The only time my thumb is green is when I spill something on it

I do not have a green thumb. I seriously kill everything. With the rare exception of Bridget II, the schefflera I’ve been growing since college. Bridget I was also a schefflera, but she died during a winter or summer break in our college apartment when I was not there to tend to her.

Okay. Fine. Bridget II lives because my mother has a green thumb and she grew her into a tree. A tree that I now almost kill every 6 months or so. Speaking of which, I should probably go water her today.

So when I say I don’t have a green thumb, I mean it. But when I was offered the opportunity to test my creative skills in the world of terrariums, I jumped at the chance. Especially because Plant Nite hosts these shindiggities at over 700 local bars and restaurants in more than 75 different cities.

What’s Plant Nite? It’s a creative workshop that makes beautiful things easy and accessible for everyone. Basically, it’s like a painting party, but with plants. A host leads you through the instructions to create whatever is on the image, but you, as the artist, are free to make your own creative decisions.

I chose my event based on three things: 1. Proximity to my house, 2. The design of the creation, and most importantly, 3. The food at the venue.

The bar was a local restaurant/tavern a few towns over from me, and I opted for a terrarium set, titled “Fire and Ice,” because at the time, Game of Thrones was hot and heavy, and it just felt right. Look at this bad boy:

fire and ice terrarium

Photo Cred: Plant Nite

The food, though…that’s where my decision really came into play. This place is known for making a killer Bloody Mary, and I was not disappointed.

Epic Bloody Mary

Why yes, that is a deviled egg, cheese slice, salami roll, celery stick, and olive on my already-tasty Bloody Mary.

My future sister-in-law and I were starved, so we ordered a charcuterie display, meatballs, and a hummus-like spread that was really amazing. We took up half the table, but we didn’t mind.

Epic Cheese Plate

Their cheese and charcuterie plate hit the spot, but I’ll be honest, guys, it didn’t hold a flame to one of my own creations.

Once we had our snacks and bevvies, we were ready to take on this plant thing. We each had two glass terrariums before us, and an oath.

Plant Nite CommandmentsWe read through the oath quietly, but when our host was ready to get started, she had everyone read them aloud together with many giggles and smirks, but we promised to have fun above all else. And we did. I took the liberty of borrowing an infographic that shows off the Creative Oath:

paint nite creative oath infographic

Infographic Cred: Plant Nite/Paint Nite Blog

While the wonderful hosts had a wonderful step-by-step instructional, I’ve provided the abridged version for you to see how it works below.

Step 1: Fill terrarium with small rocks for drainage.

Step 2: Fill terrarium with a light layer of dirt.

Step 3: Add succulents.

Step 4: Add more dirt, effectively planting the succulent.

Step 5: Get creative! This is where everyone gets to shine.

Planted succulents

Without the creative step, this would be your end result.

Of course, the help of the hosts (and the amazing supply of colored rocks, moss, and other cool add-ins) made my terrariums as magical as they turned out to be.

Decorated succulent terrarium

I was pretty proud of my two little dudes. I loved the colors (and of course, mixed in some pinks in the “fire” terrarium).

Now, the real trick — can Chrissy keep these dudes alive? We’ll it’s officially been one month since I planted them, and they’re not only still kickin’, they’re thriving!

thriving succulent terrariums

Look at my babies! They’re growing!

Well, guys. I think my work here is done. Want to get a group together and check out Plant Nite on your own? I’ve got a fancy pants code for you to use (QUIRKYCHRISSY) at check out so you can save 35%.

Making Gorgeous Terrariums

Pin this and share it with your friends!

I was given two free tickets to attend the class, but no one paid me to say nice things. All opinions are, as always, 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!

Bachelorettes and all that jazz

You already know my wedding had a bomb-ass cheese theme. But did you know I also had a kickin’ bachelorette party theme?

At 29+, I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted the whole bachelorette thing. All my college friends did the party in Peoria, where we went to college, and we traipsed the sentimental bar tour we took the last week of school before graduation. Unfortunately for me, by the time I opted in to the marriage achievement, most of those bars had closed.

20s themed bachelorette party

So I debated whether to have a party at all. Ultimately,  as many of my friend groups’ token extrovert and party girl, they all kind of expected something epic from me. Not one to leave my friends disappointed, I told Katie that I wanted a theme. And costumes.

Tuxedo oreos for a 20s themed bachelorette party

We settled on the 1920s and all things flapper and gangster. The party would start with a small shower of my friends at my house and conclude with a party bus to the city and stops at a few speakeasies in Chicago. Costumes not required, but highly encouraged.

Photo booth station with costume add-ons for a 20s themed bachelorette party

Yes, that is a photo booth in my stairwell.

My bridesmaids made fancy crafty things (some of which are still decorating my home today), set up tasty snacks, baked pretty desserts, and planned games and activities for guests to enjoy. I provided the booze because we always have plenty of liquor and bubbles for thirsty guests (I really like to throw parties).

20s themes bachelorette party - homemade decor- signs and boas and pearls everywhere

Ally was basically Pinteresting the shit out of this thing…you know, something I refused to do for my wedding. I expect that when she gets married, I’m going to have my work cut out for me.

Bead and martini glass waterfall for a 20s themed bachelorette party

My friends are incredible. Several of them flew or drove in from out of town and even out of state for this shindiggity. How lucky am I?

20s themed bachelorette party 20s themed bachelorette party

To start my look, I had the hair trial scheduled, because what better day to test out your wedding hair than the ultimate girls night out?

I had my wedding hair trial the day of my bachelorette party

My friend Laura, who also did all my wedding flowers, is super crafty and provided upcycled dresses from Savers for costumes. She added beads and feathers and much to Brian’s dismay, glitter to the dresses and brought them over for me to try on. Katie made me a selection of mix and match headpieces for the ultimate bridal set.

Bride costume for a 20s themed bachelorette party

My pal, the Banosnapper, doing what she does: Bano snapping.

I think the ensemble turned out pretty awesome.

As the day went on, I drank A LOT of champagne. When we finally hopped aboard the party bus, I was flying high.

20s themed bachelorette party

We made our first stop at a speakeasy that inspired the whole plan. One of my city-dwelling friends, wearing her sassy dress and headband, had already been to the venue to scope it out since we couldn’t make reservations. She came out to greet us but to our dismay, the bouncers informed us that we could not proceed. He said that costumes were not allowed. Now,  we may have had flapper style dresses, but no one was wearing anything that you wouldn’t find in a store save a few added embellishments.

As my friends tried to explain, the bouncers got even more defensive.  “This is a speakeasy. Not a club. And you can’t wear headgear.” We were wearing headbands. No one asked us to remove them before entering; they just told us point blank we were in violation of their dress code, and we could not enter. We also tried explaining what a speakeasy is, and the premise of the 1920s to no avail. They must not have paid attention in history class.

Some of my friends went to the speakeasy’s website and looked up the dress code. Nothing about costumes or headbands being banned. It definitely felt like we were being discriminated against due to the appearance and size of the bride and some of the guests (it’s an unconfirmed suspicion, because how do you even confirm that?).

After I found out what was happening,  I may have gone to yell at the bouncers. I was pissed off that they were ruining my plans, and I don’t like when my plans fall through. It’s part of my Clark Griswold complex.

20s themed bachelorette party

This is our motley crew at Black Finn. That’s me in the back hugging the manager.

Luckily, my friends were quick to recover, dragged me from the bouncers before I punched one of them, and pointed us in the direction of Black Finn, where the manager bought us a round of shots and things got way better. I also got way drunker, but that’s expected at this sort of party.

Drumk girl selfie at a 20s themed bachelorette party

Things got a little fuzzy after that…

We made our way to a third bar, where I started doing shots with strangers at the bar and wandering around a bit more than one should. It was time to go home.

We called the party bus for our pickup and started winding down. In the bus, I called Brian, who had spent the afternoon out of the house but came home shortly after we left. I told him we (me and the 8 other people who’d be spending the night at our house) were on our way. And we really NEEDED tacos.

He said he’d pick up tacos and we texted him an order. My sister-in-law was also texting him with apologies for getting me so drunk and warning him of my impending arrival.

We came home to tacos and beds everywhere. Brian had set up air mattresses and put sheets and blankets on all the couches, so there’d be room for everyone to sleep. The dining room table was overflowing with tacos and burritos and horchata. If he hadn’t already proven he was going to be the best husband ever, this definitely solidified it.

Did you have a bachelorette party? Have you been to any crazy or themed bachelorette parties? Tell me your stories!

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!

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!

Let’s Talk About Cheese, Baby.

Everyone loves a fully-loaded cheese platter, amiright?

6 easy tips to make the perfect cheese display

I know this because no matter the theme of the party I’m hosting, there’s always a platter of cheese on the buffet. When a girlfriend comes over to catch up, I whip up a quick cheese plate. When Brian and I can’t decide what to eat, we’ll smorgasbord like a couple of mad kitchen geniuses, and make a cheese display that will make your mouth water. But you know what? It’s not such a hard task. That’s probably why I do it so often. I’m gasp a little lazy. And cheese is easy. You don’t have to cook it (I mean, melty cheese is great and all, but when your cheese drawer is loaded with the good stuff, you don’t cook that cheesy goodness; you eat that cheese on its own). You barely even have to cut it.

How to create the ultimate cheese plate

As someone who once worked for cheese, I’ve learned a thing or two about cheesemongering. And it’s high time I shared that knowledge with you. Below, I’ve listed the most important six things you should know about making a cheese plate at home.

  • Always taste the cheese first. This step is crucial. If you have the opportunity to taste the cheese before you buy it, awesome. But if you order your groceries online, like I did last week, you probably won’t get to sample it before you buy. That’s okay. Just make sure you have yourself a little nibble of each offering before you serve your guests. Not only will this make you more knowledgeable when you’re talking about the flavors of the cheese, but also, you’re eating cheese. And what’s better than that?
  • Choose a stylish platter. I have a vast selection of cheese plates and platters to choose from. Wood boards, slate platters, ceramic dishes, glass cheese plates…all of these can give your display serious street cred.

how to make a cheese platter at home

  • Mix and match your cheese. Make sure you choose a variety of different cheeses, varying in color, shape, size, texture, and flavor for a full profile of cheesy goodness. For this plate, I chose Merlot BellaVitano (which is a cross between an aged cheddar and parmesan, and brined in merlot), Amablu Blue Cheese, Saint Andre Brie Triple Cream, and Organic Valley Grassmilk Raw Sharp Cheddar Cheese. I meant to add a manchego, which is a really gritty and delicious hard Spanish cheese that Brian loves, but I kept that one unopened in the cheese drawer with the Boar’s Head Monterey Jack with Jalapeno. My bridesmaids are coming over today for dress shopping, and I want to have some cheese to feed them as well. (But seriously you guys. All of these cheeses were available online. Delivered. To my door.)
  • Avoid cutting the cheese. I mean, if you’re hosting a big party and no one’s going to want to slice into your beautiful hunks of cheese, by all means, cut it RIGHT BEFORE you put it out. Do not buy pre-cut cheese. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Fresh cut cheese is a hundred times better than cheese that’s already been cut.
  • Place the cheese out early. Did you know that cheese tastes its absolute best at room temperature? For the tastiest selection of cheeses, let them sit out for about a half hour to 45 minutes before serving. Just keep in mind that food safety rules say it’s okay to leave food out for four hours…so once you hit that four-hour mark, it’s time to bring out fresh cheese. But honestly, cheese wouldn’t sit out for four hours without getting gobbled up, right?
  • Make the platter look full with accouterments. The best way to make a cheese plate look extra appetizing is to add dimension, color, and design by filling it to the brim with some of your favorite accompaniments. I love adding fresh fruit for the bright colors and tasty combination bites of sweet fruit and savory cheese. These strawberries were so stunning, I couldn’t even stop myself from eating a couple before I placed the rest on my platter. The weird square thing? That’s membrillo (quince paste), which is a sweet, fruit-flavored jelly-like substance made from the quince fruit. It looks bizarre but tastes amazing with sharp cheesy flavors. I like to sprinkle fresh nuts throughout a cheese platter as well to really fill it up (plus, I love nuts. Don’t you?).
Look at that beautiful strawberry!

That strawberry is the real deal, y’all. I can’t even with this fruit. And it was picked out for me by the fine team at Peapod.

These are the basic tricks I use to create decadent displays that I share with my friends and family when they visit our home. Sometimes, we even take these snacks on the road with us to bring to a party. Basically, cheese = friends. You’re welcome.

I want to have specialty cheeses delivered to my front door. Click To Tweet

What tips do you have for making a killer cheese plate? Do you have any favorite cheeses or accouterments? Have you ever experienced the unadulterated joy of online grocery shopping?

This post was sponsored by the wonderful people at Peapod, a grocery delivery service that pretty much changed my life. All food pictured above was delivered to my house without a second of me having to go into a grocery store, stand in line, or impulse buy stuff I don’t need. It may have been one of the most magical experiences of my life. There’s nothing quite like cheese getting delivered to your front door. Links used in this post may be affiliate links, which will earn me a commission should you use them to shop for groceries online. While I was compensated to write this post, all opinions expressed are from my own completely unbiased and cheese-obsessed brain.

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!

Halloween is the Fourth Family Holiday

Ten years ago, I was a recent college graduate with an 8-month old godson, and all my Halloween excitement returned from my childhood. This adorable little guy was barely old enough to do anything exciting, but his existence itself was exciting. He would look adorable in a costume and one day procure me all the Almond Joys he could fit in his sack. I envisioned this future long before it came.

It was around this time that my family began celebrating Halloween together again. A tradition was born. Each year, we’d gather with the growing troupe of tiny humans as they trick-or-treated through my aunt’s neighborhood. We’d hand out candy from the house dubbed the most entertaining door to trick-or-treat in the area, and the cackling of my mom and her two sisters could be heard from blocks away (because they set up an outdoor sound system, and someone gave them microphones. Rookie mistake).

A year ago, Brian and I moved into our house one week before Halloween.  It was just, you might say, our housiversary. I trekked to my aunt’s house, while Brian held down the fort, sad because I was afraid this would be my last Halloween with the kiddos. I knew with a house of our own, I’d want to decorate and revel in the joy of our Halloween space. I love throwing parties and I suspected I would want to have people over for Halloween, while I handed out candy to the neighborhood kids.

To my surprise and delight, my aunt informed us all that she was done hosting our family Halloween festivities. She passed me the proverbial torch without my needing to even ask!

All my dreams were coming true.

In just a few short days, my family will head over for a kid-friendly fiesta. Little A (who isn’t so little anymore) already knows that he’s got to find the Almond Joys for Auntie Chrissy. And I’ve got everything I need to mix the slightly scary with the bright and happy for a Halloween Spooktacular that can’t be matched!

Of course, the spider den in my bathroom hasn’t come down, but I did add an extra white light to offset some of the creepy atmosphere. The baby doll massacre is still holding strong in the kitchen,  because the kid in our family don’t scare easily. (Plus they probably won’t even notice amidst the candy overload that is Halloween…)

10 Ideas for a kid-friendly halloween party

Tiny Human Approved (Ish) Decorations

  • Banners and signs. In an effort to brighten the day for some of my favorite tiny humans, Brian and I are going to add a few kid-friendly decorations to our house, like these DIY Happy Halloween flags and Lil Monster flags from Harry & David or some of the foodie signs we found at the dollar store.

Harry and David Halloween banners

  • Previously lit candles with dripped wax. Brian and I have bleeding candles that we previously lit during a romantic candle-lit housiversary dinner in which we dined on a blanket picnic and watched several of the Harry Potter movies. The hot pink “blood” on the candles is just creepy enough to fit our home and just bright enough not to scare anyone.

If you're afraid to light candles when you have a large party, pre-light the bleeding candles so the wax drips down and gives the cool appearance of bleeding candles

  • Black Light Activated Chalk. In our garage, where we keep coolers of drinks, we’re going to set up an area with a black light, because we have chalk that glows in black lighting! Brian wants to write things like “Help Me!” And “Turn back!” How fun would that be?

  • Halloween Village. You’ve likely seen me singing about my Christmas village, but did you know I also have a Halloween village? The Lemax Spookytown collection makes my heart go pitter patter.

My Halloween village (Lemax Spookytown) is my pride and joy of Halloween. I love it more than my Christmas village

  • Pumpkins and witches’ hats. This is one of my favorite little spots in our house. It’s in our dining room, which I’m obsessed with perfecting, and it’s also just adorable in a light-hearted and fun way, that almost makes up for my creepy doll collection.

I love this display of light-up electric pumpkins with witches hats, creepy cloths and fall foliage

Tiny Human Friendly(ish) Treats

  • Halloween Chili. We’ll have our traditional Halloween feast of chili and hot dogs. I’ll be making my homemade turkey chili recipe and Vienna Beef hot dogs in separate Crock Pots. I may even make some fresh cornbread to go with the chili. Or pasta to make chili mac like I did a few Halloweens ago. We’ll see how ambitious I’m feeling.

My homemade turkey and veggie chili is sure to be a hit this Halloween.

  • Puking Pumpkin. I’ll also be making the same guacamole display I created for our adult Halloween party, so it shouldn’t be difficult for Halloween proper. The kids will laugh and Brian’s homemade guacamole is the BEST.
This puking pumpkin is always the hit of the party. I made homemade guac, carved a pie pumpkin, and surrounded it with chips

This puking pumpkin is always the hit of the party. I made homemade guac, carved a pie pumpkin, and surrounded it with chips and a pair of skeleton hands I found at the dollar store.

  • Creepy Face: I’m debating the concept of the really disgusting face I made last year for our party. It’s one of my favorite snacks, Harry & David Pepper Relish with cream cheese, but when you put it on a blank white mask, it looks…horrifying.
Bashed Skull: A plain mask that I got at Michael's painted in cream cheese and covered with jalapeno jam. Serve with crackers. I don't know why, but no one wanted to eat this one.

I called it a bashed skull, though it’s less bashed, really…and more just gross face…Helena on Facebook  said her kid called it a decomposing head, which was awesome.

  • Finger cake. This was easy and fun to make. I just baked a double batch of cake in a large stone baker (because I am slightly lazy and didn’t want to like…make a layer cake or anything tricky), frosted it, and topped it with some candy fingers and gel icing decoration.

This finger cake was easy to make. I baked a double batch of cake, frosted and decorated it.

  • Candy. OMG! These candy brains were the easiest things ever to make. I thought I was being punny and clever making pumpkin brains with pumpkin flavored candy melts and candy molds. I recommend sticking to regular candy melts, FYI.

I love the way these candy brains looked after they came out of the mold

Of course, the taste of those candy melts left me jonesin’ for something a little more delish. Like Harry & David truffles. Drool
Harvest TrufflesRight now, you can enter for a chance to win a $1,000 Harry & David gift card or gourmet Harvest Truffles by playing the Spooky Treats Game.

Offer & Prizes: Register for the chance to win a $1,000 HD gift card, and play the Spooky Treats Game for a chance to be one of three instant winners who will win Harvest Truffles (which are SO freakin’ delicious). There are three instant winners a day for the truffles. There is only ONE $1,000 gift card winner randomly chosen at the end of the giveaway. You can also read the Official Rules here.

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This is a sponsored post on behalf of Harry & David. I was compensated to share the contest and free printables, but never to give my opinion. You get that for free, as always. Additionally, some links in this post are affiliate links and any purchases you make through my links will earn me a small commission. 

What decorations and food do you make for Halloween? Do you celebrate the holiday like us with family and friends? What are your Halloween plans?

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 Got So Drunk, I Swallowed Live Goldfish

When you’re in college, you’ll do anything to be one of the bad asses who can drink like a fish. I think I got that confused with swallowing live fish. They sound really similar, right?

When you're in college, you'll do anything to be one of the bad asses who can drink like a fish. I think I got that confused with swallowing fish.

My first semester of Sophomore year at Bradley University was my most alcoholic semester. It was also my highest GPA semester. Go figure.

Bradley frat parties always trumped ISU frat parties. Where ISU frat parties were selective with their entry, Bradley frat parties welcomed anyone and everyone. Where ISU frat parties were mostly frat guys and select chicks, Bradley frat parties had lots of dudes (not all frat guys) and lots of chicks. Where ISU frat parties were BYOB, Bradley frat parties provided libations to those of age (with wristband proof). And if you knew a guy in the frat, wristbands weren’t hard to come by.

I suppose that’s why Peoria police started cracking down on frat parties at BU pretty hard core as of my Junior year. Lucky for me, I had a fake ID (well, a “real” ID that had someone else’s name on it) by then and was drinking at bars, not parties.

But this was Sophomore year…and Bradley parties were in their prime.

Our little group of friends planned to head over to the SAE party known as Rubber Ducky. Now, SAE at Bradley had a pretty bad rep, but they were loads of fun. I always had a great time when Katie and I would trek over there. Gin and Tonic night is the precise reason why I don’t drink tonic. Ever. Gin and I are still friends, but mix that bitch with tonic and memories of weekday morning hangovers are plentiful. Plus tonic tastes like shit.

So Rubber Ducky. A party in which the frat boys celebrated safety. And ridiculous amusement. A giant bowl of colorfully packaged condoms adorned the front table like a bowl of candy on Halloween. A brother in a duck suit wandered around greeting guests. And a huge baby pool filled with water and goldfish dominated the back yard.

The thing about those goldfish–people swallowed them. Live.

So before we went out, I made Katie, Sheila, and Mark promise promise promise that they would not let me eat a goldfish. They promised. Several lemon drops later, we were on our way to the party.

As soon as we arrived, I ran into Porno Steve, a man who was the single biggest reason for my lush-like freshman year of dare drinking.

Porno Steve yelled to me, “Hey! I’m at a frat party!”  He didn’t do frat parties. Ever. He was the pre-game captain, but never made it to the main event.

“Awesome! What’s goin’ on?”

“You should eat a goldfish!”

“Yes! I should!” I responded immediately. Where was Mark? Where was Katie? Where was Sheila? I didn’t even think. We walked over to the kiddie pool where I squatted down, cupped my hands, reached in, and caught a tiny little fishie. I brought the squirmy fish to my mouth and I downed my first goldfish in one full swoop.

Yes, I said first.

I looked at Porno Steve with drunken, glazed over eyes, searching for admiration, but all he said was, “I didn’t see it! Do it again.”

So I did.

Again, searching for his approval, I looked at him and said, “I did it!”

“I didn’t see it! Do it again!” I was about to reach down into the kiddie pool again, when Mark pulled me up.

“Hey Chrissy, you’ve already done two. He’s full of shit and messing with you. I think you’ve had enough.” Mark reminded me that I didn’t want to do one in the first place. But it was so easy…and I was so drunk.

Then while I was sitting on a bench, Jack, one of the frat brothers that I knew came over, dangling a little goldfish above my face. He held it by its tail fins and I didn’t think. I looked up, opened my mouth, and swallowed the squirmy fish that fell into my throat.

That was the last thing I remember about Rubber Ducky.

The next morning, I was so hung over that I couldn’t even eat potato triangles. And I loved potato triangles.

All I could say to Cletus and Robbie the entire day was, “Poor little fishies.”

What is the craziest thing you’ve done while under the influence? Have you ever swallowed live fish?

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!

Felt Up By a Minion and the Objectification of Male Models

The BlogHer15 Closing Party was something of a shit show.  By that, I mean,  I was hungover from the night before and felt like shit, and there was quite a show.

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Sure, BoyzIIMen stopped by for a 3-song set. When song three played and it wasn’t Motown Philly, I was ready to start throwing things. But they appeased me by rolling right into a fourth number, Motown Philly for the win,  without me needing to throw things or beg for an encore.

 

A video posted by Quirky Chrissy (@quirkychrissy) on

 

 

And yes, Nick Cannon (and I’m still not entirely sure who he is) tore up the house with mostly decent tunes. I didn’t dance all that much (but I was out on account of back pain).

And then there were the minions. They showed up to party with the bloggers, and boy did they get fresh!

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But the real stars of the McDonald’s show at Pier 84 in New York were the dozens of male models Mickey D’s hired to serve us chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers.

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About 30 minutes into the party I started noticing that every single server was a dude. And almost all of them were totally attractive dudes. Sure they were young, and made my “29” years seem older…but they were pretty.

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I mentioned this to some of my friends…and they all looked at me like I was nuts.

Wait, Chrissy, you mean you DIDN’T notice this right away like everyone else?

Well, no, guys. I didn’t.  Upon entering this party, I was on a singular mission,  and that mission was chicken nuggets. I was thinking with my hangover. By 9 pm, the hangover had lifted like the morning fog, and this party took on a whole new world.

A world that involved a lot of ridiculous photography of male models in McDonald’s tee shirts that read I’m  Lovin’ it.

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Me too, McDonald’s.  Me too.

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When I realized what McD’s had done, I was almost afraid to say anything for fear of this being something other than politically correct. And then I didn’t care. Because nothing goes better with chicken nuggets than hot dudes.

They served us food and drinks, removed our trash, and brightened our evening for the one of the best closing parties this girl’s ever been to. I hung out with old friends and new, and reveled in the party at the pier.

The dudes were like the happy meal toys, and I wanted to collect them all. So before the party ended, I raced around the event searching for the servers. It was indeed a happy meal.

And so it was that McDonald’s made nuggets and cheeseburgers sexy by serving them with a side of hunk.

The Men of McDonald's at the BlogHer15 Closing Party really knew how to show us girls a good time.

And not one woman there was complaining about it.

 

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!

How to Make Your Boyfriend Hate You

If you’re new around here, you may want to start The Grown Up Story from the beginning. But you may not, and that’s okay too. This story stands alone.

The Grown Up and I had been dating for approximately a month when I decided to bring him along to a birthday party for a friend of mine, Brad. He was several years my senior-we were celebrating his 30th birthday, and it was kind of a big deal.

My girlfriends and I had spent the previous year hanging out with Brad and his group of friends, drinking, flirting, drinking, drinking, and more drinking. It was a group of hot messes all dealing with their own version of relationship anxiety (each of us were battling our own volatile demons from relationships past), and in order to forget about them, we drank. A lot.

Recipe for disaster - new boyfriend plus bar.

By the time The Grown Up came around, we were all starting to drift to our own spaces and rebuild the worlds that crumbled to bring us together. So I hadn’t actually hung out with this group in a few months. But was anticipating a shit show of a party-one we’d been talking about for a year, and so of course, I RSVPed yes for both The Grown Up and myself.

We arrived for dinner at an upscale bar in the suburbs, where we sat near one of my most lovely, cheerful friends who was SO giddy with excitement to meet The Grown Up. She squee’d and oohed and awwed because he really was smart and wonderful as I had described to her. She told me, as good girlfriends tend to do, I deserved someone this amazing,  and I believed her.

Unfortunately, she would not be joining us for the second half of the evening. And none of my other girlfriends had decided to join us for the epic birthday party to end all birthday parties. So I had a grand total of two actual friends (the birthday boy and his bestie) and several acquaintances to hang out with me and my new boyfriend on a party bus downtown to a bar in Wrigleyville.

Why was I the only one who couldn’t see this was a recipe for disaster?

So we hopped on a party bus, and the Grown Up made quasi friends with some of the guys in the group. If you recall, on our first date he revealed he wasn’t good with people, but it felt like he was doing a pretty damn good job with them from where I was sitting.

When we got to the bar, though, all hell broke loose. There was drinking on the party bus, and then we had a table just off the dance floor reserved for bottle service. For those of you who may not know, bottle service is when they have full bottles of liquor at your table for your group’s consumption. Needless to say, I got pretty fucking drunk. The Grown Up wasn’t a big hard alcohol drinker, so he had a couple of beers, but nothing crazy.

I dragged the poor man on the dance floor and rubbed up on him like a horny college student. We danced with my friends, and some of the girls in the group became my dance floor besties, grinding on each other in a fight to be the sexiest group of girls under the colorful LED lights. We weren’t. The music seemed to get louder, the smoke thickened around us, and the room started spinning. I was there, but I wasn’t.

Eventually, The Grown Up returned to our table. I followed, realizing that I wasn’t being the generous, sweet girlfriend that I wanted to be. He seemed, frustrated, but I didn’t know how to respond. So, I apologized. For what, I don’t even know. Was I apologizing for being drunk? For him not having a good time? For not knowing everyone in our group? For my friends who weren’t entertaining enough for him? I just knew I felt awful. And drunk. And feeling awful and drunk is never a good combination. So  I drank more. I sat down on an elevated booth bench that extended out past the booth and The Grown Up stood in front of me, trying to make conversation over the music. It didn’t work out well.

Somehow, whilst sitting (SITTING) on the booth bench, I managed to fall over. I wish I could tell you how. I really really do. But I couldn’t. And I fell. Off the bench. Onto the floor. Like a complete asshole. I wasn’t even showing off that time. I fell down, and The Grown Up helped me up as I apologized. Again and again. We collected my purse, and the items that had fallen out of it. The Grown Up was growing increasingly frustrated, and we couldn’t just…leave because we had taken a party bus to get there. We were slaves to the party schedule.

We left the dance floor area, and proceeded to sit at a table downstairs, where I continued to apologize profusely for my errors. The Grown Up tried to chat with me, but I could tell that I was irritating him. I thought I was going to start crying right then and there. But I didn’t. I braved through the awkward last 45 minutes with my boyfriend of less than a month and got on the bus. I continued to apologize until the moment I passed out in The Grown Up’s arms on the bus, about 2 minutes into the drive home.

On the drive home, The Grown Up was almost puked on. Someone DID puke, just not on him. Someone almost spilled beer on him. He ended up helping clean the bus a little bit. He gave extra money to the person who organized the party to tip the driver extra. And I slept. Like an asshole. And kept apologizing when I woke up.

We left the bus and The Grown Up drove me home. I was supposed to sleep at his place, but he took me home instead. I panicked. And apologized even MORE.

I was a hot mess. I felt sick to my stomach. I had really fucked things up, this time, I was sure of it. What was I thinking?

The Grown Up told me to go inside and sleep it off, that we’d talk the next day. But I couldn’t understand in my idiot drunken stupor what was going on. Was he breaking up with me? I didn’t know. But I was terrified.

Eventually, I went inside. And cried myself to sleep.

I really hoped he would call the next day.

How do you handle problems when you’re drunk? Have you ever freaked out about your relationship because of something you did or said? What’s the stupidest thing you’ve done while drinking?

Click the image for the final story in the tale of The Grown Up.

I waited a long time for this. And now it's the End of an era

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!

This is What I Get For Showing Off Like an Asshole

Saturday was my birthday. It was also my bloggiversary (insert celebratory birthday and ‘versary music here to commemorate the anniversary of my 29th birthday and the completion of my THIRD year of blogging here on Quirky Chrissy). My blog is a toddler. And what an adorable little toddler she is. She walks, and babbles, and goes to fancy blog conferences where she pretends to be a grown up. My blog is obviously smarter than me.

I know this because on Saturday, after a few celebratory dark beers, a glass of wine and a couple shots of ice cold vodka, I thought it would be a great idea to play yoga with one of my most darling friends (who just completed her yoga teacher training and is, in fact, the reason I began practicing yoga again). Now let me clarify that while I had been drinking, I wasn’t drunk. It was a fucking marathon, and there was a long day of beverages that led to my happy fun yoga time. And snacks. Oh God, so many delicious snacks.

Anyways, several hours into the celebration, we made our way to my front room, cleared a little space, and busted out the most adorable pair of trees. CC had just perfected her handstand and wanted to show off, and I’m just happy to lift my leg to my knee. It was super cute.

Then, of course, I wanted to show off. Here are a couple of the cool brag-worthy things I can do on a normal day with and without assistance:

Quirky Chrissy Yoga

See? This is me, showing off. (Just remember, this is my highlight reel and not my bloopers.)

Here are the bragworthy poses I can do with a dress on:

Yoga Dancer Pose

I love dancer pose. But this is also the pose that got me in trouble.

So, we decided to rock out a double dancer. You may have seen it all over social media. You may have even liked it. What you didn’t see was the pain I’ve been in since I woke up Sunday morning.

I have a really bendy back. It makes me look like more of an advanced practitioner than I actually am. So I can do things like dancer pose, and wheel pose, and king pigeon pose. But (there’s always a but), I usually need a decent warm up to let my muscles bend in such a way that they’ve become accustomed to. Some light stretching before slowly working my way into these very deep poses.

But when there are 15 thousand people in your house, you can’t just bust out a 45-minute practice to take a few pictures. So you jump into a pose, show off your shit and smile at the amazing picture you took with one of your besties. Because she’s an amazing yogi and you want to be just like her when you grow up.

Double Dancer Pose

I mean…it was a pretty adorable photo & all…but I was definitely trying to hold my own and show off with CC by my side. She’s my yogi mentor.

And so, I spent all day Sunday, resting. I slept until 3 pm. I mean, I woke up a couple times and laid in bed and shit…but I was basically in bed until 3. When you get up to go to the bathroom and you can barely bend over to sit down, let alone wipe your own ass without screeching in pain? You go back the fuck to bed. Twice.

I worked from home Monday and Tuesday, resting. With the occasional squeal of pain with one wrong move.

On Tuesday night, I visited Craig, my massage therapist (who also does double duty as an emotional therapist without the fancy degree…basically he listens to my bullshit and tells me when I’m full of it) of almost a decade. After telling me I was an idiot (for the bazillionth time – and he didn’t ACTUALLY call me an idiot…but I know he was thinking it), he spent 90 minutes trying to work out the softball-sized knot in my lower back to some avail. At least he was able to confirm that it was muscle related and not a disc or something. But I kind of have to go into work today. And I’m still in pain. Because I was showing off like a motherfucking asshole.

This is what I get for showing off like an asshole

Lesson learned: Stretching before and after intense yoga asanas is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

So if you see me this weekend, and I offer to show you amazing feats of yogi genius, tell me to sit my ass down and stop trying to show off.

Now, tell me your story of injury, bravado or both, friends? Have you ever done something to show off and totally wrecked yourself in the process?

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!