The existential crisis of a toy

Guys, this Toy Story review has *some* spoilers about the themes of the story, but I promise not to ruin the ending because some things are sacred. So before you run away — I loved the movie. I thought it was very smart, super funny, and full of heart. On the contrary, the movie did not captivate my niece (8) and nephew (5) enough for them to want to stay in the theater for the 1:40 minute run time. Their favorite part was playing hide and seek in the theater lobby with Uncle Brian (who patiently allowed me to stay in the theater and watch the whole movie).

So…while I believe the movie itself is worthwhile (and I can’t wait to see it again), it may not capture the attention of your littlest ones (not all little ones are created equal, obvi).

*Spoilers start here*

Bonnie making Forky in Toy Story 4
THREE-IN-ONE – He’s not a fork. He’s not a spoon. And most of all, Forky is not a toy! At least that’s what he thinks. Bonnie created him from an assortment of supplies Woody’s retrieved from the kindergarten trash can. So, it’s no wonder Forky feels strongly that he’s trash and not a toy. Featuring Tony Hale as the voice of Forky, Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019. ©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

How does trash become a toy? When does a toy become trash? In Toy Story 4, we meet Forky, a handmade toy made out of a spork and other items pulled from the trash, who can’t grasp the fact that he is no longer garbage, and instead a toy loved by a child. Simultaneously, we see Woody begin to question his purpose now that he’s fulfilled his primary role as Andy’s favorite toy. While I’m not a parent, I am pretty confident that this likens itself to empty nesters coming to terms with their changing titles — from So and So’s Mom to Individual.

I loved that Toy Story 4 had a number of thematic callbacks to the past movies. Woody’s struggle with change is not unlike that of Toy Story when Buzz threatens his place in Andy’s Room. Rescue missions and antique toys abound in Second Chance Antiques just like they did in Toy Story 2. Toys moving on to the next phase of toy life and ensuring that every toy has kids to play with them is reminiscent of Toy Story 3. And in Toy Story 4, we see the concept of homemade toys taking priority in a child’s life, which I love so so much.

Ducky and Bunny and Buzz Lightyear
HANGIN’ AROUND – In Disney·Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” Buzz Lightyear finds himself among a host of carnival prizes—including Ducky and Bunny, who’ve been waiting a long time to be won. They aren’t exactly welcoming to the Space Ranger—the odds are already stacked against them, and who needs that kind of competition? Featuring Tim Allen as the voice of Buzz, Keegan-Michael Key as the voice of Ducky and Jordan Peele as the voice of Bunny, “Toy Story 4” opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019. ©2019 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The new characters are fantastic — Tony Hale’s Forky is charming and lovable. Keanue Reeves’ Duke Kaboom is super funny and a perfect frenemesis for Woody (and don’t worry. If you’re waiting for a “woah,” I promise, you won’t be disappointed). Key and Peele kill it with Ducky and Bunny as pure comic relief.

Woody meets Gabby Gabby and her henchman
GABBY GABBY – In Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” Woody finds himself in Second Chance Antiques, home to an adorable, talking pull-string doll from the 1950s and her crew of voiceless ventriloquist dummies. Unfortunately for Gabby Gabby, a manufacturing defect in her pull-string voice box has left her sounding anything but adorable. Christina Hendricks lends her voice to Gabby Gabby. “Toy Story 4” opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019…©2019 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Christina Hendricks is my favorite of the new characters with Gabby Gabby and her creepy band of ventriloquist dummy henchman as the primary villains of the story. Gabby Gabby enters the scene with the song from The Shining playing on a record player in the antique store, and I knew it was love at first sight for me. (Upon further research, I also discovered that The Shining references are rampant in the entire Toy Story franchise — primarily references to Room 237.)

Bo Peep in Toy Story 4
LOST AND FOUND – In Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” Woody is reunited with his long-lost friend Bo Peep, who’s been on the road for years. She’s become an adventure-seeking free spirit whose strength and sarcasm belie her delicate porcelain exterior. Featuring the voice of Annie Potts as Bo Peep, “Toy Story 4” opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019. ©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The new characters rock and the classic toys are put on a backburner (spending most of their time back in the RV while Woody and Forky adventure into the antique store and Buzz explores the carnival), but it’s the return of Bo Peep who pulls through as the real MVP of this movie. Bo has gone through some serious off-screen character development, and I am so here for the new and improved Peep.

Toy Story 4 Poster

Overall, I laughed (Um, actually, I laughed way more than most people in the theater. Either I was getting more of the jokes than anyone else, or I think inappropriate things are hilarious. One of those, I’m sure). I cried. Although I cried less than I expected to. WAY less than I cried in Toy Story 3, which to be honest was a relief. Toy Story 3 was gut-wrenching. And I cheered. I will definitely be seeing this one again (did I mention, there are Easter eggs for, like, every Pixar movie ever?).

I won’t tell you what Woody discovers along the way or how the story ends, but it’s good. It’s all so good. Go see it. You won’t be disappointed.

Get tickets for Toy Story 4 on Fandango here

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So, when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries. Directed by Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?”), and produced by Mark Nielsen (associate producer “Inside Out”) and Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out,” “Up”), Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” ventures to U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019.

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!

Last night in Dublin: Define the luck of the Irish

Brian and I just returned from an incredible 16-day adventure in Ireland. And in true Chrissy fashion, I managed to include a side of ridiculous (or twelve) in our summer vacation. Most notably on our last night in Dublin during the first leg of our trip.

Chrissy and Brian at the Guinness Storehouse
Visiting the Guinness storehouse on our first day in Dublin (running on zero sleep and pints of that ruby red life blood).

It all started after a nap. Well, Brian napped. I mindlessly scrolled through Instagram in an attempt to relinquish the final edges of jetlag without sleeping. We had arrived in Dublin two days prior after a sleepless night on a plane and been zombie-walking our way through the city into every uncrowded bar with music that didn’t prevent us from having a conversation (have I mentioned my husband is an introvert?).

After rousing ourselves from bed, we realized that we needed to locate food immediately because most restaurants in the area seemed to shut down around 9 pm. Our hotel felt like it was in the middle of a food desert, so our options were limited if we planned to walk. After some Googling, Brian found a bar/restaurant that piqued his interest. The food was Southern American, but the bar had a self-described enormous board game collection. Our people!

So I put on my nerdiest accessories — an Avengers Infinity bracelet featuring the infinity stones and dinosaur necklace, both of which were early birthday presents from Brian — and we began the twenty-minute walk to said bar.

Last night in Dublin wearing a dinosaur necklace
My sweet dinosaur necklace. Not pictured: this infinity stone bracelet.
Disclaimer: Amazon links = small commission for Chrissy blah blah etc etc.

When we finally arrived at the bar, I sat down and Brian went to check out the game shelf. I realized the bartender would not be visiting the table, so I pulled my credit card out of my wallet and strolled up to the bar to get menus and order drinks. I asked for a menu, and the bartender looked at me like I was an idiot before telling me the kitchen was closed. I slid my credit card into my jeans pocket and walked to Brian so we could discuss the situation. We left and went to the Asian fusion restaurant directly next to the bar to get food.

After eating, we decided that we didn’t want to pay 10 Euro to play games we already had at home and began the walk back to our hotel. There was a great looking Irish pub next to the hotel, and we figured we could go play our own games (why yes, we did pack three pocket-size strategy games for two weeks in Ireland, and it was brilliant) in a nicer atmosphere.

Though we had just eaten, snacks seemed like a necessary and important reason to stop at a convenience store…or two. At the first one, I paid with Samsung Pay on my phone, leaving my credit card safely forgotten in the pocket of my jeans.

Because we couldn’t find a snack that Brian wanted, we proceeded to a different convenience store a block further from our hotel. We found some snacks and walked to the self-pay kiosk. Brian put his credit card in the machine and then pulled it out after he thought it was through. When the receipt didn’t print, he put his card back in for a second attempt. The kiosk called for an attendant because he needed to sign a slip. The attendant didn’t know what was going on, and a flurry of chaos escalated everyone’s panic and stress. We finally left the store with our packages in tow.

As we walked, I started feeling the urge to use the ladies room. I thought I could make it to the hotel, but Brian spotted a pub that the hop on/hop off bus tour guide swooned about when we passed it. Knowing that sometimes my need to use the bathroom can have disastrous consequences, he offered a solution.

“I’ll go get a drink. You go to the bathroom.”

It seemed harmless enough…

We walked in, and I immediately regretted my decision. This was a local watering hole that reminded me of The Snuggly Duckling. I walked to the bathroom through a dark back bar and a dimly lit hallway. I stepped down into a tiny two-stall bathroom where a woman in her sixties was smoking a cigarette and ashing it into the sink. I went for the first stall when I realized there was no toilet seat to be found. So I had to maneuver around Smokey McGee to get into the second stall.

I wiggled around the door into the stall and locked it, noticing there was no hook to hang my fleece or my purse. The floor was soaked — and I’m not sure from what — so I zipped up my purse and placed it on the back of the toilet and prayed. I tossed my fleece up above the door, effectively hanging it over into the bathroom (Smokey had flown the coop, so it was just me in there at this point).

I went to the bathroom and then started collecting my belongings. First I grabbed my fleece, which was now accompanied by a thick layer of yellow, musty dust. When I tried to pat it off, my Infinity bracelet unclasped and went flying into a puddle of wet floor. Who knew my bracelet would become the latest in a lifetime of vacation fashion fails.

Visibly flustered, I grabbed my purse, wiggled out of the stall, washed my hands and bracelet, tucked the bracelet into my pocket — feeling it beside my credit card — and hustled out to Brian, who had not ordered a drink. We rushed out of the bar and I began regaling Brian with my bathroom tale reaching into my pocket and grabbing the bracelet to show him.

We arrived back at our hotel. Brian brought the convenience store snacks to the room and grabbed our games, while I waited in the lobby. A call came in from a 00000 number, so I ignored it (spam calls are not worth 25 cents a minute). When a voicemail came through, I listened to it, fully expecting a deletable junk message. Except that it wasn’t.

It was Capital One calling to tell me someone had found my credit card (the credit card I was planning to use to rent a car the next day), and they were trying to return it to me. After a brisk walk back to the bar, interviews with every human we came in contact with, and a complete walk-through of our evening, we finally let Capital One cancel my card and walked back to our hotel.

“Do you still want to get a drink?” Brian asked, after noting my overstressed and sad disposition.

“Uh yes. Yes I do.”

We walked just past our hotel into the pub, found a comfortable spot, and Brian reached into his wallet to get his credit card out…

It’s moments like this that you have to laugh. Because there is literally nothing as absurd as discovering that you and your husband both lost your credit cards within minutes of each other. We swapped roles as Brian went into a panic-and-anger-at-himself mode, I went into crisis-management mode.

Confident that his card was at the convenience store, we left the bar and I began Googling for a phone number. The hotel made a local call for us, and we discovered the store had just closed, and it went straight to voicemail. We called a cab to take us back over there and then back again (It was late, and not the safest-looking of neighborhoods). The cab driver let us out to go bang on the window of the convenience store until someone noticed us (they all had headphones on!) and waited across the street.

We thankfully retrieved Brian’s credit card, at least, and were relieved to walk back to the cab…when the cab wouldn’t start. The driver had to pop the hood and wiggle a few things until the engine finally started up again.

After all of the hoopla and insanity, we decided not to take any more chances with our bad luck, and we went straight to bed. Did not pass go, did not collect $200. As I drifted off to sleep that night, I couldn’t help but wonder if this evening was a preview of the rest of our Irish vacation or would we even bounce back from this nonsense?

What’s the craziest string of bad luck that you’ve had on vacation? Have you ever lost your credit card while traveling internationally? How did you deal? Let me know in the comments!

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!

Strangers who are mean to me are basically kicking a puppy

I like to think I’m a pretty nice person. I try to find the positive side of just about everything. It is known that I have a penchant for loving terrible things. It’s part of my charm, according to Katie. I love dogs and cats and babies and even adult humans, though the consensus seems to be that adult humans are the root of all the problems.

And yet…

Strangers scream obscenities and call me a fat ass across a busy parking lot because my husband stopped to let me out of the car in front of the grocery store.

Strangers in a movie theater call me horrible names and repeatedly tell me I need to be put in my place because I politely asked them to quiet down in a movie theater.

Strangers on the internet call me names and judge me without knowing anything about me.

Friends say things to me or about me that are hurtful. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. Sometimes to my face and sometimes behind my back.

Adult humans are constantly breaking my heart.

But I’ve survived heartache before. When your heart is openly exposed on your sleeve, it tends to take a beating. Mine is no exception. But I’ve learned to manage the bruises.

And with that, I wanted to show you guys my process. Because I know I’m not alone in experiencing hurt. I know that many of you deal with so much more than a few spiteful strangers proverbially spitting on you. And I wanted to share how I deal. And how I continue to stay positive despite the bullies and meanies that I occasionally engage with. It’s a process, to say the least — and one that’s not without a pity party for one. But it works for me.

Survive

The first step for me starts while I’m dealing with the initial incident. My body takes over, so my brain busies itself by running simulations to help choose the safest route for getting out of a given situation. Unfortunately, my body doesn’t always listen to my brain. Sometimes fight wins in the fight or flight response, and I yell back. In the most recent conflict, I panicked and froze and eventually took flight instead of going for a fight. I’m not mad about it.

Calm myself down

The rush of adrenaline that spikes, when someone is verbally accosting me, can take its toll on my ability to think. I try not to do anything while I’m in this phase. Instead, I’ll sit in my car or away from others and work things out in my head to remind myself that I’m okay. I’m safe. I’m away from the conflict. Sometimes I’ll call Brian, or I’ll tell you guys about it in my Instagram stories.

Get angry

Once I’ve calmed myself enough to rationally think about whatever it was that happened, I usually get angry.

I start thinking things over in my head. Replaying the situation on repeat, wishing I had said X, Y, or Z. Trying to understand how someone could say whatever it was they said, especially if it was a stranger who knows absolutely nothing about me. I may even hide in my car or house and scream at the top of my lungs to let the emotions building up inside of me out. Anger is something I understand. But taking that anger out on another person, especially one you know little to nothing about? I can’t fathom how anyone can do or say cruel things to strangers.

Allow myself to be sad

It takes me time to get over the hurt. For long-term heartbreak, it can be weeks or months or even years. For a slew of slurs? It may take hours or days. For me, it’s kind of a grieving process. I don’t know what exactly I’m grieving when someone verbally assaults me, but it gives me time to let the insults wash through me. The more hurtful, the longer it takes. My eyes live on the verge of tears, but we already know I’m a pretty regular crier as it stands. Brian already calls it my superpower – just like the Hulk, but instead of being always angry, I’m always ready to cry.

Limit social media

If you notice me going dark on social media, it’s likely because I’m taking time for myself. I’m allowing my heart to recuperate without adding the stress and expectation of social media. There’s no contract that says I have to be “on” all the time, and when I turn myself “off” I can recharge in a way that doesn’t add to my anxieties. I think we all need a little bit more of this, honestly.

Power up

I have a Power-Up playlist on YouTube that re-energizes me when I need a pick-me-up. It has empowering songs, like “Brave” by Sara Bareilles. It has happy songs like, “Can’t Fight the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake. And it has songs that just bring me personal joy, like “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon. It’s a fun collection of party pop, alterna-rock, Disney songs, and musical numbers that makes me ridiculously happy. I also use this to rev myself up before a show. It’s amazing what music can do.

Remember the good in humans

You guys are pretty much the best, did you know that? If you’re reading this, you’re probably already on my list of favorite people. My village lifts me up so hard. You remind me that for as many mean people in this world, there are a hundred or even a thousand times as many kind, generous souls ready and willing to share and spread joy. To love. To pass good vibes on to everyone around you. Keep doing that. Because the world needs more people like you.

How do you stay positive when people are mean? What are some of your coping mechanisms for heartache? Let me know in the comments, because I’m always looking for new ways to stay positive.

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!

Some people make me feel uncomfortable

I am often surprised by that which makes me awkward. JK guys. I am the queen of awkward. For all my self-love and confidence, I also know what drops my confidence like it’s hot. I am also acutely aware of things that make me uncomfortable, and I feel like I can’t be alone in this, guys.

As someone who genuinely loves people and surrounds herself with them whenever possible (hello extrovert life), it’s hard to find people that truly make me uncomfortable. I talk to strangers at the grocery store. I get in full-on conversations about Disney with my dental hygienist and physical therapist. So really this list only has a few offenders.

Door-to-door salespeople

Yes, even you, adorable Girl Scout peddling your caramel delights and shortbreads

I really don’t like it when people come to the front door unannounced. Unless you are like family or one of my friends who is like family (at which point, cue DJ Tanner shouting “It’s always open!”), I get a surprising amount of anxiety. Maybe it stems from my very first night alone in our house…or my inability to easily, breezily say “no thank you,” but I cannot handle people at the door.

If Brian (reminder: Brian is an introvert) is home, he is the one to answer the door, because I would much rather hide on the floor, in the back of the house than answer the door.

When I’m home alone, or I’m caught off guard…Or worse, sitting right there with the curtains open…I open the door to find everything from teenagers selling coupon books or kids selling candy to guys wearing neon yellow vests asking me to show them my ComEd bill. It’s really hard to say no to any of them, but the pushy ones (always adults) don’t just take no for an answer. They keep coming at you with details. They compliment your hair or your dog. And distracting you from saying, “goodbye. No thank you.”

So I printed out a sign and taped it to my front door. Because I’m classy. (Mostly because I’m a terrible decision maker and couldn’t find the right sign that compelled me to pay $15, and until I do that, my free print out will do).

Police officers

Especially police officers in cars that are behind me while driving

It’s no secret that I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with the law (all driving related, obvi). And maybe it was that last speeding ticket that really did me in because that police officer was terrifying. But I get SO. MUCH. ANXIETY. when I’m driving and a police officer pulls behind me on the road. I’m just waiting for the lights to flicker and the siren to sound and then I have to come up with an excuse for why I was doing whatever it was they pulled me over for in the first place.

Even when the siren sounds or the lights flicker and I KNOW it wasn’t me (because I’m a surprisingly good driver now), that doesn’t stop the angry tummy of anxiety from greeting me with open arms like a long lost friend.

The other day I was driving home, and I noticed a police officer behind me. And he kept driving behind me as we moved into the next town over…and I was just like, fuck it. And I made my escape. I turned onto the tollway (an unnecessary route for me to drive the few miles to my house, but for me, it was well worth the 70 cents to avoid any further anxiety from being tailed by Chief Wiggum for another three miles).

This morning? Driving Brian to the train, and I drove through a yellow light right behind a police officer. I immediately pulled into the bank on the other side of the light just to let the police officer get a good mile ahead of me before continuing on my route. Illogical, maybe. Unnecessary, definitely. But my peace of mind is important, guys.

Okay gang, now that I’ve rambled on about people that make me feel uncomfortable, let me know in the comments what types of people make you uncomfortable? Or are you an impenetrable fortress of comfort and security?

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!

High-maintenance birthday princess

Guys, it’s May 1st. Which means several things, but mostly, to me, it means the month of my birth. I am finally 100% owning the crap out of my high-maintenance needs as a birthday girl (because this is how I intend to combat birthday anxiety).

Every year on the first day of May, I get inundated with magical emails that offer me free meals, coupons, and gifts for shopping and dining at my favorite businesses.

a list of restaurants and stores that offer free birthday coupons in your email for signing up.

And I am reminded that I’m soon to be another year older.

Another year has gone by in which I haven’t accomplished every goal and dream under the sun. Another year in which I am waiting for X or Y or Z.

And fuck that, you guys. I am done worrying about what hasn’t happened. I am living for what I’m doing right now.

I am so over thinking about what HASN’T come yet. Because it’s time to celebrate what has happened and what is happening. A year ago, I was just on the cusp of something magical — an adventure in improvisation and what a wild ride it’s been.

I’m going to celebrate like a rockstar this year. Because it’s been full of my favorite things. My friends. My family. My love. Improvisation. Writing. Reading. Learning. Dreaming. Disney World (thrice since my last birthday, you guys. THRICE!). Traveling. Adventure. PUPPY. 35 has been good to me.

So cheers to the last month of 35. I’m going to celebrate the crap out of myself this month. I’m going to own my self-dubbed high-maintenance birthday princess title and use all the birthday coupons. I’m going to have fun and enjoy every slice of life that I can grab.

And I intend to welcome 36 in the best way possible. In Ireland. In a castle. Spending my entire day as a princess, obvi. We’ve booked ourselves two nights in a (presumably haunted, because why not, right?) medieval castle B&B/hotel so I can wake up in a castle and go to sleep in a castle on my birthday. It doesn’t get much more high maintenance than that, amiright? So get excited about the coming adventures, because I know I am.

How do you celebrate your birthday? Are you a birthday prince or princess? Do you celebrate a birthday week or month? Let me know in the comments!

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!

Spoiler-free Avengers: Endgame review

I. Am. Shook.

I’m going to keep this review short and sweet and omg-it’s-so-hard-but-Ima-do-it-anyway free of spoilers. If you haven’t already seen End Game, get thee to a theater ASAP…but it would definitely be better if you’ve already seen the first 21 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (I recommend this order). The way End Game ties them all together in this beautifully composed goodbye letter is more than incredible…it’s breathtaking. 20 minutes ago, I bought tickets to see it again. In 20 minutes. So as I quickly draft this review , I’m also preparing myself to see it again, knowing now what I didn’t know last night.

Avengers: Endgame Black Widow

The best way I can sum this up for you without spoilers is in a listicle. So here goes: 8 things to know before watching Avengers: Endgame

  1. There is no room for bathroom breaks. Ignore the articles that tell you you don’t need to see certain scenes. They are wrong. There is nothing you purposely want to miss. So drink minimally and slowly, Avenger.
  2. The beginning packs a punch. We ate in a dine-in theater and I was crying into my fish taco within seconds. To be fair, I immediately knew what was coming thanks to one of Brian’s many predictions that became too real.
  3. The first half is a beautifully weaved build-up to some of the most epic movie scenes I’ve ever witnessed.
  4. Bring tissues. For real. Even Brian teared up a bit. I, the emotional basketcase that I am cried A LOT. Some sad. Some happy. Some just emotional. I won’t tell you whether there was more happy or sad. Because spoilers. Just know that if you cry, you will cry.
  5. If you haven’t seen all or most of the MCU movies, you might want to go back and watch them first. Or wait until the crowds subside. This movie is probably for everyone, but OMG it is MADE for the fans.
  6. You know nothing. Like Jon Snow, you probably think you know everything, but you know nothing. So several of Brian’s predictions came to be true. A couple of mine may have. But neither of us expected how this plot was going to play out.
  7. Be on the lookout for the ultimate girl-power moment. And that’s all I’m going to say.
  8. Go see it as soon as you can. Because the night is dark and full of spoilers. But you won’t find those spoilers here.
AvengersEndgame Poster

Avengers: Endgame

The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios’ grand conclusion to twenty-two films, “Avengers: Endgame.”

Kevin Feige produces “Avengers: Endgame,” and Anthony and Joe Russo are the directors. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo, Trinh Tran, Jon Favreau and Stan Lee are the executive producers, and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely wrote the screenplay.

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!

7 things you can do right now to celebrate earth day

Happy Earth Day friends!⁣

In the last few months, I’ve been making a conscious effort to be a better human. I’ve been trying to use fewer plastics, buy less, recycle more, reuse, repurpose, or upcycle items, and so much more.

When I do anything, I try to think about the implications of my actions on this planet we call home. I don’t know what clicked, but something got me to expand my awareness of our world. And it makes me feel good to be doing something. Brian and I often have extensive conversations about the changes I’m making in our lives, and most of the time he’s on board. When he’s not, it’s because he has come with a counter argument that is well-researched or we look it up together. We’re constantly learning and growing from each other, and it’s magic.

In honor of this very important day of celebrating the earth, I implore you to do one or more of the following things:⁣

1. Recycle your old cell phones. If they’re sitting in a drawer and you’re never going to use them again, it’s time to pack them up and give them them back to the universe and not dumping them in a landfill, where electronics remain the leading cause of toxic waste. ⁣My new phone arrives today, and I’ll be sending my old one back to Sprint to refurbish for someone else.

2. Reuse grocery bags. Instead of accepting more bags from stores and then throwing them away, reuse the ones you already have. Or pull out those dusty promotional grocery bags you get just about everywhere these days and use those. ⁣

3. Minimize your use of single-use plastics. Instead of buying bottled water, fill a reusable water bottle or straw cup. Stop accepting plastic straws with your drinks. Bring your own reusable cup to Starbucks. Use real silverware, dishes and cloth napkins🍽. Start using bar soap without plastic packaging instead of liquid soap in a single-use container. ⁣

4. Donate! Before you Konmarie everything into the trash, consider whether it’s something that someone else might use or buy. Then donate it to your local thrift store or an organization that provides items to those in need. ⁣

5. Consider buying used. Instead of adding to the consumption of new products, buy something that is new to you. I’ve been thrifting a lot lately, and not only has it been saving my wallet, I feel better knowing that someone else’s trash became my treasure. ⁣

6. Go paperless. Call up your financial institutions and other companies and request digital bills and statements. It also makes for fewer stacks of paper piling up on flat surfaces in your home!⁣

7. Plant a tree. Or flowers. Or something. It’s all a part of the circle of life. Don’t you want to bee (pun intended) a part of it?⁣

What other things can you do or are you doing to help the planet? Let me know in the comments!⁣

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!

Things to do in Chicago this spring: City adventures

Greetings fellow adventurers, world travelers, or Chicago natives. Despite the snow-covered flowers from this past weekend, spring — I promise you — is here.

With spring, comes the end of hibernation (or Snowbird) season. And if you’re like me (and the 547 cookies I ate this winter — not counting the two I just had for lunch), you’re probably ready to step out and get active. And I’ve got a list of some super fun things you can check out if you’re a Chicagoland local or considering an exciting visit to the Windy City (highly recommended now that winter is *hopefully* over…just in case, bring a coat. And a light jacket. And an umbrella. And maybe hand warmers…).

Some of these things will help you with that whole getting active thing. Others may deter whatever health resolutions you made for 2019. But it’s fine. Walk it off. Without further ado, here are some of my top picks for things you can do right now (or like, really, really soon) in Chicago(ish). I’ll even break it up for you into two parts: city adventures and suburban treks (coming next week – make sure you’re subscribed). Try both. I promise the suburbs don’t bite. And neither does the city.

City adventures

360 Chicago ($20-$30)

Chrissy in a rainbow dress on the TILT at 360 Chicago
You better believe I dressed to match the TILT, you guys. Dress: Amazon $15; Crinoline: Amazon: $13

I recently attended a sweet media preview at the skyscraper formerly known as Hancock (now officially known by its address, 875 N. Michigan — but like most things in Chicago, we call it what we want because we don’t like change). 360 Chicago is what you get when you ascend the elevator to the 94th floor — a panoramic view of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan, complete with a bar and cafe, activities and entertainment (including yoga!), and my favorite part, the TILT thrill ride.

TILT is a moving window pane that literally tilts you out at a 30 degree angle, 1000 feet over Michigan Avenue (The Magnificent Mile). It’s pretty freaking awesome. I’ve been on it about ten times and probably would have kept going if they hadn’t kicked me off to make way for more people. Tickets to the observation deck are about $20 (buy online in advance to save a few bucks) and $8 extra for the TILT experience (WORTH IT).

Djembe! The Show ($39-$53)

Recently making its U.S. tour debut in Chicago, this interactive storytelling experience is EVERYTHING. First and foremost, this show is a drum-focused musical performance. But it’s so much more than that. Cletus and I had the pleasure of attending a media preview for the show and oh boy did we have a fantastic time.

Djembe! drums in the Apollo Theater lobby
These drums were so much fun to listen to and play with!

Each seat is equipped with a djembe drum because you are a part of the show. The performers will guide you in an interactive drum performance that will leave you breathless (and probably with slightly sore arms unless you’ve been working out all winter — I clearly haven’t).

The empty Djembe! stage at the Apollo Theater
The stage at the Apollo

In addition to the incredible collaborative drumming, there is a beautiful story weaved throughout the show that focuses on the positive and uplifting side of the history, music, and influence of the djembe drum. The music is inspiring, and the storytelling is amazing. I cried. Of course. Djembe! is playing at the Apollo Theater through June 2. Tickets are $39-$53.

She the People

Not sure if you know this about me, but I’ve been studying comedy at The Second City Training Center in Chicago. It’s been a wild ride to be sure, and I am loving every second of it. Part of the ride includes seeing lots of comedy shows, and She the People is truly the best show that I’ve seen at The Second City. I’ve seen it twice, and I’m planning to go again. That’s how good it is.

I laughed. I cried (there are some real moments in here that really spoke to me). I related. It is so freakin’ relatable. It’s feminism with a side of laughter. It’s smartly written and super funny. I only cried like twice. If you’re a woman. If you love a woman or women. This all-female cast sketch show is for you. If you’re a He-man woman-hater, you may want to sit this one out. Go see Djembe again. Or one of the other dozen or so shows playing at The Second City every night. She the People plays Thursday through Sunday evenings in the UP Comedy Club. Tickets are $26-$36.

What are some of your favorite things to do in the city in Spring?

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

How to be a beautiful woman

  1. Be kind. Even to abhorrent individuals who will try to bring you down.
  2. Be able to rise above anyone who tries to tell you that you can’t play on the playground.
  3. Have hope. Because hope makes the world a brighter, more beautiful place.
  4. Know that your face is beautiful because it is uniquely yours. And sometimes you might wear makeup because it’s fun to play with. And sometimes you might not because you don’t feel like you need it or because you’re tired. Or sick. Or you want to see the lines that travel across your face like a map to every emotion you’ve ever had.
  5. Be a feminist. If you want. It’s not required. We’re not pushy around here.
  6. Be angry when you’re angry. You’re allowed to have emotions.
  7. Say what you feel. No one knows what’s happening inside your head or heart until you tell them.
  8. Be you. Always. Unapologetically.
  9. Wear what makes you happy. Allow yourself to be comfortable without worrying what other people think.
  10. Love yourself.
  11. Listen to yourself.

Now, just for funsies, in the comments, tell me at least one (but if you can tell me three, tell me three!) thing you love about yourself right now.

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!

Our Disney adventure in ride photos

I’ve taken the liberty of downloading those bad boys from my last trip (with the indomitable Cletus, who also joined us for the Disney Wojcation in 2017) and placing them here for you to laugh at (or ridicule — either way, I’m going to assume you’re laughing with us…whether or not you are).

You can tell a lot about a person by the photos they take when they’re on a ride. Luckily, because I’m a Walt Disney World annual passholder, I get to keep and cherish all of the ride photos I’ve been on in the last year with Memory Maker.

Cletuses requested approval of any images that went into the video, and he agrees that these are some amazing photos (which is great, because I really didn’t want to have to edit each one with a Mickey Mouse emoji over his face). I have no contractual obligation to the other people in the pictures, so please, also enjoy the ones that made me laugh without their prior written approval. (If you are one of the people in these photos 1. I’m sorry and 2. I’m sorry).

When I was little, I used to count how many rides we got to go on in a day like it was a gigantic feat. Now with the Fast Pass system, Cletus and I are able to double the amount of rides we can get on in a day. And it made for some fun photo ops.

Chrissy and Cletus doing a pose on Expedition Everest
Yes, we rode all the big rides several times on a 5-day trip. We are masters of the Fast Pass+ system. One day, we’ll share our secrets. One day.

Without further ado, I present to you…

How to look awesome (or terrible) in Disney World ride photos

What do you like to do for ride photos (whether they’re at Disney, Six Flags, or another theme park with this option?)

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!