoughts, and I really did want all the galactic things…and I really did get multi-exclamation excited about geeky, nerdy, surprisy goodness.  

What do you think, Blog Friends? Is this box up your alley? Would you be as excited for play money as I was? Which of these items would be highest on your yes-please list?

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!

Hot Mess? Who? Me?

“I’m a hot mess.”

“Don’t mind me. I’m just a hot mess.”

“Sorry. I’m a hot mess. Most of the time.”

“Mostly, I’m just a hot mess.”

“Crap! I’m such a hot mess.”

These are phrases that come out of my mouth on almost a daily basis.

Walk into a pole? I’m a hot mess.

Embarrass myself in front of famous authors? I’m a hot mess.

Almost destroy my new boyfriend’s bathroom rug? I’m definitely a hot mess.

So when I was at GenCon, it wasn’t a surprise that I was walking into people, knocking shit over, and dropping things all over the place, apologizing with “I’m a hot mess.”

What I did find surprising (and really, I shouldn’t have), was at one point in the con, when some guy walked past me, yelling, “Hey! It’s the Hot Mess!”

And then it registered. And I was like. “You remembered me?” Because obviously, I don’t even know what stupid thing I had done (probably when I dropped like 5 games off a shelf) to be so memorable.

Of course, he proceeded to tell me that he “had a thing for redheads.” At which point, I smiled and walked away.

Only to see him a few hours later, again yelling out to me, “Hey! How’s it going Hot Mess?!”

I just hung my head in shame and walked away. When I told Brian, he just told me to stop calling myself a hot mess (after I explained that I was the one who said it first…I think he was ready to punch a guy for calling me a hot mess…or at least that’s how I imagined it.)

Which is easier said than done.

The face of a serious hot mess

The face of a serious hot mess

Is it just me? Tell me something weird you do.

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!

Nerdy Things I Do When I’m Not Here

Sometimes, I get writer’s block. And I’m not really sure what to write about for this here little blog of mine. So I back off. I reflect. I do real life things that have nothing to do with blogging. Today, I’m going to tell you about some of the awesome things that I do when I’m not blogging.

  • I play mindless games. Bejeweled. Tetris. Bloons. I am a mindless game master.
  • I play board games. Nerdy ones. Arkham Horror. Settlers of Catan. Dominion. Munchkin. 7 Wonders.
  • I watch Doctor Who. And LOVE it.
  • I cuddle with my boyfriend. Is that nerdy? Did you just throw up a little bit in your mouth? That’s okay; me too.
  • I read books. You should too. They make you smarter. S-M-R-T.
  • I talk about sciency things with Brian. Okay. Brian talks about sciency things and I listen. And sometimes fall asleep. But that’s okay. Because he still loves me.
  • I plan vacations in my head. Especially to places that begin with Disney and end with World.
  • I eat cheese. Like, a lot of it. Fancy stuff. None of that plastic wrap Kraft BS.
  • I daydream about my future fame. That’s probably not nerdy either. But I do it. You bet your ass I do it.
  • I research things I want to buy. I didn’t always do this. I used to just buy things that I wanted. Now I research them first. I blame Brian.
  • I listen to Disney music and show tunes. A lot.
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!

Maybe I’ll Write About Doctor Who…Because You Know There’s Not Enough of it on the Internet or Anything…

I may or may not have the urge to name my first born child Stormageddon.

For those of you who don’t know, I recently immersed myself in the complete and utter nerd-dom of Doctor Who. And once I dive into something that major, I obsess. Seriously. Fucking. Obsess. So obviously, I watched the entire modern series in a matter of 2 months. Did I mention that I obsess?

Like when I saw this shirt. I needed this shirt. So I bought this shirt. I can’t wait to nerd out in it at a con or two.

Keep Calm and Don't Blink

I may have pulled this shirt out of the dirty laundry last night just to take a photo shoot…and don’t mind my messy hair.

Seriously...it was at the bottom of the laundry. But I felt inspired to put it on for you guys.

Seriously…it was at the bottom of the laundry. But I felt inspired to put it on for you guys.

So yesterday, I’m not sure if you heard this or not, but Chicago kind of drowned a little bit. Flash floods across the suburbs. Roads blocked. Commutes delayed. Cars destroyed. Scary terrifying thunderstorms. Power outages. A boat load of not good. An ARK, if you will…

Belmont Train Underpass Underwater

This train station is like 7 minutes from where I live.

Needless to say, I DID NOT leave my apartment yesterday.

How does this all relate?

My girlfriend in Arizona Facebooked, “What the hell is going on in Illinois?!” And I replied with “Stormageddon.”

And then I remembered the episode of Doctor Who in which I told Brian that our first born child would be named Stormageddon. And then I Googled it for some fun things for you.

You’re quite welcome.

i am stormageddon american apparel baby one piece white onesie

I sent this to Brian…and told him that our future child would totally own this. And by own it I mean wear the shit out of it. He refused to comment.

forget-alfie-im-stormageddon

If you want more Stormy Baby Pictures and Doctor Who Joy…It’s possible that I could spend hours on this Doctor Who Tumblr

Happy Friday Everyone! Have you ever braved a terrifying storm? Snow Storms or Flooding Rain Storms? Tornadoes? I’m petrified of them, but I do love a good story…

 

 

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!