How I ended up in the worst neighborhood in Orlando

It had been a busy week of anxiety and blog conference nonsense. Work was stressing me out to the max. I was in the middle of a month of travel (15 out of 26 days, to be exact), having returned from Vegas two days prior to my Orlando departure, and the exhaustion was starting to wear on me. But I was finally having a magical night thanks to some friends and a fabulous twinkle skirt. We were closing down the BlogHer dance party, and some of those friends got together at the end of the evening and said, “You know what, gang? This just isn’t doing it for us. Let’s get outta here and do something crazy!”

I believe it was Mary who suggested we hit up a local private-room karaoke bar that she had googled. It was only a 5-minute Uber from the hotel we were staying at. I hemmed and hawed something about needing to wake up for an early morning press trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but in the end, I decided that I needed a “Yes!” moment. And so I said yes. I went up to change out of my now sweaty AF skirt and finish packing for my flight the next day.

We met down in the lobby a half hour later, and I hailed the car that would take Mary, Kristen, Lea, Brea, and me on quite the adventure.

We had been driving for about 7 minutes when I looked at the map on my Uber app. “Hey uhh, guys…I don’t think this is quite as close as we think it is. We’re still about 35 minutes out…”

It was at this point that we thought it might be best to ask the driver about our destination, an address on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando.

“Is the area we’re going to an okay part of the city?”

The driver gave a vague answer, at best, but he was hinting that it wasn’t really the best area for a group of women set to arrive just before 11 pm. We kept probing, spending the next half hour debating whether to turn around and find a different bar to spend the evening. By the time we arrived at Q Karaoke, we noticed the area was definitely the type of place we wouldn’t want to find ourselves stranded on a rainy night. Very desolate, few businesses open, and the ones that were closed were barred up. The bar itself was in the middle of an empty-looking strip mall with the neon lights of an exotic clothing store at the helm. The driver offered to take us back to our hotel, but we persevered.

one-way street sign

We decided to scope the place out. A few of us went inside, asked about prices and took note of the surroundings. It seemed innocuous enough, and so we opted to stay…until 1:30 in the morning. As shady as it seemed, we had A BLAST. Our little gang of singers had an unbelievable time busting out some of the most ridiculous and amazing karaoke tunes that we could muster. If you’ve never tried private-room karaoke, I highly recommend it. The lights flashing and the room jiving was everything. If my twinkle skirt didn’t make me feel alive this adventure sure did.

As we called our next Uber for the ride home, we were flying high on adrenaline and friendship. A night that surely wouldn’t be forgotten. When our driver arrived to pick us up, he seemed surprised to be collecting 5 30-something-year-old women, and we, of course, asked him about our location. He pointed out a few things that we had missed on our way in (a woman who was likely a prostitute, different establishments, etc) and told us that they called this stretch of road the OBT, known for the violence and crime rates. He even mentioned a recent murder that had occurred.

Welp. We survived that one, guys. 

We made our way safely back to the Hilton and hugged goodbye to each other until our next adventure. I proceeded to ask my next two Uber drivers about the OBT, and both were as surprised as anyone that we were hanging out down there. My driver on the way to the airport just shook his head and smirked like I was crazy.

I love saying yes to adventure.

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!

My Kitchen Window – Where Everything Goes to Die, Including Creepy Baby Dolls

In this year’s edition of Chrissy’s fucked-up Halloween decor…

Dolls are creepy. Like, on a scale of one to terrifying, they top the charts. When I used to work haunted houses, I always wanted to build a room that was all creepy baby dolls. So this year, when I started planning OUR haunted house, I knew that baby dolls would play a role. I would love to have a collection of creepy zombie babies like the one below, but I was on a tighter budget than that would allow.

Zombie Baby DecorSevered Zombie Baby Head PropEvil Baby Prop with KnifeEvil Baby Prop with Teddy BearDemonica The Undead BabySpinning Head Possessed Baby
These guys are all on my dream list. Instead, I thrifted and garage sailed for some of the most terrifying dolls.

I thrifted for creepy dolls that I would use for Halloween

My criteria was simple. I was looking for eyes that stare you down. Dolls with easy-to remove limbs. Talking dolls that say things like “I’m sleepy,” which sounds like “I’m creepy.” Horrifying giggles.

Then, I had to really think about what I wanted to do with them. We all know I’m twisted as fuck when it comes to Halloween. I turned our apartment bathroom into a murder scene. I made a hanging dead body wrapped in spider webs (just wait until I show you what I did with the body this year!) in our stairwell. I love elaborate and disgusting decor. It’s a thing. So I started pinning all the baby dolls to my Halloween party board.

I finally sat down to start painting…and this guy happened.

I ran out of white paint to make this doll more grey/blue...and he turned into a creepy blue zombie babyI used a combination of blue, purple, black and white acrylic paints from my art box to create this ghostly blue color. I wanted to make him a little bit grey/bluer, but I ran out of white paint…and he turned into a creepy blue zombie baby. My friend Lily thought he needed a little more oomph, but I never did get time to add to him…

I was busy working on the other dolls…

I decided to make a lot of bloody, creepy doll parts, using the blue doll as the cannibal leader doll, a few full size dolls and a lot of doll parts.I decided to make a lot of bloody, creepy doll parts, using the blue doll as the cannibal leader doll, a few full size dolls and a lot of doll parts. For the blood, I used crimson red, yellow, and black paints mixed together.

When I sent Lily a text picture asking if I took it too far…she thought it was fantastic and took the thoughts out of my head with additional scene details. Her boyfriend was less impressed.

Halloween texts about creepy baby dolls

Then, it was time to decide where and how I wanted to display these doll parts. I have this really fantastic kitchen window, which is awesome for decorative accents, but terrible for plants (even if that’s what it’s designed for). Mostly, because I did not inherit my mom’s green thumb and I refer to this window as the place where things go to die. Honestly, our whole house/yard/property is where plant things go to die, but that’s another story for another day.

And so it was decided that I would create an eerie scene of cannibal dolls and the parts they left behind.

A scene of creepy cannibal baby dolls and bloody doll partsOf course, the best way to add even more creepiness is to use lighting. Our kitchen and family room were lit with a green glow that illuminated a lot of our home, but the babies needed something a little darker. So we put a red light above the sink to radiate around the dolls.

The green glow from the house and the red illumination from the light over the sink made these creepy baby dolls in kitchen window even worseThe green glow from the house and the red illumination from the light over the sink made these creepy baby dolls in kitchen window even worse than without the lighting. When we had people over last week, they were either horrified or impressed. I suppose that’s pretty normal.

What creepy things do you do for Halloween? What’s the most screwed-up thing you’ve done as a decoration? Would you make these creepy dolls or buy some of the zombie babies I showed you above?

Some links used in this post are affiliate links and will earn me a small commission so I can keep spending money on the important things…like Halloween decorations.

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.

image

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!

image

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.

image

Me too, McDonald’s.  Me too.

image

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!

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

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

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

Throw an awesome housewarming party

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

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

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

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

Decor

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

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

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

dice and trvial pursuit

Food

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

BBQ weenies

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

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Gratuitous cheese photo

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

Dessert

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

Domino Brownies

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

mint chocolate chip cookie barsDrinks

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

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

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

Tours

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

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

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

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

The Best New Year’s Eve. Ever.

I debated internally whether to have a politically charged Fiscal Cliff Bullshit post directed at the United States government or to have a fun New  Year’s Eve post to make my readers laugh. Lucky for you, I chose the latter.

Of course, when I say the best New Year’s Eve, I’ll bet you’re thinking some hoity toity event. Or a gathering of my closest friends. Or even hanging out with family. But it’s not.

New Year’s Eve has always been pretty high expectation, low outcome in my book. When I was a kid, the parents owned a bar…so we ALWAYS had babysitters. First it was Vicky. Then her younger brother Mark. Vicky was cool. Mark was a douche canoe.

Mark would throw parties and smoke weed in our house. Mark and his friends would eat all of my hard earned caramel delight cookies in one sitting. Mark sent my cousins and brother and I to bed at 11 on New Year’s Eve.

Sometimes, it would be my Gram that watched us. Sometimes we would go to my best friend, Kelly’s house and her mom would watch us. Always, though, Mom and Dad would try to make it as fun as possible for us without being there. They’d buy the sparkling grape juice and plastic champagne glasses to send with us. They’d give us noise makers and headgear. They’d make platters of shrimp cocktail and cheese with crackers. They’d try really really hard to make it awesome. And for us kids, it totally was.

But as I got older, expectations got higher…and the outcomes dwindled. In middle school, my brother and his best friend watched a South Park marathon, while I whined that I wanted to watch something that wasn’t ridiculously stupid. In high school my brother and I co-hosted a party…OK that was pretty awesome. A bunch of straight-laced high school kids on New Year’s Eve not even attempting to drink alcohol? I know you’re probably thinking what planet did this girl grow up on? But it’s true. We were Stepford Children.

After that, it was mostly downhill.My freshman year of college, I spent New Year’s Eve weekend trapped in a cabin in the middle of nowhere Indiana as the only single non-pot smoking girl with a large group of stoner couples with no phone reception, no television, no books, a lot of booze, and the only DVD they brought was the worst movie ever made: Dumb and Dumber (an apt title.)

I spent New Year’s Eve in New Orleans one year. It was like a 16 block square mosh pot. And I needed to pee. And I hate crowds. We watched the ball drop, then went back to our hotel and played MASH with our new-found friends/fraternity brothers (Alpha Phi Omega) until 4 in the morning…after I peed in the hotel lobby men’s room.

I spent New Year’s Eve in Denver one year, again for an APO national convention. It was okay. I kissed a boy from Texas at midnight. Despite his awesome accent…he wasn’t a great kisser. Let’s just say things aren’t always bigger/better in Texas.

Parties with friends seemed un-fun. I stopped getting excited about the “holiday” and started calling it amateur night. I had boyfriends during several New Year’s Eves…and guess what? None of them ever wanted to be there to kiss me at midnight. It was depressing, to say the least. The Ethiopian. The Bartender. Both were boyfriends who had nothing better to do, but refused to spend time with me on a holiday almost as much designed for making non-couples or girls in bad relationships feel bad as Valentine’s Day.

So in 2010, after a VERY exhausting year, I managed to have the greatest New Year’s Eve in the history of ever. The year that I accidentally fell into the presidency of my local Jaycees chapter. The year that I student taught. The year that I had no job, but worked harder than I ever had in my entire life.

The night before, I had pulled an all-nighter with some really amazing friends. We had drunkenly discussed re-playing the same evening over the next night, as none of us had New Year’s plans. My bestie, Lily, and some of our near and dear ones planned to do it all over again. But the next day, New Year’s Eve, we were all exhausted. And hungover.

I went home. Lily went home. We slept all day. When I woke up, I called Lily. She was still sleeping, so Mom and I went out to dinner. Dad was driving a limo at the time, so he was out of commission most of the night. Mom and I had a wonderful dinner. We came back to the house, and Buck, the bad dog, had consumed a pound of chocolate truffles. Oh great. Our dog is going to die. My mom started crying, and I started Googling.

“He’ll be fine mom. Seriously. He’s a big dog. He’ll probably just get sick.”

I called Lily again. She had just woken up. Going over to our friends’ was now out of the question. We were so over drinking. Here’s how the conversation went:

Lily: *moan* What’s up, Pookie?

Me: We going over to Jenna’s?

Lily: I don’t think so. I called her a bit ago and she feels like shit.

Me: Yeah. Me too. Wanna come over and watch movies?

Lily: Nah…you could come over here.

Me: Nah. I don’t want to leave the house.

Lily: Me neither.

Me: We had our party night. Maybe I’ll just go to bed early.

Lily: Shit, that’s my plan.

Me: OK. Happy New Year, Pookie.

Lily: You too, Pookie.

A while later, my girlfriend Hilary called and asked me whether I wanted to go to her party. I opted out, because I was playing Mario Kart on the Wii and had no intentions of doing anything else. And for 4 straight hours…I played Mario Kart. Like it was a regular old night. And it felt good. No one was calling me to ask questions or because some drama had happened in the Jaycees that I had to deal with. I wasn’t grading papers. Or working. Or surrounded by people I didn’t want to be surrounded by. I was just relaxing.

And then it was almost midnight. I turned off Mario Kart to watch the ball drop. Yelled up to my mom to see if she wanted to come down. She didn’t. My dad stopped home for a few minutes (they were always together at midnight). At exactly 12:00, several things happened all at once.

1. The ball dropped.

2. The dog vomited an exorbitant amount of liquid chocolate right. In front. Of my face. Seriously, he was 3 feet in front of me. I almost threw up watching it.  My dad, the amazing dad that he is, managed to clear the nasty puddle from the living room, while Buck looked at us, sad and confused.

3. I received the best text ever from Hilary, who was also a local Jaycees president: “Congratulations on surviving your year as president. We are so done!” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Relief washed over me as I was no longer in charge. I was no longer responsible. I was free.

4. I resumed playing Mario Kart while a flurry of texts and phone calls made their way to my phone.

No drama. No drinking. No driving. No bullshit. The lowest maintenance New Year’s Eve I’ve ever had. It was fantastic.

I suppose I can’t end this post without saying that last year was the first time I had someone that I really wanted to kiss at midnight…and he wanted to kiss me right back. And this year, I’ll again be spending the evening with him. And our friends. Relaxing and playing board games. As it should be.

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

You’re Not a Badass Unless…

You’re not a badass unless…
You can do a shot of vodka chased with a saltine chaser.
 
You’re not a badass unless…
You can do a shot of vodka without the saltine.
 
You’re not a badass unless…
You can do a shot of vodka and six more immediately following.
 
You’re not a badass unless…
You can do seven shots of vodka followed by a shot of Ten High Whiskey.
 

Freshman year of college, I was determined to be the baddest of all asses when it came to boozin’. I realize now that this was not the smartest goal that one should go into their college years with, but I was 18 and looking to prove something to anyone.

Cue Porno Steve and all I was looking for in drunken encouragement. He repeatedly tested my drunken daring, by provoking me into doing really stupid shit like swallowing a live goldfish. Mostly with drinking a whole lot of vodka. He also tried to get me to show him my boobs, but that never did happen.

At Bradley, Calling Out Weekend, which was held in the first month of school, was the time when all of the frats and sororities chose their people. This meant very little to our group of friends, other than the fact that it was like opening day for the party season. The Greeks would all get wasted and throw some killer parties. My very first frat party! I was stoked. In fact, one of my best friends from high school was visiting from ISU. Elizabeth, Katie, Sheila, and I spent hours getting ready to go, but were still able to start pre-gaming by 8. We made our way over to Geisert 8 to meet up with Mama Missy and the gang.

It was on Geisert 8 that I introduced Elizabeth to Porno Steve. The dares got higher.

You’re not a badass unless…
You can chug Aristocrat (Aristocrap) Vodka from the handle.
 

Oh Sure, what the hell!? It was at this point that I introduced Elizabeth to vodka. As it turns out, vodka became her drink of choice as well.

Chug Chug Chug!

So after pre-gaming like rockstars, we made our way to the frat scene. There was a brief drunken cry (OK, maybe a little more than brief) that Katie still teases me about, when Elizabeth revealed some secrets she had kept from me. This is what vodka does. It lulls you into a sense of false, yet warm and fuzzy, security; then it whacks you down with truth telling and overly emotional behavior.

No worries, though, because just as fast as vodka pulls you down, another swig can lift you up. After some parties, we stopped over at our dorm to grab another beverage, and were greeted by the Bradley police, The Residence Halls Association, and a few other choice “grown ups.”

Ruh Roh Raggy.

It appeared to be a sobriety testing facility that we had walked in on…and we were defo not sober. The Director of our hall came over and explained the situation.

“We are doing sobriety tests for freshman. This is just for a study we’re doing. You can choose to participate or not participate. No one will get in any trouble. Would you be interested in joining?”

“HELL YES!” Maybe I was a little overly excited.

I touched my nose, I followed the light, I sang the alphabet, I walked the line, and I blew into a breathalizer.

I wish I could tell you how drunk I was, but the number has since left my brain. I know that I was over the “legal limit,” but hey…I wasn’t driving.

Proudly Blowing Since 2001

They posted the results on a big poster in the hall, that everyone could see. Of course, I think it had an opposite effect to what they were hoping. I’ll never forget seeing the girl with the highest level of intoxication and her pride, showing off to others and pointing to her name. I’m not going to lie… I was jealous.

What dares would you take on after a few cocktails? Did you ever breathalize when you were underage? What was your freshman year of college like?

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

A Family Born on Geisert 8

Melisa, AKA Mama Missy, burst into our lives like a rainbow out of the clouds on a storm-filled afternoon. Her vivacious energy was like a magnet. I think that I can safely say that Penny, Sheila, and I would not be the same without her.

After my parents moved me into my U-Hall freshman dorm room, with a tearful goodbye (my mom’s tears; not mine), I was free! No parents until Fall Break! Brilliant. So, of course, I had to call home everyday just to say “Hi.”

Every morning, it was the same routine. Wake up, call mom, live college life, sleep. Every morning, mom would ask, “So, did you get drunk last night?” Every morning (for the first few days, at least, I would say, “Nope. Not yet, mom.” Of course, that was before I was reacquainted with Penny.

After our decision to be drinking buddies, I took it upon myself to bring my old pal from high school (the sophomore) into the mix. I had met him and his cute roommate (who ended up becoming one of my very best friends, Mark) for lunch earlier in the week, and I knew that they could get us the “hook up” with the Bradley party scene.

So I instant messaged Joe, and asked what he was up to that evening. It was a Friday, after all, and the weekend had just begun. He invited Penny and I over (Penny would eventually become the secret crush of a bazillion of our friends without ever having a clue that they loved her) for an evening of drinking on Geisert 8. Yes. Geisert 8. That’s where I somehow became cool. Mark and Joe had a mini-fridge full of (OK, they had a six-pack of) Mike’s Hard Lemonade to share. After one drink Penny and I were giggly and smiley.

Just as we were running out of drink options, a quick knock-turned-open-door welcomed a loud and sassy blond with a sparkly shirt, a huge cup of something, and an even bigger back pack.

“Hello boys!” she cried in an adorably central Illinois “southern” accent. She zoned in on Penny and I and introduced herself. I’m Melisa, but everyone here calls me Missy. Who are you, ladies?”

Joe interjected and introduced us, “This is my friend Chrissy from high school and her friend Penny. They’re freshman.”

“Oh my God! How cute!” From anyone else, this might have seemed patronizing, but from Missy, it seemed genuine. I’m not sure what went through her brain but she took us on as a project. We would later find out that we were her second project of that first week of school. “What are you girls drinking?”

We giggled and spoke in unison, “Mike’s Hard Lemonade.”

“But it’s almost gone!” Penny confided in her.

“Oh goodness, don’t worry about that.” Missy whipped her backpack around propped it on the desk. She pulled out 2 strange bottles in addition to a bottle of Aristocrat vodka and a bottle of Diet 7Up. She explained the unknown bottles first, “This is Boone’s Farm. It’s fucking awesome. Here. Try it.” She popped open the first bottle,Fuzzy Naveland passed it to Penny then me.

“Damn! That’s delicious!” I told her.

“I know, right?!” Missy opened the other bottle, Strawberry Hill, which was equally as delicious. “Enjoy, ladies.” Missy sat down with us and started chatting, telling us her college life story, and asking for ours (well, about the first week anyways).

By the end of the night, Missy was showing us how to properly mix a cocktail by using your hands to twist the cup back and forth, just right. We had learned about Boone’s Farm, the oh-so-important bar bag, and why we should drink Diet 7Up with our vodka instead of regular 7Up (We don’t want the freshman 15 to become the freshman 45). Penny and I, giggly as we were, decided that Missy would be forever known as Mama Missy. We also thought that Joe needed a title since he was the one who brought us all together. Papa Joey, it was.

And so our little family was created.

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 Turned 23? Are You Sure?

My 23rd birthday was kind of a blur. And by that, I mean that I drank myself into a stupor long before my party started.

Less than a year out of college, and my pal Mark and I were stoked that Daddy gave me a keg for my birthday. So excited, in fact, that Mark came over 3 hours before the party started to help me tap the keg.

Of course, with a big keg like that, we couldn’t just let it sit there. So we started drinking…

A few hours later, my first set of guests arrived. The party was essentially an open house pool party, in which guests came and went, swam or didn’t, drank, ate (I think), and enjoyed the merriment. When the first set of guests arrived, I was, at least, still coherent.

As this was long before my catering days, and my experience with being a good hostess including offering a variety of booze for my guests to sample, I had made a fancy fruity punch, but didn’t really have a lot in the way of food. We had burgers and hot dogs from Flaherty’s (my family’s bar), but not much else. Mark was in charge of grilling.

You can see where this is going.

So we did get hungry, and made some burgers and dogs for everyone at about 2:30… but that was the last I remember regarding food.

The party started hoppin’ and I ended up in the pool. Instead of continuing with the beer drinking, I switched to Vodka. Let me tell you right now. Vodka and the sun do. not. mix. ever. Also, never let other people make your drinks. I believe that I was drinking Vodka and club soda, and boy were there strong.

By about 4:30 (I’m told), Mark was passed out in my bed. I followed shortly, though my passing out happened on the bathroom floor.

I woke up several hours later, to discover a slew of new guest arrivals in my living room, others outside in the pool, and me groggy with a hint of drunkover (the point where you’re still drunk, but feeling the hangover).

After conversing with the guests, I discovered several who had come and gone during my ‘party break’ time. Those remaining were the out-of-town guests who came up to party with me…Of course, I was a mess and certainly done drinking. But the way I see it, it’s better than the 22nd birthday, in which two friends showed up, and we went to see Ratatouille (OK that was cool in its own right).

sigh

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!