A playful year of fun and magic

If you’ve been here for a while, you already know I’m not a fan of traditional New Year’s resolutions. A few years ago, I even came up with a monthly list of ways to dominate next year without a typical resolution, which I continually utilize as a guide for success.

Now a lot of people who don’t do traditional resolutions like to choose a grounding word that they use to guide them through the year. I’m not that type of girl. I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-skirt gal, myself. Instead, I choose to label my year as it begins to play out or even at the end of the year. And this year was so perfect, you guys. I mean, not everything goes according to plan and things change and resolutions are hard to follow, but wrapping up your year with a bit of positive energy never hurt anyone.

And so I thought I’d tell you how I categorize my years.

In previous years, I’ve had The Experimental Year, a year of trying different stuff in the world of dating and boys, which was also the year that ended in a chance meeting with a handsome Irishman at a bar. I’ve had the Storytelling Year, in which I asked myself, “Will this make a good story in the morning?” and if the answer was yes, I did it, regardless of whether it was a “good” or “bad” idea. I’ve had good years and weird years and even bad years (like the Year I Didn’t Feel Good Enough; though I also came away smarter and more ready to tackle the world than ever before). And I always try to find the positive spin to the end of the year instead of wishing it away like just another fucking zit. (Side note: I hesitated in linking the aforementioned piece because there was a surprising amount of backlash to it. And that backlash made me want to stop writing, but I won’t self-censor any longer because that post wasn’t specifically about 2016. It was about every year.)

I take the biggest changes, most exciting adventures, and my highlight reel and try to find an underlying theme. This year started shaping itself before I even realized it was shaping. And it all started with a fake resolution.

I play games

At the beginning of this year, I thought I’d be cheeky and come up with a ridiculous New Year’s resolution. I made three. Two of which I’ll actually hit. 

  1. Play 365 games
  2. Play 100 DIFFERENT games (so that some of those 365 could be repeats)
  3. Play at least 25 different games that we own and have never played

Number one…that one is probably not going to happen. Unless we can play like 200 games in the next 3 days. Doubtful. But that’s okay. I had fun.

Number two…I have six more games to play. MUCH more doable.

Number three…DONE. Well, at least we made it through several of our untouched boxes (of course, we also bought a few new games…)

Silly resolution aside, gaming was a good start to a truly magical year.

I played in a Dominion Tournament at GenCon. I lost, but I had lots of fun!

I played in a Dominion Tournament at GenCon. I lost, but I had lots of fun!

I play with video

I’ve been dabbling with some different video styles on YouTube. I started a few things that could absolutely become the first of their own series (C-Rex Adventures, 60 Seconds of Chrissy), but we’ll have to see where 2019 takes us! It’s all in good fun which, for me, is super important. I can’t take myself too seriously, guys.

T-rex costume reaches for a ball at the bowling alley

I play dress up

In March, I took on something called The Disneybound Challenge. Every march, an Instagrammer/Blogger runs an Instagram photo challenge for people who DIsneybound (for those of you not in the know, this means dressing like Disney characters, something I apparently have a knack for. I nailed it for 31/31 days and continued to play dress up throughout the year (today, I’m wearing an outfit inspired by Moana’s Hei Hei).

This is a Disneybound of Olaf. The "buttons" are actually Olaf disney trading pins.

This is a Disneybound of Olaf. The “buttons” are actually Olaf disney trading pins.

I play pretend

In April, I began training at The Second City Training Center. In March, I’ll finish a year of improvisation and “graduate” from the A-E improv program at SCTC. Since August, I’ve performed in eleven shows (all student shows, but performances on Second City small stages nonetheless), with at least seven more shows before March comes to an end. When you’re improvising, you’re basically doing what small children do in free play — you make up stories. Sometimes you’re the mom. Sometimes you’re the baby. Sometimes you’re an accountant named Stan. But always, you should be having fun playing with your castmates and classmates.

Level D show photo from Second City Training Center Chicago

These crazy kids (a few of my SCTC loves are missing from this photo) give me life, you guys. This is one of the best things I’ve done for myself. And I’ve been saying that a lot lately.

I play house

Sometimes, I even pretend to be a grown up with my Grown Up. We have a really neat house that I have spent a lot of time in this year (thanks to the job quitting and the new puppy). I may make a terrible housewife, and I’m a horrible housekeeper, but I am good at playing house. You know. Pretending to be good at those things. On social media. And when we host parties. But definitely not in real life. There are rooms in my house where the clutter goes to die. I’m trying to fix that, but it’s a lot harder to get rid of clutter than I thought.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Quirky Chrissy (@quirkychrissy) on

I play with my hair

After years of planning and scheming, Kaitlyn and I finally took the plunge and dyed my hair hot pink. (Kaitlyn is my incredible stylist. She’s pure magic). We started with a super sweet gentle pink, and now it’s this hot pink, bold AF shade that I cannot get enough of. I’m never* looking back.

This poor man. I fangirled John Grogan so hard I cried. He is, though, one of the writers that made me want to be a writer, so I think a little obnoxious fangirling was to be expected.

This poor man. I fangirled John Grogan so hard I cried. He is, though, one of the writers that made me want to be a writer, so I think a little obnoxious fangirling was to be expected.

I play with puppysaurus rex

Adopting a puppy was one of the craziest things we did this year. Not only did this furball full of love and ENERGY enter our world, she dominated it. There is something magical about a creature that wakes up with the sun and says, “It’s time to play!” She naps when she’s tired and wants to play the other 77% of the day. This is a lifestyle I can get behind. Now if only her version of play was the same as mine. Unfortunately, two black lips and a few deep scratches later, we’ve learned the importance of training our sweet girl (but we always train with games and play and toys and treats instead of negative consequences. And boy does she love toys and treats! (I think I may have spent more on Nia’s Christmas than Brian’s…don’t tell Brian).

A sleeping puppy on your tummy is probably one of the greatest things ever.

A sleeping puppy on your tummy is probably one of the greatest things ever.

I play Disney (and that other park with Harry Potter [ and that OTHER park with Bugs Bunny])

After immersing myself so heavily in Disney Instagram, I became obsessed with needing to get back to the parks. I wanted to knock Dapper Day off my bucket list and asked my pal Laura if she wanted to go. When she said yes, I booked a hotel for November and started planning. When my cousin invited Brian and me to visit Universal Studios with him and his wife in October, it sealed a deal I made in my head. I was going to get an annual pass to Walt Disney World. (If you go more than once, the price of the pass is worth it (especially with added discounts and perks and such). I was lucky and able to use credit card points to reimburse my Disney pass purchase, so it was essentially “free” in my head, which makes it all the more logical. To me. And so I visited the happiest place on earth twice in a matter of two months, catching both the Halloween and Christmas seasons. And then…just for fun…because it’s close to home and the season pass was so cheap…we got season passes for Six Flags (Great America, but we can go to any of them with the pass). I guess I’m kind of a theme park addict…

Magic Kingdom Disney Photopass hub grass Cinderella Castle

Playing on the hub grass in front of Cinderella Castle seemed like a great idea.

And so with that, I give you Chrissy’s Year of Play. In which I truly embraced my inner child and let her help me find the joy I need to live this life and take the next steps on my journey. Being a creative is hard. Being an empath is FUCKING hard. Learning how to free yourself to determine your path? So hard. But so worth it. I honestly believe that my role in this world is to bring joy and laughter and share that light with you. And so when you see me behaving like a kid in a candy store with a light-up skirt and hot pink hair, remember that we all have a part to play. This is mine.

*I reserve the right to change my mind on the “never” at any time. 

If you could put a theme to your year, what would it be? What are your highlights from 2018?

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!

Quirky style: An accidental style maven

In the last few years, I’ve really started honing and owning my own sense of style. A couple weeks ago, at my brother-in-law’s wedding, I realized that it’s kind of a thing I’m proud of, and it’s definitely a thing that Brian is proud of. So I’m learning to love this part of myself.

The night of my brother-in-law’s rehearsal, we had drinks at the faaaaancy hotel bar (the hotel that Beyonce and Jay Z were staying in), walked the city a bit, and had dinner at a lovely restaurant.

“I think I missed the dress code,” I told Brian. “The other people are all city chic, and I’m over here rocking the Chrissy pink.”

Chrissy disneybounding as Mrs. Hopps in front of Toy Story Land display at Disney Social Media Moms On the Road Conference

This was at the Magical Disney Social Media Moms on the Road Celebration. I was Disneybounding as Mrs. Hopps from Zootopia. It’s also the dress I wore to the rehearsal dinner with even pinker hair.

“Isn’t that the point?”

Two minutes later, a stranger walking past us complimented my pink on pink on pink ensemble. “I like your…pinkness!”

“See? You get random compliments from strangers!” And, to my utter surprise, it wasn’t the last compliment of the night.

I thought about it for a second. And he’s so right. For years, I’d ask his opinion of something I was planning to wear — whether it was rainbow tie-dye yoga pants or a Minnie Mouse onesie — and his response is always, “Well, it’s not something I would wear, but I think it’s really cool that you do.” And then he’d realize he was supposed to say, “It looks really good,” and he’d say that too.

Chrissy dancing on a bench with pink hair and a yellow dress

I bought myself a tripod so I could play around with photo shoots by myself. It wasn’t my worst decision ever.

Ever since I was a small child, I’ve been drawn to bright colors — pinks, teals, greens, yellows — and bold patterns – it is known that I have a thing for polka dots. But I’ve also been drawn to self-doubt, self-preservation, insecurity, envy, and other non-desirable traits. But the more I step into my own skin, the skin I’ve had for 35 years that isn’t going anywhere, the more I accept who I am and that how I dress is a part of that.

Chrissy wearing a brightly colored patterned dress in front of a willow tree and a lake

Bold patterns? Rainbows? Bright colors? Check Check Checkity Check.

Several people (a friend who’s known me for years and one of my brothers-in-law included) have recently mentioned something about me appearing comfortable in my style. Since dying my hair hot pink, it’s as if I’m more me than I’ve been since I was a child. Even before that, I began embracing a hobby called Disneybounding, in which I dress up as characters from Disney cartoons, movies, and even theme park attractions. It gives me the freedom, encouragement, and PERMISSION to dress like a “Polish war bride.”

Chrissy in tamatoa Disneybound outfit in front of a mural wall

This is one of my favorite Disneybound outfits to date: Tamatoa! I am planning to bring it with me on my next Disney World trip!

It’s funny, because I used to essentially wear pajamas to work, and now that I work at home, I find myself getting dressed up more than I have in years. I even wear makeup regularly (thank God for Julep)! I’m having fun playing with bold colors and unique combinations of patterns and styles. I’m matching things that 10-year-old me would have rocked and 25-year-old me would have mocked.

Chrissy wearing an orange dress and green scarf with yellow sneakers for an Orange Bird Disneybound.

This was an Orange Bird Disneybound that I was really excited about.

I wanted to provide my top tips on how to create your own style and own your style. It’s surprisingly easy when you figure out what makes you happy.

How to own your style

  1. ABOLISH all beliefs or rules of style. They don’t own you. They limit you. White after Labor Day? PSHA. White is for any day (except when drinking red wine on an airplane…)! Wheelie sneakers and light-up clothes after age 10? Roll on with your bad self. Stripes and polka dots together? It’s a thing. I swear. Seriously, though. Who came up with those style rules anyway? Forget them and make your own rules!
  2. TRY different styles and combinations and see how they make you feel. Go into an actual store and use the dressing room or order from Amazon, who provides free return shipping. Forget looking at fashion magazines and Pinterest. Make your own combinations.
  3. DISCOVER what makes you happy. For me, it’s hot pink and teal. It’s dressing like Disney characters. It’s bold patterns and rainbows and happy colors. It’s remembering what it’s like to be a kid again. For others, it may be band tee-shirts that have been collecting dust since you got a big-girl job. Or geek skater dresses. Or leggings as pants. Or black goth dresses. Or hippy chic boho skirts. Or fancy pantsuits. Take the time to figure it out.
  4. DONATE old clothes that don’t serve you well. If you try something on or wear it for a day and feel the slightest bit uncomfortable in what you’re wearing (and I don’t mean that it’s too tight. You want to feel like YOU in your clothes), it’s time to say goodbye.
  5. SWAP with friends. I’ve had several friends who have either lost weight, gained weight, or cleared out their closets, and they’ve shared their clothes with me and other friends. And I’ve done the same on several occasions. It’s actually really fun to see your past style as someone’s future look. Believe me, it’ll give an outfit new life.
  6. SMILE. Be confident in who you are and what you’re wearing. For me, it’s not about what’s in and out of fashion, it’s what makes me happy, confident, and comfortable. You’re the only you that’s ever going to be. So make your you stand out.

Take the Brave Pretty Challenge.

So what I’m really just saying here? Own the heck out of you. Wear and be and do what makes you happy. Spread joy. I want to know what your style is like. What are some of the things you love to wear?

 

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!