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.

 

 

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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!

Ten Rules to Enjoy Six Flags (or Any Theme Park, Really) and Not Leave Angry

With fall quickly approaching, I’ve found myself dreaming of a trip up to Six Flags for Fright Fest. Okay, I’m actually dreaming of a weekend getaway to Walt Disney World, but Brian did that 3 years ago, and he isn’t quite ready to go back yet…we’re working on that.

I don’t know if I can rock the coasters right now because of my back problem, so I’m not sure if we’ll head up there this season or not, but a girl can dream. I love wandering around a theme park when the weather is cool, and you can wear yoga pants and a hoodie at night while you ride your favorite coasters. You don’t have to make up excuses not to go on the water rides, and no one is sweating their balls off.

When I do make my way to Six Flags, I always try to follow these very important rules to make the most of my experience. It’s a way to sort of roll with the punches that the underpaid cast members are throwing.10 Rules to Making the Most of a Theme Park Visit1. Buy your tickets in advance. Find the cheapest coupon code you can. Seriously. That shit is expensive, and they usually have cheap codes hidden among the interwebs. Or on cans of pop. Plus tickets are usually less costly online. At Six Flags, we’ve paid as little as $37 each for 3 people with tax, surcharges, and parking.

  1. Don’t look at the food or the prices from the vendors. You know the food is crap, and the prices are likely to be exorbitant. There is an exception to this, and that’s at Disney World, with their fancy restaurants and amazing food options. Pack a lunch, head to a local restaurant, stop at your fave fast food chain…

  2. Find out about money-saving promotional stuff. If you fail to follow rule number 2, use your Discover card (or whatever card they’re partnered with) and save 5% every time. That shit can add up.

  3. Tap water is free. Utilize that, people. Brita filtered water bottle are a bomb way to make that happen.

  4. Know the best rides. If you make it a point to get on your favorite rides first, you’ll be able to cheer yourself up and ride them again later after you’ve made some bad choices by standing in line for a crappy ride that breaks down all the time. Raging Bull is still the best roller coaster at Six Flags Great America. Ride it first. The Whizzer is a classic, and so fun at night.

  5. Understand the schedule. Don’t plan to get there at exactly opening or you’ll sit in long-ass lines to get into the parking lot. Instead, aim for 30 minutes before the park opens or a couple hours afterward. Leave 30-45 minutes before the stated closing time. You’ll be at the bar with a cocktail in your hand while the rest of those bozos are still sitting in the parking lot. If you’re rocking out at Fright Fest…Monsters don’t come out until 4 or 5. Plan accordingly.

  6. Don’t overdo the Dramamine. If you get motion sick or vertigo after you’ve already taken the maximum dosage of the super powerful non-drowsy meclizine…sit the next coaster out. Trust me on this one. I took 3 pills in 12 hours (max recommended is 2 in 24 hours), and I was out of it for 3 days. Loopy, dizzy, and sleepy. I felt like I was drunk. For three days. And not the good kind of drunk.

  7. Make sure you know your way around. Don’t bother asking anyone who works at the park where stuff is. They have no clue. Use the map.

  8. Try to avoid asking for help in any matters. You know what, you may as well just not ask the Six Flags team for any assistance.* We once waited for 45 minutes for lockers that didn’t lock, and still no one came to help us.

Brian and Chrissy at Six Flags Great America Fright Fest

  1. Make it yours. Go with people you like, so that your two star experience feels like a five star experience, because friends.

*I don’t actually think everyone who works at a theme park is crappy at their jobs. I just had a few bad experiences that made me whiny
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Which theme parks have you been to? What tips would you have for maximizing your trip to Six Flags or another park? 

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!