Tabletop gaming gift guide for every budget and gamer level

Got a gamer in your life who needs some sweet board games? Buying for “grown ups” who never want to grow up? Not sure what to get your teenager? Want to get started in board gaming and have no clue where to start? I’ve got you covered. From backstabbing games I love to inexpensive games that make great stocking stuffers, I can totally help. And if you want more suggestions…feel free to ask questions or tell me about your gift recipient. I’m sure I can help you find the right game for him or her!

As a disclaimer, I’m also here to inform you that any purchases made from my links may earn me a small commission at no cost to you. That commission helps me continue this writing journey with a fully stocked cheese drawer. So thank you for sticking around. Brian says “thank you” too.

Tabletop gaming gift guide 25+ board game gift ideas for every budget

Tabletop games I just adore

I love playing games, you guys. These are some of the ones I’ve been playing a lot of.

Cash ‘N Guns (Asmodee — $27)

This game is stupid amounts of fun you guys. We like to play with accents to fit the characters. You’re all mobsters, but you want to get as much money for yourself as possible, so you’re trying to kill off the other guys. Lots of bluffing, big wins, and FOAM GUNS. Need I say more?

Above and Below (Red Raven Games — $35)

This is one of my new favorite games. I received it as a Redditgifts gift last year, and it has seriously been such an awesome game to play. It’s got a lot of little details, but the best of them is that it’s a storytelling/choose your own adventure game! You’re building a little village both above and below the surface, but to go below, you need to experience an encounter, based on the roll of your dice. The encounters are found in a story book and each one can reward or punish you based on your answers and how successful you are at the task (rolling dice). It is truly so much fun to play, I would recommend this to anyone and everyone who loves storytelling!

Oregon Trail: Journey to Willamette Valley (Pressman Toy — $40)

We went into this game unsure whether it would be more of a classic board game or a more intense strategy game, and we were super stoked to find a really fantastic strategy game that was enjoyable and had a lot of replayability. Additionally, the added theming of a classic from my childhood gave me that nostalgia my generation craves without riding solely on the nostalgia wave. Brian, who wasn’t an Oregon Trail kid—and also is a very serious gamer) really enjoyed it and has confirmed that he will happily play it again, because he has some strategy ideas he wants to try out.

Mice and Mystics (Plaid Hat Games — $60)

This game is near and dear to my heart. Brian and I play it together when it’s just the two of us. It’s our date game. The entire game is a connected campaign with a fantastic storytelling element that weaves through the plot. There are a number of “chapters” which can be played as standalone games. We have made it all the way through the initial game and moved on to the first of several expansions. It plays up to four players, but can be played with fewer people managing all of the characters in the story. It’s detailed but not super difficult to learn. Some of the chapters are harder than others, so you’ll have to replay them if you want to beat them before moving on. We love it.

Tabletop games under $20

Gaming on a tight budget.

Fluxx (Looney Labs —$12)

I really like this free-for-all card game. The base rules are simple: draw one, play one. But that escalates quickly. The cards you draw and play can change the rules, the win conditions, and more. It’s a super fast game and comes in dozens of themes, including licensed versions of Doctor Who, Firefly, Star Trek TNG, and Batman.

Trash Panda™ (Gamewright Games — $13)

I really like Gamewright Games. The card games we own (Loot™, Frog Juice™, Alien Hot Shots™) have simple mechanics with fun themes that make them entertaining to play whether we’re looking for something between longer games/waiting for the people to arrive or playing with kids. Trash Panda is one of their newest card games, and we actually played this with a friend who was also playing another game at the same table (so you can see how your focus can be divided while still enjoying the game!). The theming is SUPER cute and I would definitely play this again.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (Pressman Toy — $15)

I really enjoy this game, and everyone else really enjoyed my rendition of the theme song, as performed by Rockapella (maybe). The dynamic is similar to Clue, in which you need to use logic to eliminate possibilities and determine where you’ll find Carmen. I love Clue, and I was a huge Carmen Sandiego fan (books, TV, song…yes please), so this nostalgic, but timeless, game was a no-brainer for me.

Okey Dokey (Tasty Minstrel — $15)

I really enjoy playing this game with other people and by myself. By myself, it’s essentially like playing solitaire, but with other people, there’s a whole new dynamic that makes it really interesting. You can’t tell each other what cards you have so you have to communicate who is playing which cards when with a little more strategy. It’s a great game for building trust and communication and for people who like cooperative challenges.

Forbidden Island (Gamewright Games — $18)

This is a super fun cooperative game, and probably the easiest of the Forbidden games. It was one of the first cooperative games that we owned, and it plays really nicely between two to four players. You have to work fast to collect four treasures before the island floods. There are several ways to lose and only one way to win, so it can be tricky for new players.

Tabletop games for Harry Potter fans

It me!

Harry Potter™ Magical Beasts (Pressman Toy — $17)

This game is perfect for classic board game (Clue, Monopoly, Life) lovers who are also huge fans of Harry Potter. Kids especially will really enjoy the play and theming, and the mechanics are simple enough that you can learn it quickly and play it right away! The design is beautiful and the components are very well made. My favorite part is the switching game board, which flips from inside to outside in a neat way. I also really appreciate that the four players are Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny (instead of Neville, which happens in a lot of games). Because I would TOTALLY play Ginny Weasley.

Codenames Harry Potter™ (USAopoly  $25)

I demoed this at GenCon this summer and it was really fun. If you’ve played original Codenames, this one is a little bit different, as it’s cooperative, like Codenames Duets. You have to work together to find all the right clues before time runs out. Both people or teams (this can be played with two players or with full teams) have a marked board with their own answer code, and you need to have all of them completed together. It’s fast-paced and fun without being competitive.

Munchkin Deluxe: Harry Potter™ Edition (USAopoly — $35)

I haven’t played this, but OMG. Munchkin meets Harry Potter and there is no way this could go wrong. Munchkin is a dedicated deck card game infused with so much humor and cleverness. We currently have five different versions of Munchkin and various expansion packs for them, as well. It’s fun to play with two players, but it’s so much better with a group of 4-5. Dear Brian. Pretty please with chocolate frogs and butterbeer on top?

Harry Potter Clue (USAopoly — $40)

I played this with some friends and their children, and it was lots of fun. The board game moves (just like the moving staircases) on spinners so things can be rearranges and swapped to make it trickier (or easier!). Otherwise, it plays just like regular Clue.

Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Battle (USAopoly — $50)

This is one of my all-time favorite board games. It’s a cooperative deck-building game for up to four players, and, just like the books and movies, the game is designed to grow with the players. In the base game, there are seven varying degrees of difficulty, each year adding new components, rules, and villains. It’s really fun to play through and has a lot of replayability. At this point in time, I do not recommend adding the expansion because the difficulty level is INSANE. We’ve only played through the first level (and lost every time — we won’t move on until we’ve beaten the round).

Tabletop games for Disney addicts

Also me.

Codenames Disney (USAopoly — $27)

Another spin on Codenames, this one is so perfect for DIsney lovers of all ages. Like the Harry Potter version, on one side of the cards is pictures, and the other side has words associated with the House of Mouse, so you can play either side. We’ve played with a five-year-old, and she had just as much fun as everyone else.

Disney Villainous (Wonder Forge — $35)

I raced out to buy this game as soon as we got home from GenCon (because it sold out at the con. Any opportunity to play Maleficent in a board game already has my vote, but it was also a really fun game. Each character has their own strategy and win conditions, so you have to learn to play the game and then understand your character’s motivations. There is a lot of room for expansion here, so I hope Wonder Forge runs with it.

Snow White Gemstone Mining Game (USAopoly — $35)

This is a push-your-luck style game in which you are competing to get the most and best gems from a mystery bag. I demoed this at GenCon as well, and I really enjoyed playing it. Honestly, I’m just a total Disneyphile and want everything that says, “Disney” on it.

Party games for casual gamers

Listen, I know Cards Against Humanity is still supes popular, but let’s give some other new party games some love, shall we?

Monikers (Monikers — $25)

I love this game. It’s part Taboo part charades and based on speed as well as memory. Each player chooses several of the choices that will be used in the deck, and you play three rounds with the same deck. Each round gets harder. in the first round, you can say anything but the words on the card. In the second round, you can say one word. The third round is charades. It is so much fun.

Pantone™ the Game (Cryptozoic — $25)

Guys, if Disneybounding were a game, this would sort of be it. Like Monikers, it’s played in three rounds that get progressively more difficult. Basically you have a selection of Pantone™ swatches to create an abstract design to get other people to guess what pop culture character or characters you are referencing. I love this game, but Brian hates it.

Friend or Faux (Games Adults Play — $25)

I talked about this super inappropriate game over the summer with my GenCon haul, and we’ve played it a couple of times since. This is great for a group of friends who know each other, but it’s surprising even with people who don’t know each other that well. The first two rounds are all-ages appropriate, but by round 3, you’ll want to leave the kids (and your Great Aunt Lorraine) at home.

Blank Slate (USAopoly — $25)

This was a super fun party game that felt like the opposite of Scattergories, which is one of my favorite OG party games that I refuse to play with my family. With Scattergories, there’s always fighting. It’s always crazy. Because you want the most unique answers, people get defensive and yelly super fast.

What do you Meme? (What do you Meme — $30)

This was another game from my GenCon haul, and we had a lot of fun playing it with a gaggle of friends. If you’re playing with kiddos, make sure you go through the entire deck of memes before playing to pull out the NSFW pics.

Tabletop games that might actually break the bank

Serious gamers only. Make sure you’ve got plenty of refreshments.

Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition  (Fantasy Flight Games — $90)

This is a badass freaking game. Based on the H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu stories, this game uses an interactive app to guide you through a changing mansion set up as you fight bad guys and try to solve the mystery before time runs out. If you can’t tell, I love story based games, and this is another one. The theming is on point, and the app integration is perfect. This is a loooooooong game. Even the shortest game is a few hours. But it is worth it for a day of intrigue and madness. We have the first and second edition of this game because the second edition is superior (Less set up and no need for someone to manage the game villains and bad stuff because the app takes over).

Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game (Flying Frog Productions — $90)

I really like this game with its Indiana Jones-esque adventure theming and the intricacies that come with it. Not for the faint of heart, this game has also been known to go all day (it plays up to eight people, and the more people, the longer the game), but when you’re fighting Nazis and zombies with movie-style cliffhangers (and hopefully eating lots of snacks), you don’t even notice how much time has passed!

Cthulhu Wars (Peterson Games — $200)

This is one of Brian’s favorites. It’s big and bold and there was no making these miniatures miniature. Another Cthulhu game to call out. The world has ended and the elder gods are vying for control. The few remaining acolytes are assisting you, as you take on the roles of the various elder gods, and your minions on a giant world-map board. For as big and badass as this game is, the play time is actually very doable, even on an evening game night. There are different strategies for each role, and tips are provided to help you succeed. If you can find it on sale, I highly recommend it. There are also several expansions that can increase the player limit and change things up with more characters and sweet miniatures.

WOWEE that was a lot. I hope you found it helpful and can find some great gifts for your friends and family! If you’re still looking for other gift ideas, I’ve got you covered!

Need more gift ideas for everyone else on your list? Consider some of these other guides I’ve created:

 

Adult Holiday Gift GuideGifts for everyone on your list a holiday gift guideChrissy's quirky wish list gift guideUncommon Goods Gift GuideUnique holiday gift guide for kids, pets, and grown ups

2018 quirky holiday gift guide

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!

20 Last-minute gifts for your quirky wife

Yep, I see you. Waiting until the last minute to buy those Christmas gifts for your wife. I see you, because I live with you…HUSBAND. Brian is infamous for waiting until the eleventh hour to buy Christmas gifts (even though he is RIDICULOUS with ordering birthday gifts so early that I have to restrain myself from investigating and playing 20 questions).

That being said, here are some gifts that should (hopefully) arrive in time for Christmas. And make sure you fill a stocking for her. She’s already got one for you, so you should probably return the favor. (And if you’re the wife in this relationship, add these puppies to your wish list so he knows what to get you!) Full disclosure: product links may be affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a few pennies from any purchase you make. All of the products mentioned either live in my home already or are on my current wishlist.

Last-minute gift guide for your quirky wife

Order online — pick up in store

My new favorite thing to do? Buy something online and then go pick it up in the store. I know it’s in stock (instead of racing to three different Targets looking for something and not succeeding) and will be in my greedy little hands immediately. Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target, and Barnes & Noble are on my list of favorite places to do so.

Cozy essentials

Last-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ cozy essentials (1)

I know I need some downtime with the mass amount of energy I exude, and these are a few gifts that can help your favorite lady chill the fuck out. There’s something warm and cool (I know. At the same time) about a salt lamp. We have one in our front room, and it’s a favorite piece of decor to be sure. These elf slippers are perfect for the holidays…and pretending you live in the North Pole with Santa Claus year round.

And the most important accessory for any cozy evening: BOOKS. Now, I’ve had a Nook (GlowLight) and I currently have a Kindle (Paperwhite). And I miss my Nook like you wouldn’t believe. Sure I can get books on Amazon now. But I miss the design and style of the Nook. It was at least a pound lighter, which makes a big difference when your e-reader has a tendency to fall on your face with more frequency than you’d like…But you know…both e-readers do the job. So order one or get some books to add to the one she already has.

Order online — fast delivery

Prime shipping. I don’t have to tell you, I’m sure. But Prime one day? If you spend $35 or more, you can get your gift TOMORROW. You can even have that shit wrapped up. And who doesn’t love those pretty (and reusable) Amazon bags?

Quirky style

Last-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ style essentials

Y’all may know I’m something of a self-proclaimed style maven. And let me tell you, there’s so much more to style than traditional wardrobe essentials. It’s the add-ons that really make you stand out. The year Brian got me a light-up skirt for Christmas was seriously hard to top. Here are a few Chrissy-approved ideas for your wishlist or gift list.

I love holiday sweaters, especially this slothy sweater I wear every year. I also highly recommend a pair of butterfly wings, because you never know when they’re going to become useful. Nerd con events? Renaissance faires? Vacations? Costume parties? Wings are a staple, people.  And of course, what’s a mermaid without her tail? This mermaid skirt is the best!

Kwirky party game

Last-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ party games

What better to give to a quirky lady than a party game with her name on it! With this Goliath Games gem, Kwirky, the possibilities (and laughs!) are endless. It’s a fast-paced quiz game where the answers don’t matter nearly as much as your conviction! It’s fabulous for improv lovers and anyone who enjoys friendly banter!

Adult coloring books

Last-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ coloring books

Listen, people. We love us some coloring books. You Are Here, from Jenny Lawson, is especially magical. Not only does it have incredible art to color, but it also has blurbs and affirmations from The Bloggess, queen of the quirky wives. This is a great gift for anyone who suffers from anxiety, depression, or even just boredom. It’s full of positive vibes and magic. I love my copy, and I’ve given it as a gift a number of times. It never fails me. Other coloring books I recommend? Calm the Fuck Down and Sloth are two that really get me.

Colored pencils

Last-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ colored pencils

While you’re getting her some coloring books, make sure she’s got a good set of colored pencils. Personally, I prefer Faber Castell to Prismacolor, but to each their own. I have friends who swear by the Prismacolor though I think the tips break too easily. For the less expensive route, you can always go with the trusty Crayola pencils (in a fancy new box for “grown ups”).

Quirky stocking stuffers under $10

Last-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ stocking stuffers under $10

I love stockings. I love little things. I used to make my brother play a game I called little things. The art of filling a stocking with as much little stuff as possible makes my heart happy in a really weird way. But these gift ideas also make my heart happy. I own two of the three, and I want the third. Can you guess which is which?

Aqua notes are incredible for writing in the shower, by the pool, or wherever. You can leave love notes for your best friend who stays at your house with some frequency or you can jot down ideas for your next Instagram post. I am obsessed. Taco Socks? Yes please. Also bring me tacos. Always. Octopod wine stopper? Cork your wine with pizazz, kids!

Email delivery

Happy gift cardsLast-minutes gifts for quirky wife_ gift cards

Okay, let’s be honest here. The easiest gift you can get her is a gift card. And she’s probably okay with picking out her own goodies…assuming you know the right store to include in the gift card. These Happy cards, though…they bring something even better to the table. OPTIONS.

The Happy Lady gift card can be redeemed at:

  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th
  • Panera Bread
  • Sephora
  • Spafinder
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Lord & Taylor

And if she’s more of a foodie, consider the Happy Dining gift card which she can use at:

  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • McCormick & Schmick’s
  • Red Lobster
  • Bravo
  • Texas de Brazil
  • Brio

Personally, I would be ecstatic with the Happy Teen gift card, which includes (books books books!):

  • Regal Cinemas
  • Sephora
  • Dave & Buster’s
  • Nike
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Jamba Juice
  • American Eagle

Need more gift ideas for everyone else on your list? Consider some of these other guides I’ve created:

Adult Holiday Gift GuideGifts for everyone on your list a holiday gift guideChrissy's quirky wish list gift guideUncommon Goods Gift GuideUnique holiday gift guide for kids, pets, and grown ups

 

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!

4 things that save my marriage every day

Brian and I have been married for more than 6 months now, so I’m pretty confident that gives me authority to offer up marriage advice.

Bride and groom kissing at head table

As it turns out, there are a lot of things that can help a marriage along, especially when you’re navigating alternative facts and not really sure what’s real and what Chrissy says is real, but really isn’t. Luckily for you, I have just what you need to succeed in wedded bliss. These four simple household devices have made marriage more than bearable. They’ve made this whole lawfully wedded thing quite pleasant, actually. And I’m pretty confident we couldn’t survive without them.

1. Toothpaste roller

Aquafresh toothpaste in a toothpaste roller

You’ll note the indent where I squeeze and the roller that Brian uses to roll. Confession: I have never rolled it.

Marriage is all about compromise, my friends. And this squeezing device automatically settles the age-old argument whether to squeeze or roll the toothpaste tube. And the settlement? It’s totally a compromise. As a squeezer, I get the first half of the tube (and really, let’s be honest here, I squeeze even when the roller is attached), and Brian gets to make sure we roll every last dob of toothpaste from the tube. He’s nothing if not fiscally responsible.

2. Bath and sink hair snare

Drain hair remover hooked to bathtub faucet

I had to Google what this one was called, because I wanted to write shower grabby hair remover thingy, and Brian (my very professional personal editor) suggested I find out what it’s actually called. I think a study on the before and after will help demonstrate the effectiveness of this device.

Before marriage: I would yell down to Brian that my shower drain wasn’t draining fast enough, which meant that it was blocked. Then he’d have to come unscrew the drain plug dealie, and find something to play plumber and remove my red hair.

After marriage: Teach a wife to fish…or so the saying goes…Brian bought me this silly $5 stick, and I use it religiously. (I told him not to bother screwing the plug back in, because that thing is a pain in the ass.) Before my drain is super clogged, I check it with the hair snare, because I’m weird and gross and amused. I do this probably every other time I clean the bathroom. And just a few stray (okay I shed like a maniac, so more than a few) blonde hairs come out with the snakey thing. And Brian no longer has to deal with my bathroom. I wear gloves, though, because ew.

Compromise? I think Brian wins this one majorly.

3. Mounted paper towel holder

The paper towel holder that never moves. Bestill my heart. Here’s another example of the before and after of marriage that just works.

Paper towel holder underneath cabinet

Before marriage: I would go to grab a paper towel to dry my hands, clean up a spill, distribute olive oil in a pan, provide a nonslip surface for my cutting board, or any number of other uses that a paper towel provides…and the damn roll would be nowhere in sight. As I raced through the house searching for the paper towels, which were usually on the floor of the TV room, I would loudly inform Brian how infuriating it was that the paper towels were never in the kitchen.

After marriage: The paper towels are ALWAYS in the same place. Hooked to the bottom of the cabinet next to the sink. I don’t know if anything has ever made me so happy.

Compromise. I win.

4. My magical Le Creuset

Blue Le Creuset sitting on stovetop

I was only going to have three items on this list, but Brian told me I should probably include my favorite piece of kitchen cookware. You see, when I dragged him to Bed Bath & Beyond, and stared longingly at this ridiculous, high-priced luxury item, he thought I was absolutely insane. I probably am, honestly. And then he told me if I got one, he threatened to boil hot dogs in it, as he does with all the wrong pans.

I have been jonesing for one of these beauties FOREVER.

At Christmas, Brian kept telling me how bad he felt because he only got me two gifts, which ended up being the 9-quart Le Creuset and a kickin’ light-up skirt from ThinkGeek. Who cares how many presents there are when one of them is a flippin’ ceramic-coated, cast iron dutch oven sent from heaven.

Obviously,  my first question was, “Did you use a coupon?” Because you bet your ass I would have taken it back, and rebought it with a coupon! Those simple clippings never expire, and they add up.

 

But now he loves this thing as much as I do. Because short ribs. And roasts. And mostly all the things I can make inside of it become happiness on Brian’s dinner plate. Compromise. I get an expensive pot to play with. Brian threatens to cook hot dogs in it, but relishes in the fruits of its labor.

Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. And sometimes your husband buys you cookware so you can make him dinner like a “good little housewife”. And everyone wins.

What devices/appliances/tools make your marriage or relationship or roommate situation work?

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!

Marriage in the days of alternative facts

It’s been 5 months since Brian and I tied the proverbial knot. And let me tell ya, marriage isn’t easy. It’s been rough going as we wade through real life and what’s true or not. The world is insane, you guys.

Marriage, champagne and red wine in a world of alternative facts

Here are just a few of the crazy “truths”that have come to light and we’ve had to deal with since our wedding day.

My husband always steals the sheets. Sometimes,  I wake up cold, shivering in my skivvies because BRIAN likes to keep the heat at OFF all winter long.

I do all the laundry. I mean, somedays, there’s just piles and piles of it, and I slave over the washing machine when I could be doing things like painting my nails, Facebooking, or plotting my next getaway with friends.

My husband might be a shopaholic. If he spends $8.99 on Zulily purchases 3 days in a row, and travels from T.J. Maxx to Marshall’s to Tuesday Morning to Ross every weekend, and then spends quality train time on World Market, Amazon, and Bed Bath and Beyond every morning, he might have a problem, right?

My husband really hates vacuuming. But he loves inviting dogs to spend the night. Just last week, we had one of our niece dogs over for a weekend jaunt, and I had to vacuum after she left, AND wash all the couch covers.

As you can see, the struggle is real, you guys. Wading the truth and fiction, and seeking out the tiny bits of truth among alternative facts takes a lot of work. So I’m just going to go shopping and paint my nails or something. If I buy new clothes, I don’t have to do laundry, right?

What alternative facts are hindering your relationship?

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!

Who Needs Big Brother When I’m Listening to Your Conversations?

I realize that I’m a total creeper. To be fair, you guys asked for more of these…so if you’re weirded out, you’ve only got yourself to blame. Except for the graphic. That was all me.

I'm always listening to conversations, and when I hear or see something noteworthy? I write it down.

My old company had a big ole corporate office that I almost never visited. I worked at a satellite office full of hipsters and people who didn’t seem to mind that I wore rainbow yoga pants to work. It was a comfortable place to be. In my last couple of months at the company, I was required to make my way to corporate on a weekly cadence. My teammates and I called it Mordor because a dark cloud seemed to loom over the long drive to the office.

One of the neat things about Mordor err…corporate was the miniature city within an office. When I realized I needed to buy tampons, I could just head to the convenience store inside the building. Which is exactly what I did on my last Mordor err…corporate day.

I walked into the shop, where a woman was sitting behind a register on the left side of the counter and a young man was standing behind the register on the right side. Another employee was walking back and forth through the store, and I made my way to the pharmacy aisle.

I grabbed a box of tampons, walked down the snack aisle, stared longingly at the box of Oreos that I opted not to purchase, and made my way to the cashier, a young gentleman in his late teens/early twenties. I thought to myself how far I’d come since my embarrassing first period, and how I didn’t give two shits that some dude had to pick up a box of tampons, look me in the eye, and ask if I needed anything else. If he did ask, I considered telling him to hold on a second, I needed some Midol – just for funsies, but he never gave me the chance. He scanned my tampons, and as I was punching in my phone number to the system, some other guy (my assumption is that he was the manager or supervisor) walked behind him.

This was the exchange that played out.

Cashier: K, I am not in the mood. I’m sick and don’t feel well.

Wait, what the fuck is going on? Where did that even come from? That guy never said anything.

Supervisor: I don’t give a shit.

Woah. Hostile much? Wait, these people are AT WORK. This is how they’re speaking to each other in front of customers. This is SO fucked up.

Cashier: Fuck this place.

Well, this is an interesting turn of events…I wonder if he’s going to…

The cashier reaches behind his neck, pulls off the lanyard he’s wearing, and drops his badge on the counter before I’ve had the chance to swipe my credit card.

Cashier: I quit. I’m done dealing with this bullshit. Have fun making deliveries today.

Did that seriously just happen?

Yep. Yes, it did. That guy just quit. While ringing up my tampons.

Me: Ummm…can someone complete my transaction?

The girl sitting down stood and moved toward the register I was at, and the previous cashier turned from the door before he left.

Cashier: A, I’m really sorry. I’m sick of this shit. I have to go.

That was fucking ridiculous.

The girl completed my transaction, and I went on my merry way. Furiously typing up the exchange in my “other people’s conversations” files, anxious to tell you about this insanely ridiculous story.

It seemed fitting that this happened on my last day at the central office, as I only had a few days left. I was glad I didn’t quit in anger like that guy, but it definitely added to the weirdness I felt about leaving.

Have you ever witnessed someone leave their job or have you quit in a rage? What is the craziest way in which you’ve left a job?

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!

Grocery Shopping: Because Being Lazy and Proactive About My Eating Habits Are Better Than Saving Money

I read something on Pinterest the other day about things you should NEVER  buy at the grocery store. Among the items included many of our weekly (okay whenever-we-make-it-to-the-grocery-store-ly, which averages about 2-3 times a month) purchases. And so I said to myself, “Self, someone has to speak out against this insanity. Someone needs to tell these Pinterest Looney Toons to get a hold of themselves and drop the homemade spice mix. Self, that someone should probably be you.”

Okay fine, I didn’t actually say those things to myself. I was busy muttering under my breath about not wanting to put pants on and needing to eat more cheese, but whatever. I thought them. In fact, I’ve thought about this often enough I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to shit I’m never going to do. And about 60 other Pinterest boards dedicated to shit I’m probably never going to do.

Anyways, I’ve come up with a very important list of things you should buy at the grocery store because the cost outweighs the amount of time spent doing whatever it takes to make those things happen.

Whether you're trying to save money or just be the ultimate Pinterest mom, some of these "money savers" are actually not worth your time or energy.

Things you shouldn’t bother Pinteresting or forgoing because the grocery store makes it So. Much. Easier.

Spice mixes: Let’s start with this one (and ignore the fact that I do, actually, make my own taco and fajita seasoning but to be fair, I don’t really measure any of it). Sure, you can mix and match your seasonings easy enough. But ain’t nobody got time for experimentation. When you’re in a hurry, isn’t it reassuring to know that your X,Y,Z isn’t going to be fucked up because you were smart enough to use a spice mix which had the perfect blend of crushed red pepper, dried pineapple flavor and bacon bits (patent pending)? I thought so too. Also, no one makes ranch like Hidden Valley. There. I said it.

Miracle cleaning solution: Let’s talk about this “Blue Dawn and vinegar” bullshit I’ve seen all over Pinterest. I tried it when we first moved into the house. I was thinking to myself, “Self, this is going to make a great post one day. You’ll be all ‘Blue Dawn and vinegar’ was really a miracle in my stained bathtub!” And you know what? I was wrong. Because all that shit did was smell nasty. I understand cleaning with vinegar and baking soda is also supposed to help – I used it dozens of times to try cleaning my garbage disposal. It masked the odor alright…with vinegar smell. Give me Scrubbing Bubbles and a Plink drop any day.

Vinegar: We rarely use most of the vinegar in our cabinets. Brian uses the balsamic for his salad dressing (along with a pre-packaged spice mix) and I use the white vinegar when I dye eggs on Easter. And yet, there are people who make their own fermented vinegar. Dudes. You guys. This stuff is cheap. Who wants to stink up their house for a product you use a couple times a year or whatever.

Dryer sheets: I LOVE the smell of clean laundry. I hate doing laundry, but the smell of fresh from the dryer laundry makes my heart go pitter patter. On Pinterest, I ran across a pin for homemade dryer sheets which looked super cute, but sounded like a disaster waiting to happen. One of the comments on it, though, was priceless – “I tried this and my laundry smelled like vinegar!” Bring on the store-bought dryer sheets so my laundry can smell delicious.

Bottled water: Oh hell yes, I’m going here. I know this one isn’t a Pinterest thing, but I’ve seen it on the money-saving lists. Sure, I’ve got reusable bottles and travel cups and mugs galore (I usually get them free with brand names on them when I go to fancy blog conferences). We even bought fancy pants Brita water bottles (okay – these are great for traveling). But you know what I hate? When I wake up with enough time to brush my teeth, throw pants on, and MAYBE brush my hair before I race to the train…and have to spend more time filling a bottle with water than I did doing all of the getting ready part of my morning. Instead, I can grab a bottle on my way out the door and satiate my thirst while I commute into the city. Besides, when you buy them at Sam’s Club, they’re so cheap per bottle. And water is never truly free, y’all. Need I remind you about your water bill which is payment for water that comes out of your faucet?


Pre-packaged snacks: I love snack packs. A lot. And you know what? Those pre-packaged little goodies keep me from killing my poor boyfriend. Because I’m high maintenance like a freakin’ gremlin. Also, they keep me from eating the whole fucking econo bag of Doritos that I would otherwise buy at Sam’s Club in one sitting. It’s been known to happen.

So the thing is, you guys…I get it. If you’re on a money-saving kick, this might make sense to you. If you’re on an all-natural ingredient thing? I totally get that too. But before you go out to buy the necessary equipment and ingredients to pull these tricks off, don’t forget to add the math for the time it takes you to do this shit. Your hourly rate counts as money spent, doesn’t it?

What crazy DIY shit have you seen recently on Pinterest, or the Internet, or anywhere really, that would be much easier to purchase? Have you tried any of the DIY options I mentioned? Are you a die-hard DIY maven? Are you a bottled water drinker?

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!

Why I Won’t Shop on Thanksgiving

I’m not going to go into a big rant about stores being open on Thanksgiving this year. Black Thanksgiving is what it is. I know that there are people who do, in fact, benefit from being able to work on Thanksgiving. I do. I get it. I also know that there are people who have to work on Thanksgiving, regardless of their need for the money or their desire to be away from their families. And it’s not just retail outfits. Every restaurant, gas station, convenience store and yes, retail stores, that stays open on this day has employees who have to work.

Thanksgiving

I’ve worked Christmas.

I’ve worked Christmas Eve.

I’ve worked 4th of July.

I’ve worked Easter.

Halloween.

Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day. Black Friday.  New Year’s Day. New Year’s Eve.

I think the only holiday I haven’t worked is Thanksgiving.

But my brother does. I can’t remember the last time I saw my brother on Thanksgiving. And I fucking love my brother. He’s a server and bartender. And so he works. So you can enjoy your turkey dinner without having to cook. If he were here, I’m sure he’d say, “You’re welcome.” Because he’s polite like that.

So I get it. And it makes me angry that store feel the need to open on Thanksgiving in an effort to one up each other without lowering prices anymore than they already have…

Wait. Lowering prices?

They used to do that.

If you’ve sneaked a peek at any of the ads out there, they look strikingly familiar. To just about every ad I’ve seen in the last 4 or 5 months. “Doorbusters!” with prices that make me want to stay in bed next Friday morning and snuggle with my boyfriend instead of hitting up the mall with my mom as per usual.

That’s the real reason I could care less these days. The reason I, most assuredly, won’t be trekking out away from Thanksgiving dinner to buy a TV. The deals aren’t really AMAZING worth-it-for-the-early-morning-hours deals anymore and definitely not worth-it-for-the-leaving-Thanksgiving-dinner-early-so-I-can-go-stand-in-line-in-the-cold deals. They’re just…sales. Regular. Old. Sales.

So I’ll head to my local mall on Black Friday. I’ll pick up some freebies and a few things that tickle my fancy. And then I’ll come home and work. Okay fine, and I’ll probably do some online shopping on Friday as well. But Julep has Black Friday deals too! And this doesn’t feel like the kinda day that’s even worth a vacation day. I’ll also hit up a few of my favorite local shops on Small Business Saturday, because I believe that shopping locally, even if for only part of your holiday shopping, is helpful to the small business owner. And I like to support small business owners.

Thanks to GoGoShopper.com for making this special Shopping Saturday post possible. GoGoShopper is an online deal and coupon aggregate that helps make your shopping experience a little bit less costly. Especially if you like to shop the way I like to shop. With a BUY ALL THE THINGS mentality.  

Will you shop on Thanksgiving? Black Friday? Small Business Saturday? Cyber Monday? Have you already started holiday shopping? What’s your game plan? I love hearing what other people do for this shop-shop-shoppity weekend.

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!

Why You Should Never Lie: A Cautionary Tale

A few months ago, I was returning a pair of shoes that I had bought on a whim. I knew that the return policy was really short and that I was outside the policy window, but I really wanted to return the shoes. So I lied.

At this point, I should probably give you a big fat heads up: I’m not a very good liar.

A blog post about lying...and the ridiculous rampage that ensues

I figured if I went in there with the story that I received the shoes for my birthday from my mom that it wouldn’t be a big deal, and the return would just go through. Or not. Apparently this particular shoe store is all up in your business, and they want your information left and right: phone number, e-mail address, home address…I’m surprised they didn’t ask for my social! So here’s what I did:

PS: Don’t do this.

So I walked into the store with a box of shoes and no receipt.  I didn’t even have the shoebox in a bag because a gift wouldn’t have come in a store bag, right? I know. I’m not always a genius. When I walked in, there was nobody standing near the door…and my first thought was, OMG – they’re going to think I’m stealing. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. there it was weird because I was like well they’re going to think I’m stealing.

Obviously, I wasn’t stealing, and I didn’t want them to think I was stealing, so I walked right up to the service counter and informed them matter-of-factly that I was returning a pair of shoes and was there a return counter?

She directed me to the regular line, which I sauntered over to. As I was waiting in line, with the shoe box and no bag and no receipt…now my thought process was, OMG. They’re going to think I want to buy these shoes. Again. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.  When I got to the counter, I told the girl that I received the shoes as a gift from my mom, and they didn’t fit. And it was a shame because I really liked them, and my mom even knew my size, and I really wanted to love them.

One of my (probably very evident) problems with lying is that I tell way too much of a story, and I make it a whole big thing…Because I’m an absolutely terrible liar. So if I have a plan, I can maybe (okay, probably not at all) make it work.

So I continued rambling to this poor girl who must have been ready to stab me with her 3 1/2 inch heel… I told her that my mom bought the right size, but they just didn’t fit. They were too small for my feet (FINALLY! Truth!) and I didn’t have a receipt.

So the girl interrupted my pointless blathering with, “…no worries. If we can’t find her in the system then we can just do like a store credit. Do you want to find something else?”

“Yes, please.” So I left the shoes with her and proceeded to find a pair of shoes that actually fit me. I found a pair that looked cute, and discovered they were about the same price as the pair I was returning. Except they were on clearance. So I did what any normal girl would do and picked out lovely infinity scarf…because you know scarves are cute.

This scarf, actually!

This scarf, actually!

Then it was time to do the exchange. I put my game face on (badly…we all know how well I lied the first time), I walked back in line, and found myself at the register of the original cashier.

Her first question was something simple…She asked me, “Well, do you know the that your mom used? Not knowing whether or not my mom had a card with this shoe store, I gave my old home phone number from the days of landlines. I’m not even sure why. There was nothing under that phone number.

Then she asked for my mom’s name. OK another one I should definitely know. I stumbled trying to think quickly, and it sounded like I couldn’t even think of my mom’s last name. Eventually I responded, like, seriously, oh yeah I do know my mom’s name. Oh my God, Christine. You sound like a moron.

I continued on this rampage, because I was there now;  there was no going back.

So she took my driver’s license, which was fine because it was a return. Totally protocol. So she told me, “Well I can look you up; what’s your phone number?  SHIT. I used my phone number to buy those damn shoes; I couldn’t let her look my account up.

Thinking somewhat fast (like 9 second loading website fast), I decided I could use my Google Voice number…except that I don’t know my Google Voice phone number and I had to look for it…and I didn’t know where it was so I had to try to find it…and I was nervously scrolling through my phone like I didn’t even know my own fucking phone number.

I told her that I just switched to Google Voice, and I wasn’t actually sure what the number was and maybe I should probably call my boyfriend to find out what that number was (hey at least in this story he was my boyfriend…sometimes when I’m thinking fast, I just call him my husband–don’t tell him that).

“Don’t worry about it.” she told me, “I can look you up from your address.” Facepalm.

Well, thank goodness the address on my driver’s license is still my parents’ address, so I didn’t really have to worry about her finding my account that way. Then she says, “Okay, well, we’re just going to sign you up. That way, if you need to make any returns or have any problems, you won’t have to worry about it again.”

So, she signed me up for another rewards card, even though I already have an account. The return went through, and it was fine…but the whole time I was nervous, and it was ridiculous, and don’t do that.

Blog Friends, have you ever had one of those experiences, where you found yourself caught in a REALLY stupid lie that you couldn’t get out of? I felt a lot like Becky Bloomwood. It wasn’t fun. It gave me just as much anxiety as reading the Shopaholic series.

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!

Forget About the Velveeta Shortage; Buy Real Cheese. Duh.

Okay, so what the hell is this nonsense about a Velveeta shortage? Seriously.

Let me tell you a little something about Velveeta.

That shit is terrible.

End.

Okay, I’m lying. Not end.

If you don’t know me, allow me to introduce myself. Hi. I’m Chrissy and I have a cheese obsession. I have a weekly cheese budget (that I often exceed) and I’m an advocate for fancy cheese above all else. But cheap fancy cheese. Because I’m Polish. And sometimes the expensive stuff because it’s THAT good.

Cheese Porn

When Brian and I first started dating, I would, on occasion, have emergency cheese (AKA Velveeta) in the cheese drawer. It SERIOUSLY. NEVER. WENT. BAD. Months. Even half-opened, that shit didn’t change form at. all. The same yellow wiggle jiggle of Velveeta was sitting there, staring at me. Next to my Midnight Moon and other high-end cheeses, that little worm of a cheese log waited patiently for me to be out of cheese. In a storm. With a dead car battery. (Because really, how often am I out of the good stuff?)

Cheese picturesAnd occasionally I would attempt one of them-there Pinterest recipes that called for Velveeta. And it was okay. Usually, it would end up tasting a little off…and I blame the Velveeta. Not. My cooking.

So to those of you concerned with this, Velveeta shortage…let me offer you some equally as “inexpensive” but way tastier options.

Cheese CastleShop at Aldi. If you have an Aldi nearby, you’ll be surprised the quality of cheese available for a lower price point than you’d find at Whole Foods or Jewel. Delicious Havarti for about $3. Apple Cinnamon Cheddar for $4. Brie. Camembert. Smoked Gouda. All great options. All real cheese. All. Fucking. Amaze. Several even have 2-3 month shelf lives for those of you who are concerned that you won’t eat the cheese in a few days. (Really? Weirdo.)

Shop at Fruit/Vegetable Markets. This may sound counter-intuitive, but oftentimes, you can find tasty cheeses at large markets with gigantic produce sections for budget-friendly prices. And they have gigantic selections. Or at least mine do. And really this is about me and my cheese habit, isn’t it?

Love Cheese

Bobby Nelson’s Cheese Shop

And if you want to know some pretty stellar ways to use these newfangled cheeses? Brian’s brother sent me a pretty sweet cheese article that I think you’ll appreciate.

Are you worried about this Velveeta shortage? How about the Sriracha shortage? More on that next week. Mmmmm….Sriracha.

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 Importance of Learning to Say “No”

I have always been a “yes” girl.

I feel guilty saying, “no.”

I feel guilty saying, “no,” so I say, “yes.” And then I find myself overbooked, overwhelmed and over-anxious. I work a full time job. I work more than 40 hours a week. I commute 10 hours a week. Which means that I’m gone for almost 12 hours a day. 5 days a week.

And then I come home. And I blog. Because I love you guys. I love the community that we’ve built. I love sending you thoughtful messages and chatting with you. I love reading other blogs, and participating in other communities.

But it can get overwhelming.

All of it.

Two weeks ago, I was offered a semi-promotion. One that wouldn’t change my title or my pay just yet, but the opportunity to move up to an official manager would quickly be in my sights. I would have direct reports. I would be responsible for the work of two other very talented people.

And I said, “no.”

I said this, not because I wasn’t ready for the position, but because I wasn’t ready for the additional demands on my personal life. I believe in a solid work-life balance, and I’m still working out the kinks in this one. I don’t want to live to work. I work to live.

Of course, I also feel that I have a lot more professional development to work on as a senior copywriter. I want to remain a mentor to newer team members, but I don’t want to be a manager. I want to be a peer. I want to learn from my peers. I want to build on my knowledge as a writer, and not a manager.

So, I said, “no.”

And it wasn’t the last time I said, “no” in the last few weeks. I also said no to social engagements, when I needed a break. It’s hard to stay home when people want you to join them for fun and laughter, but sometimes you just need to stay in and read an entire trilogy of books. And rearrange your cabinets. And give away all of your storage containers to make room for the ridiculous amount of Pyrex and Pfaltzgraff that you bought on Black Friday. Because that’s just what you do when you need a break.

You find joy and laughter in the things that help you relax. For me, it’s reading and rearranging. What helps you relax? Do you have problems saying, “no” too? Tell me about it, Blog Friends.

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!