How many passport applications is this going to take?

In just a couple of days, Brian and I are leaving for our European honeymoon. I’ve been obsessively Zulilying adorable dresses, checking the weather, and buying Disney pins on ebay in preparation.

Why yes, I did say Disney. Because one of our stops includes a couple nights in Disneyland Paris.

After our 2012 trip to Walt Disney World, Brian hasn’t been able to think of anything else. (I’m totally lying. He couldn’t care less. It’s all me.)

So we’re heading on a magical trip, partially inspired by my romance novel addiction when I was 15, in which I read one of those dime-a-dozen Harlequin Presents novels with the main characters honeymooning in Belgium and eating chocolate. Teenage Chrissy couldn’t think of anything better. Especially since adult Chrissy realized that Belgium and beer are close compadres.

Anywho…

When one travels internationally, one needs a damn passport.

Brian, being a cool AF dual citizen, has two valid passports. Me?

I had an expired passport from 2004 that I couldn’t find.

So I delayed.

And I waited.

And I procrastinated like it was my job.

Once we were 5 weeks from our trip, I hunted for, and found, my expired passport. The one I had paid extra to expedite 5 weeks before my trip to London.

It looked like I would be covering that cost again.

So I made my way to the post office, credit card in hand…where they told me I needed a check, five minutes before the passport office closed.

Not to worry, I had a backup plan.

I left, stopped home, picked up a check (and one of Brian’s special pens), and went to a post office that was open later.

It was there that I began diligently filling out the passport application. And it was there that I screwed up, and had to rewrite it. Twice.

Third time’s the charm, right? So I finished up the app and got in line. They told me I would have to wait as only one person was managing passport applications, and I patiently stood in the long queue. When my turn was finally up, the lady took one look at my application and sent me back with another. APPARENTLY, you’re supposed to use black ink pens only.

This is also apparently on the front of the form. Whoops!

So I went back and started the 4th application. Only to be deterred by another egregious error, in which I was forced to start over. Again.

How to fill out a passport application

5 applications later, and I was ready for my close up.

The woman took me to a back room of the post office to snap my pic. I had perfected the art of the non-smiling smile and the perfectly angled head tilt, for a snazzy photo opp.

Except that head tilting is against the rules. So much for the perfect selfie.

Finally, she took an acceptable picture, and I was ready to get this show on the road. She handed me an envelope and told me to mail it. She explained that with 5 weeks before my trip, I should still be fine without paying for expediting the passport (because it was a renewal for an existing passport).

I received it within two weeks. And I’m ready to go!

As we head off to Paris, Disneyland Paris, Ghent, and Brussels, I thought I’d leave you with a few animated favorites to stream on Netflix in honor of our little jaunt.

  • Anastasia – one of my favorite non-Disney flicks, partially set in Paris. Dimitri is, by far, the hottest of the animated male love interests. John Cusack lends his voice to this smooth talkin’ handsome con artist.
  • Tangled – this was one of the first Disney princess movies Brian and I watched for our Valentine’s tradition. I think it was VDay #2, but who’s counting?
  • The Princess & the Frog – this one doesn’t get enough good press. I really like Tiana and her sass, and I love the voodoo magic.
  • Enchanted – one of my absolute favorites. I adore everyone in the cast, and think it’s just one of the most funDisney movies with a billion nods to the princess flicks of old.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas – if you haven’t seen my Sally nails or our Jack and Sally Skellington Costumes, you’re totally missing out.

Netflix Stream Team

As a member of the Stream Team, I publish montly posts sponsored by Netflix who gives me the ability to watch 24/7 streaming TV and write about it. I had a Netflix account long before I was a Stream Teamer, and all opinions expressed are entirely 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!

Erratic Ramblings from More Strangers on the Train

It all started on the train with the two women sitting behind me, talking about their kids in baseball. The struggle was real. I was only half paying attention until one of them, let’s call her Lefty, said, “Oh jeepers.”

snort

I knew it was time to pull out my phone and document snippets of this conversation,because I know y’all love it when I eavesdrop.

Then Righty says, “Then, I watched The Nerds. You know, After the Thrones. They’re all SO nerdy! They think they’re so cool. But they’re such nerds.”

I don’t think Baseball Mom got the memo, that it’s hip to be a square these days…Even my mom (who was a cool girl) thinks the Big Bang gang is cool.

Lefty jumps back in with, “Did I ever tell you what Brett’s final grade was? He got an A. And she still wanted him to take it again. He told me, ‘She still says I don’t know the concepts.'”

Coming from a recovering teacher, I can attest to how hard it is not to pass students with Cs and Ds, but if they don’t understand the concepts, how the hell do they get As?

Righty, apparently checking her phone, “My email is full. It says delete some files and try again.  What Files!?”

Lefty was only half listening, because then she chimed in with, “I had 1,099 texts. From you from two years!”

A few minutes later, Righty was back on Game of Thrones, “I hope Danerys and whatsher face hook up. Yara? Maybe he’ll become an unsullied. What’s his face? He’s halfway there. Poor thing. He did betray his fam – his…Starks. When is Danerys going to find out all this stuff?”

Then they rambled some more about baseball and kids…

Righty was all, “What’s an Ethel Merman?”

And Lefty replied, “It’s German.”

Righty responded with “I have such a hard time visualizing things…”

snort

I couldn’t help it.

Then Righty starts singing, “Do you, do you want my love?” Followed by a whistle.

Lefty said something quiet enough for me to miss, and Righty quipped back, “It’s cuz I’m fancy. Fancy Nancy.”

I wish I was making all if this up. But it’s 100% real life.

Then Lefty says something like, “I’m sorry that you almost died but…I’m really glad I swim. It helps me!”

Righty dramatically reiterates, “I would have died.  I would literally have died.”

Ummm…okay, Righty. Glad you didn’t die or anything.

Conversations overheard on the train...and the Snapchats that shame them.

Conversations overheard on the train…and the Snapchats that shame them.

I  tried to turn them off, but then Righty said, “I’m like your lady’s maid.”

Lefty, realizing this was a brillz idea, responded, “I need a lady’s maid!”

“Doesn’t everybody.”

Well, actually…maybe?

And then they started talking about their appearances.

Lefty was all, “You don’t have football shoulders.”

Righty knows a good life when she sees it…”Thank GOD I don’t have football shoulders.”

“I do and it sucks.”

Poor Lefty with her football shoulders.

And then Righty starts singing again, “Do you do you want my love?”

And scene.

You know, commuting on the train is almost as entertaining as watching one of my favorite binge watches on Netflix. Everyone is a character in this world. Everyone. I get a glimpse into their lives, just like the tiny Carrie Bradshaw I’m currently obsessing over in The Carrie Diaries. Or the crazy awesome kids in the weird AF town on Stranger Things. Or my favorite office culture on 30 Rock.

What characters do you love to watch?

Netflix Stream Team

This post was brought to you by my friends at Netflix, who provided me, as a member of the Stream Team, with a year of Netflix, a device on which to watch it, and this month, a freaking awesome harmonica to play with. All opinions and words are mine.

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!

Perfect Date Ideas if Killing a Man Sounds Like a Hot Date

A few weeks ago, we had our first shower. It was lovely, and Brian’s family is wonderful, and I love them. 

Wedding shower games: Date Jar

One of the activities at said shower was a Date Jar. It was super adorable and everyone seemed to really enjoy participating. So, of course, I thought it would be fun to read them all aloud. 

And I was right.

Lots of perfect date ideas ensued, including recreating our first date, heading to an escape room, eating cheese, doing yoga, and playing Scrabble, and hunting Pokemon (which I had then yet to download). 

Wedding shower games: Date Jar date suggestions  (cheese tour, coupled yoga)

Luckily for everyone, though, there were a couple real gems that had us all laughing…and me admitting to probably a little too much. 

Netflix and Chill

YOU GUYS. I HAD NO IDEA WHAT NETFLIX AND CHILL MEANT. I mean I knew by the time I read it on the date jar. But it was maybe…two months ago that I learned what it meant. I always thought it was just…snuggling up with the couch (sometimes by yourself,  other times with anyone who doesn’t want to be productive) and binge watching Netflix.

While at a friend’s house, I discovered a whole new meaning of the phrase during a group conversation. Apparently, it’s code for come over and ahem make out and bang. A light bulb went on above my head and I was like whaaaaaat?
And so, being the completely improper lady that I am, I took it upon myself to explain to Brian’s family what Netflix and chill meant, and that I had just recently learned about it. I mean, if that’s the most inappropriate thing I did, I think I did okay. 

Make a Blanket Fort and Watch Movies

This was just one of my favorites. No funny business here. Because blanket forts are AWESOME. 

Bring one of your favorite movie scenes to life

I’m thinking Brian’s going to veto sitting on the dining room table kissing over a birthday cake (mine would be cheesecake). And he’s probably going to say no when I call him farm boy and boss him around. 

Wedding shower games: Date Jar date suggestions  (blanket forts, Netflix and chill, reenact a movie scene)

And then there was this one:

Wedding shower games: Date Jar date suggestions  (kill a man?)

After the initial omg reaction, Brian and I started coming up with ways to kill a man without actually injuring an actual human. We could play Clue and kill Mr. Body in the library with the wrench. We could watch a movie on Netflix that has someone else killing a man. The creative possibilities are endless. 

What are some of your favorite date ideas? Did you know what Netflix and chill meant?

This post is part of my partnership with Netflix as a member of the stream team. I received a year’s subscription of Netflix and a device on which to binge watch shows like Gilmore Girls. As always, all opinions and thoughts 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!

Hide and Go Netflix

At one of my old jobs, many years ago, I had a lot of down time. Once I was pretty confident I could knock out my work in a certain amount of time,  I’d take a little break. And catch up on Netflix. I wasn’t the only one. My entire row of coworkers was watching one movie or tv show at any given time. Where do you think I got the idea?

It started small, with secret windows open just emough for me to watch a few minutes here and there while I worked…eventually, though, it was entire episodes. Full movies. I was a rebel, and I loved it.

And that was before smart phones were as fancy as they are now. These days, I’ve got way too much work going on to play on the clock, but now that I can Netflix on my fancy phone (where I’m granfathered in an unlimited data plan), I can avoid people and places everywhere else by staring at my phone. I’m not an introvert, but I’m an introverted extrovert, and when I’m uncomfortable somewhere, it’s nice to have an escape.

Need to avoid the loud old ladies on the train screaming chaw-co-lot-ay at little girls? Escape in a magical world with Charmed.

Irritated by the gossipy soccer moms behind you? Watch Mean Girls (starting tomorrow!).

Ladies talking too much on the train.

If you follow me on Snapchat, you get to see things like this.

Bored with family drama? Turn on your favorite episode of Gilmore Girls.
Tired of day to day office nonsense? Catch an episode of 30 Rock. 

Where do you  Netflix?

I don’t have kids (yet), but Netflix posed the question, “Where do you sneak in a few minutes of your favorite show?” This post is part of my Netflix StreamTeam partnership. I received a year of Netflix and a device on which to watch all my favorite shows.

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!

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!

My Life in Snapchat Color Part I

I’ve only been snapping since 2014-ish. And in that time, I’ve managed to capture my essence. Of course, I’m well aware of the inane selfies I share on any platform, and Snapchat is no stranger to this. But I thought I’d share a few of my favorites, we’d have some laughs at my expense, and then you might decide you want my sort of snappy world in your life, and you’d go and add quirkychrissy as your newest Snapchat friend. Let me know how this works out for you.

Sometimes, the light hits just right on a selfie and I know exactly what God’s trying to tell me.

I'm an angel

My mom likes to brag. I don’t remember what she was talking about, but I know what was implied. It is Snapchat after all.

My Mom's seen bigger

Sometimes, I’m deep in thought and I just want to share it with the world.

Pensive

I also have a super huge crush on Jim Caviezel. Brian’s okay with it though, because Person of Interest is a FANTASTIC show.

Person of Interest

And then Brian’s all, “But you don’t even KNOW Jim, Chrissy. He will never love you the way I love you.” And with that he stomped on my dreams. He hadn’t even asked me to marry him then! I didn’t know he was in it for the long haul for real (I’m lying. I knew).

Funny story about Brian the dream crusher: Just this morning, he was telling me the weather. “It’s going to be warm and wonderful…but it’s going to rain on our way home tonight.”

See what I mean?

Sometimes Brian crushes dreams

In an act of defiance, I’ll snap things I know Brian won’t like. These Christmas trees were available for purchase one June…

Sometimes I snap things Brian won't like

But then, the Universe is all, “Fuck you, Chrissy. You should be nicer to Brian.” And some lady decides to lean on me at the train station.

Stupid lady on the train

But then I remember I no longer have to go to Mordor, and 🎵every little thing is gonna be alright!🎵

This is where I used to work

Are you on Snapchat? Can we be friends? What is the best picture you’ve ever taken with your phone? Do you ever take photos of strangers?

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. Can’t. Stop.

This year has been…interesting thus far to say the least. In addition to the deaths of some of my favorite people…Jareth Bowie. Snape Rickman, I’ve been stricken with a few grievous issues. Only a few weeks in and I’ve had the laryngitis, back maladies, a small addiction to the Twitter, and a serious case of Netflixitis.

What is Netflixitis, you ask? Well, first, I thought to myself, Self, you just made up Netflixitis. Aren’t you clever? 

And then I thought to myself, Self, you should probably Google Netflixitis to see if you’re really the first person to think of such a clever thing. 

And then I Googled Netflixitis and discovered that it is, in fact, a “real” thing. Of course, it is pretty much exactly what you expect it to be. It’s an affliction of the mind and body in which you physically cannot say no to Netflix. No matter how many times it asks you if you’re “still watching Gilmore Girls?” No matter how many episodes you can get through on a Saturday that you have zero plans (and for the record, Netflix will ask you at least 3 times if you’re still watching). No matter how many Christmas trees are still up in your big, fancy, unkempt house. No matter how many things you haven’t planned for the wedding that’s nearing on 8 months away.

I hate it when Netflix asks, Are you still watching Gilmore Girls?

I see that judgy way you popped on screen, Netflix.

Netflixitis is a healing disease. Especially when it includes snacks. And a lot of drugs for your back pain. And just the right positioning on the couch. It may take weeks of recovery. And for that, we’re thankful that all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls are available on Netflix. And by “we,” I mostly mean me, although Brian has partaken of the Gilmore Girls for several hour spans of time.

Netflixitis is a disease that also doubles as an idea machine. When I told Katie I was starting on the Gilmorathon last month, she warned me of several weddings, but I had no idea that each season would be ripe with marriages and weddings and big fancypants parties. Did you know that there are AT LEAST seven weddings on Gilmore Girls? I’m only halfway through Season 5, and I can count SEVEN freakin’ weddings. And all the ideas. Oh man. I mean, I want midgets dressed like angels dancing under papier-mâché mushrooms, don’t you?

I’m totally kidding.

Sort of.

Netflixitis is a beautiful thing. Netflix is my beautiful thing.

Even if I do have this minor condition.

These 7 Signs Will Tell You If You Have Netflixitis.

7 Signs you may have a case of Netflixitis

You continue to binge watch episodes of a TV show that you’ve never seen before, despite the dishes that haven’t been washed in a week…just like your hair.

You’re now binge watching episodes of a TV show you’ve seen at least twice all the way through.

You’ve watched three bad horror movies, and are nuking the popcorn for round four.

You’re imagining your life as Liz Lemon, Lorelai Gilmore, and Buffy Summers at the same time. You’re smart, quirky and a total bad ass. You rock. Netflixitis makes you awesome.

You wake up from a dream in which you’re a teenager and boys are sneaking into your window (seriously, Rory lives on the first floor of her dorm and people can just get into her room? I lived on the first floor and we were lucky the windows even opened).

You come home from work, grab a sammy, and plop down in front of the TV for night of the Gilmore Girls, only to be highly disappointed when you realize you left your beverage in the kitchen.

You haven’t left the couch in three days and your boyfriend is sending out SOS signals from your bed.

Sometimes, my boyfriend sends SOS signals from my bed

Have you ever suffered from Netflixitis? What is your favorite thing to binge watch right now? Are you a Gilmore Girls addict? 

Netflix Stream Team

As a member of the Stream Team, Netflix sponsors these fun little posts which give me the ability to watch 24/7 streaming TV and write about it. I had a Netflix account long before I was a Stream Teamer, and all opinions expressed are entirely 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!

I Have the Laryngitis

I think.

I mean, I’m  a little bit of a hypochondriac,  but I’m pretty sure that my inability to speak like a normal Chrissy, let alone a normal human, puts my diagnosis in the not exaggerating box.

It’s as if someone said, “Chrissy, you have all these things to say and people to talk to, so fuck you. We’re putting your vocal chords in timeout.”

It’s not like I’m trying to plan a wedding here or anything.

Yesterday, Brian and I  had the following conversation while at work:

Brian: How are you feeling?

Me: It’s just my throat/chest/voice. Otherwise I’m okay.

Brian: Those are pretty important body parts.

Me: That’s just because chest = boobs

Brian: I would also prefer you breathing!

Brian, of course, thinks my new voice is rather adorable. Personally, I think he just likes that I am barely speaking. Unnecessary verbal conversation has ceased, but as Brian pointed out, he thinks I’m having fun with it.

It’s probably because I may or may not have attempted singing along to the Gilmore Girls theme song once…or twice…or okay fine. Five times. It wasn’t pretty. Think the worst bad karaoke you’ve ever heard. I’m worse.

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Every word comes out scratchy, and every 3rd word is pretty much inaudible. For someone who loves to talk, it’s a nightmare.

One of the things I like to do when I’m dying of some mystery illness, though, is to consider what crazy series of events led me to this slow and painful death sequence. I’m quite positive it has everything to do with cleaning. Brian and I went to his childhood home and cleaned out some of the drawers in his childhood bedroom. I found his grade school gym uniform! And a certificate for achievement in courtesy dated 4 days after my birth! It was magical and adorable. But I’m blaming the dust for my vocal chords going on strike.

Luckily, when I get home at night, I have everything a girl could possibly need: Gilmore Girls, a holiday puzzle on the coffee table, snacks, and Brian.

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He takes care of me when I’m sick. He’s the best.

Have you ever lost your voice? What is your favorite show to binge watch? How do you handle being sick?

This post was brought to you by Netflix who provides me with a monthly subscription and a device on which I can binge watch Gilmore Girls as part of the Stream Team. As usual this story is all mine and no one paid me for my opinions.

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

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