A decade ago

I started 2010 with my favorite people in all the world: my family. We played Wii and ate snacks, and my godson spent the night at my house so he could keep playing video games for a few more hours. He fell asleep to The Doctor Seuss Sleep Book sometime around 3 am, just before all hell broke loose.

Drama ensued with a friend’s ex-boyfriend banging on my parents door while a toddler slept on a blanket bed on my floor.

You might say that the decade began with me realizing the things I wanted in my life and seeing clearly the things I didn’t want.

January 3, 2010 brought a trio of bad January 3rds. In 2010, I lost my boyfriend (got dumped). In 2011, I lost my car. And in 2012, I lost my job. I stopped paying attention to dates after that.

2010 was my experimental year. It was the year I said yes to a lot of different things. I tried on boys and friends and jobs like they were DKNY dresses.

“You know it’s not your style, but it’s right there, so you try it on anyway.” -Carrie Baradshaw

I was still obsessed with Carrie Bradshaw, not yet aware that the character was toxic and self-destructive. Not quite realizing that I, too, was a little on the self-destructive side.

I chased boys instead of dreams. I spread drama instead of joy. I let others dictate who I was instead of shouting from the rooftops that I was the only me there would ever be.

2010 Chrissy and her baby brother

And then on December 15, 2010, I met someone who would become the catalyst that helped me uncover and fall in love with my true self. He didn’t change me. He wasn’t the reason for my transformation. But he did light a fire inside me. A fire that longed to know who I am and what I wanted. A fire that gave me permission to change my mind and build on the dreams I’ve always had with the dreams I create for tomorrow. I am a dreamer, and I will never stop dreaming.

I’ve spent nearly a decade with Brian, and time seems to both fly and last forever – each in the best possible way.

So thanks, 2010s. I still don’t know how to refer to you (the tens? The teens? The 2010s?), but I do know you made me a better, stronger me. You helped me get back to my roots and chase the dreams I’ve long been afraid to chase.

And for the record, I’m still glad I was a boy chaser in the 2000s/aughts/whatever, because we all know I had to chase Brian to the end of a Myers-Briggs test before he finally asked me out.

Happy new year friends! Hope the decade is full of joy and laughter!I know mine was full of joy and laughter…and sadness too.

Here’s a “quick” decade in review after that first year of the teens:

  • 2011: Got a new car
  • 2011: Snowmaggedon
  • 2011: Started dating Brian
  • 2011: Quit the restaurant/bar business forever
  • 2011: Decided I didn’t want to be a teacher
  • 2011:Got my first job in marketing
  • 2012: I was laid off from a job for the first time ever
  • 2012: Brian and I took our first vacation together
  • 2012: I started this blog
  • 2012: I made friends all over the internet
  • 2012: Brian’s mom got sick
  • 2012: I went back to Disney World (and dragged Brian) for the first time in over a decade
  • 2012: Brian and I moved into our first apartment
  • 2013: I started a new marketing job in the city working for Sears
  • 2013: We lost Brian’s mom because cancer is the worst
  • 2013: I started making money on this little blog
  • 2013: Our apartment tried to kill me (and I learned I am highly affected by mold and doctors are the worst)
  • 2014: We moved out of death apartment and temporarily into Brian’s childhood home
  • 2014: We bought a house
  • 2015: I left my job at Sears and started a new gig as a content editor
  • 2015: I lost another car
  • 2015: We got engaged
  • 2016: I attended my first Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop and realized I was, in fact, a feminist
  • 2016: Brian and I were married on a beautiful Friday afternoon in September in a sea of pink and teal
  • 2016: We went to Europe (France, Belgium, and Disneyland Paris)
  • 2016: The world changed a lot with a single election.
  • 2017: I left my job and started chasing all the dreams
  • 2017: Went to Disney World with my family for the first time in 20 years for mom’s 60th birthday
  • 2018: I attended the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop and was inspired to take my first class at The Second City
  • 2018: We adopted our puppy, Lady Nymeria Stark (Nia) and filled our house with joy (and barking)
  • 2018: I had my first several improv performances at The Second City and improved my writing tenfold
  • 2018: I became a WDW annual passholder
  • 2019: I finished the Improv A-E program at The Second City
  • 2019: Brian and I traveled to Ireland and visited the places his parents hailed from.
  • 2019: I auditioned for and got into The Second City music improv program
  • 2019: I started taking classes at Westside Improv
Nearly 2020 Chrissy. Bring. It. On.

Tonight, Brian and I will ring in the next decade together. One of the firsts we haven’t yet shared with each other. We’ll be among friends with a roaring twenties theme and bottles of bubbles.

And I’ll leave you with my hope for your new year. I wish you the best of the next decade and hope that you chase your dreams and live them out. May magic find you every day and may joy fill your hearts.

Happy New Year, friends. Joy and laughter always.

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 advice from a newlywed

So I’ve been thinking. How long do you get to consider yourself a newlywed? Since Brian and I have been married for exactly 365 days (tomorrow is our anniversary), I’m wondering if I can still consider myself a newlywed?

Well, regardless, I thought it was important to impart some very necessary wisdom about marriage that I’ve discovered in the last 12 months of wedded bliss.

Marriage is not work. I don’t care what anyone says. Maybe I’m lucky. Maybe I found the one person in this world who doesn’t drive me quite as crazy as everyone else. Maybe I’m still in the honeymoon phase. Maybe we don’t have children or money problems, which tend to be the heaviest weights on marriages according to a bunch of studies I don’t feel like looking up. But I definitely work harder to keep my laundry clean than I do to stay happy in my relationship with Brian. Thankfully, Brian’s been especially helpful with the laundry.

black and white wedding photo Eskimo kiss

Play is not just for children. It’s so important to have fun in a marriage. Whether we’re going on one of the crazy dates from our date jar, cooking together in the kitchen, putting together furniture, testing out a new game from our massive board game collection, or playing around at the park, our relationship is playful, and laughter is a cornerstone.

bride and groom sitting on a playground dinosaur eating the bridal bouquet

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. If you were following me on social media this summer, you know that I was jetsetting all over the country. From Vegas to Orlando and Boston to Birmingham, I trekked far and wide for work and play. Brian only joined me on the road trips (our kitschy cheese tour of Wisconsin and our annual pilgrimage to stalk Wil Wheaton at Gen Con). But everytime I came home, Brian was at the airport to retrieve me, regardless of what ungodly hour my flights arrived.

Supporting and encouraging each other is one of the greatest gifts you can give. I know I’m lucky to have such a strong group of friends and an amazing family that loves and supports me in everything I do. But Brian pushes me to do the scary things. To take the big leaps. He helps me remember what’s important. And what’s not. And every day, he encourages me to follow my dreams.

bride and groom cutting the top of the cheese wheel wedding cake

Communication requires patience, listening, and the occasional knock knock joke.  Not that Brian or I have ever had a problem communicating with each other. If I told you we don’t fight, you’d laugh and call, “Bullshit.” Or, worse, you’d think there was something immeasurably wrong with our relationship. They must sweep shit under the rug. Bet there’s a ton of unresolved resentment hiding underneath their smiles. And yet, I’m living proof that talking things through when you’re both calmly listening to each other…that’s how compromise happens. And that’s how you can both be satisfied with the results. And really, a good joke is almost always appropriate.

bride laughing during wedding ceremony

Making a cheese platter can relieve stress. I’m not sure this is marriage advice per-say, but it’s sage wisdom nonetheless. Whenever I had a crappy day, Brian would send me flowers…and then I’d come home and make a cheese board. And everything would suddenly seem brighter. Not sure whether it was the flowers or the cheese. But you know. Joy.

Cheese wheel wedding cake

There’s no such thing as the perfect man. But if there was, his name would be Brian…and he would be married to me.

groom with his back to the bride during first look

Happy anniversary to the kindest, smartest, and best partner a girl could ask for. This life that we’ve built together is my favorite place to be.

bride and groom kissing behind huge bridal bouquet

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!

Where is everybody?

This past weekend, Brian and I babysat our 7-week old niece overnight for the first time.

Baby in a little bassinet

Of course, we planned for reinforcements because we’re not crazy, especially since Brian has never been responsible for a child, ever. And it’s been a long time since I’ve even watched a baby.

I invited my cousin and her 3 kiddos (you’ve met them all before in the ridiculously adorable photos of my wedding party and the letter I wrote to my godson, which feels like a lifetime ago) to come play with us. It wasn’t a hard sell because we’re all in love with the little nugget, especially A and Sassafras.

Two older cousins holding their baby cousin

So they came over and hung out, fighting over who got to hold her. Everyone got a turn at least once.

Child holding her infant cousin

When the Little Guy, my ring bearer, walked in, he asked, “Where is everybody? Are they outside? Why’s everybody outside?”

He’s so used to coming to parties at our house that he wasn’t sure how to handle just the 7 of us, as if that were a small number. He kept looking for his grandparents and my parents and other kids, asking when everybody else was coming. Sorry kid, it’s just us.

Preteen staring adoringly at his infant cousin

We played and snuggled the baby. My cousin taught Brian how to change a diaper. We watched some toons and ate pizza. We even let the Little Guy hold her for like a minute.

Toddler holding his baby cousin

And then our reinforcements left. And for us, it was kind of like, “Where is everybody?” Because we were it.

Baby laying in her uncle's lap

She’s already a yoga baby. Brian didn’t think she looked comfortable, but I thought she seemed cozy enough to stretch out. Her mom said it was fine. We texted.

We were on our own for the night shift. Here are a few things we learned about babies from our one-time stint:

They are adorable. Every goofy almost smile. Every tiny hand grasp. Every snippet of tongue she sticks out at you. Totally precious.

They are sassy AF. Apparently, this one only likes to poop in a clean diaper. So you change her diaper, and boom. She’s messed that shit up good. Literally.

They are terrifying. Both Brian and I checked on her several times to make sure she was breathing. Because apparently that’s a thing you do when there’s an infant asleep in your house.

They are keeping Google in business. I can’t tell you how many times I googled if something was normal or how to do something. Where the fuck was Google when I was babysitting in high school?

They are exhausting. Even though she’s just a baby. And even though she only woke up once in the middle of the night and then again early in the morning, we were absolutely beat to hell the next day.

They are loved. Man, if you could see the three children fighting over her, you wouldn’t believe it. It was almost as bad as their mom and I fighting over the last hunk of cheese. And you KNOW that’s serious business.

Sleeping baby face

Tell me friends, what do you know about babies? Now that my brother has a child who he and his lady entrust with me, I need to know everything. 

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!

Stop saying 2016 was the worst year ever

No, seriously. Get the fuck over it. That goes for any year. Every day, week, month, and year has its ups and downs. Every single one. Sure we may have elected well…you know. Sure you may have been sick. Or someone may have died. Maybe even a brilliant musical artist or actor. Or someone hurt your feelings, broke your heart. And it’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to say, “man, this <fill in the blank with an event or something> sucked.”

But for the love of everyone else, stop saying “this year was the worst. This year was horrible. Can this fucking year be over yet?”

No. I’m calling your ass out. Because you know what? For as much shitty bullshit that went down, a lot of happy stuff happened too. And your crappy attitude is only bringing everyone around you down.

Think about people in your life, right now.

How many of them got healthier?

How many of them got married?

Found love?

Found long-lost family?

Got pregnant or had babies?

Got their first job?

Got a better job?

Won something?

Lost weight?

Achieved a goal?

The list keeps going. And all that negative, “this is the worst year ever” naysaying probably makes those people feel pretty shitty. At least that’s what I’m getting out of it.

As someone whose highlight of the year was marrying my own personal Prince Charming, I’ve had enough.

Brilliant, talented celebrities die every year. It sucks, but that does not the worst year ever make.

Shitty stuff happens to individuals, who may personally be experiencing their worst year, but a large percent of the people who are saying it are not among those individuals.

A narcissistic professional bullshitter was elected as president, but you know what? He’s not the president right now. Barack Obama is. And we have a few more weeks to revel in that.

None of that is part of the recipe for the worst year ever.

Our world has survived some pretty awful times. The Holocaust? World War I? World War II? The bubonic plague? The Great Depression? Come the fuck on, people.

Take a look at some of the good things that HAVE come out of this year. I promise it wasn’t all bad. And if it really was 100% terrible, think about how you can take charge of the last couple days of 2016, and find joy for the love of all things. Find joy. And continue that into next year.

Unemployment is down. People are working. People are getting married, making babies, taking control of their health and their lives. They’re finding love. They’re believing in magic. To quote one of my favorite holiday movies, “If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

So open your eyes.

Volunteer your time to help people and organizations. Donate money to causes you believe in. Do something to improve your own life. Just stop bitching about this year, already.

Let’s drink from the glass that’s full, alright?

raising a glass at the head table at our wedding

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!

Meet me under the tallest Christmas tree

I woke up in a hotel in River North the morning after Brian’s work holiday party. I had brought a couple outfits but after the wild night, I was leaning toward a pair of tie-dye yoga pants and a hoodie. Brian steered me away from super comfort and suggested I try something else.

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

He had apparently made reservations at a restaurant called Brunch, where we would soon eat ourselves stupid. “You can’t leave brunch to chance,” said the man who rarely makes reservations for anything.

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

Breakfast nachos at Brunch: a plate of waffle fries, cheese, bacon, and eggs.

And so we went to brunch at Brunch, where they served breakfast appetizers (nachos made from waffle fries and topped with eggs—are you drooling yet?), coffee in thrifted mugs, and the most perfectly poached egg on the planet.

Sleeping Beauty coffee mug

And I thought this mug I had yoinked from the table nedxt to ours was going to be the highlight of my day…

I was slightly suspicious, of course, partially because I had booked the hotel with the hopes that Brian would take the hint and partially because of a group text exchange of some friends who must have forgotten I was in the chat.

I defer to the other two guys: Brian because he has some pretty big plans today...

Oh does, he, Eric?…Big plans, huh? What kind of big plans?

But I had no idea the wild ride I was in for. At Brunch, Brian was distracted. Staring at his phone (which is unusual for him). Furiously texting. I asked who he was talking to and he kinda brushed it off.

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

As we finished our meal, making tentative plans to go to one of the museums, Brian jumped up quickly, stating he had to go to the bathroom as if it were there first time he’d ever done it.

“Okay, ya weirdo.”

I spent my time wisely, screwing around on social media, bragging about the best poached eggs ever on Instagram and showing off last night’s makeup like a rockstar on Snapchat.

Just a selfie of me bragging that I was still wearing last night's makeup.

And then I waited.

And waited. And it got a little weird.

And then it got a lot weird when I looked up to see two of our friends, Eric and Brooke (one of my Something Blue girls). And Brooke had her video camera.

All I could think was, Okay, so it’s happening here. An interesting choice, Brian.

I never expected a big scene or anything. I figured it would be quiet, somewhere nice/special, but mostly quiet. And never on video.

Eric slid in next to me, and Brooke sat down where Brian had been sitting.

“So where’s Brian?”

“Ummmm…the bathroom?”

“I don’t think he’s coming back,” her words were drawn, full of excitement.

“Where’s his jacket?”

“You’re sitting on it.”

Brooke reached into his coat pocket and pulled out an envelope.

Inside the envelope was a note, an Android-compatible usb reader, and a cryptex.

For those of you unsure of what a cryptex is, go back to the The DaVinci Code. That puzzley thing Langdon had to solve? That’s a cryptex.

The note from Brian was a clue to open the cryptex. Eric had the answer (and additional clues), so he could provide hints. Brooke knew nothing, so she could help me solve it.

As we spent an embarrassingly long time trying to solve this puzzle, I figured out how to get the answer, and was about to work it into the cryptex, when I realized, the cryptex numerical combination was still taped to the bottom of the device.

Nailed it!

Inside the cryptex, was a usb memory thingy (which plugged into the cable which plugged into my phone). It was a video from Brian, in which he told me that he planned an adventure and gave me a clue to another location.

This led us to The Looking Glass Theater near Water Tower Place. Upon our arrival, several really excited attendants handed me another cryptex and another clue. I solved this one in approximately 37 seconds, and inside this bigger cryptex was another clue to another location.

Again, it took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out the location, which I knew was at Navy Pier, but had no idea where to go once we got there. As we were walking through the entrance, I mentioned The Crystal Gardens, having gone to an event there years ago. And Eric was like, BOOM.

We made our way up the escalator, and as I looked through the windows,

Oh fuck, my parents are here!

My parents were sitting at a table inside the garden with another cryptex. They also knew the answers and had additional clues for me. Eventually, Brooke solved it, because holy crap it was hard.

Inside the cryptex was a final location clue (and a flower hair clip, because as you can see, there’s room for a flower inside) in which Brian told me to meet him under tallest tree.

I knew immediately we were going to Winter Wonderfest at the end of the pier. My mom had wristbands for all of us to get in, so she led the charge. And we made our way through the restaurants and shops, twisting and turning to avoid crowds.

As we drew closer to the fest, Eric received some intel, and was told to find the man in the blue suit before coming in.

When we arrived an elf in a blue suit greeted us.

“Welcome! Welcome! You must be Chrissy! We’ve been waiting for you! I am the mayor of Winter Wonderfest! Welcome!”

A few other elves, including what appeared to be a reporter elf, appeared, but I looked past them to see Brian, wearing a suit under the giant Christmas tree in the center of the hall.

The mayor took my arm and walked me toward Brian while the other elves cried, “Make way! Make way! Chrissy’s coming through!”

As I walked up to Brian, he pulled out a velvet box with my grandmother’s ring inside it and got down on one knee.

Behind me, I heard someone yell out, “Oh shit! He goin’ to propose!”

Proposal under the Christmas tree at Winter Wonderfest

He asked me to be his bride, and of course, I said yes. We hugged and kissed and then hugged my parents, his brother, amd our freakin’ awesome friends who had joined me on the scavenger hunt.

And then we needed some good pictures, of course. Brian got down on one knee, again, and asked me to marry him, again. And I said yes, again. It was perfect.

After wandering around the indoor fest for a while, the six of us went for champagne and snacks at Riva, a Navy Pier restaurant Brian and I had been to a few years earlier on my birthday.

We even kept the empty champagne bottle until fittingly, our wedding day, when it managed to get tossed out with other bottles in the mass insanity that was my house the morning of the wedding.

And now, a year later, I can look back on that memory my wonderful husband created for us before he was my husband. And Christmas will forever be better than it was before.

What was your proposal like?

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

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue

Man. Our wedding…where to go from cheese? I guess I’ll start by explaining the bridal party. Because that shit got out of control real fast. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

So it all started with the whole picking bridesmaids thing. Which was hard because holy shit I have a lot of amazing friends. And I didn’t want to offend anyone. I also didn’t want to impose on…well…everyone.

And then there was Brian…who only wanted two groomsmen: his brothers. We compromised by making my godson the most handsome junior groomsman to ever exist.

the groom, groomsmen, and junior groomsman at the alter

This photo makes my heart happy.

So I chose two bridesmaids and a matron of honor. Katie was destined to be my MOH from the first day I met her. She even planned a rough draft of her speech 4 years ago when I begged her to guest post on this little ole blog. I always knew my cousin Rachel would be one of my bridesmaids, and my post-college bestie, Ally, was a perfect complement to the other two.

we took wedding photos at a playground, and had so much fun on the purple dinosaur.

Ally’s outgoing personality balanced Rachel’s and Katie’s introvertness. We all had a blast.

I invited the three of them over with Brian’s brothers for some quality wedding planning time, and invited them to be my bridesmaids with a super fun little puzzle gift (when I tell you about our engagement, this will make more sense. Hold tight, y’all. That’s coming soon to a QC near you).

My bridesmaid proposal included pink gerber daisies in pink vases, Sweethearts candies, heart-shaped rings, a message in a bottle, and a scrabble tile unscramble

The message in a bottle had song lyrics with a different song memory for each maid. Once they named the song, I handed them the scrabble tiles, and they had to unscramble the word. I made them work for it, y’all.

But what about the other super important people in my life? Cletus and Mark were always going to be bridesmen in my wedding, and I knew I had to make it happen. I told them and my brother that they were ushers, but let’s be honest here, guys…they were absolutely my bridesmen. You may be asking why there are only two men in this pictures…the answer is complicated, but it ends with a really handsome baby boy who I will convince to call me Crazy Auntie Chrissy, just as I do with all the tiny humans I love.

My bridesmen kissing me on the cheek at the wedding

I love these guys.

And then my girls. I’ve stood up in three weddings. I have some amazing family. And oh-mah-gah what would I do without some of these other women in my life? So I created a whole new category of the bridal party.

Standing with my something blue crew, all wearing teal dresses

We never actually got one picture with everyone included, but it’s totally okay. There are two women not pictured-one who was unable to make it at the last minute (another baby was born just a few weeks earlier and something came up for them) and another hadn’t arrived when these photos were taken (she ALSO had just had a baby. SO MANY BABIES!), but she was in some of the later pics!

I called them my Something Blue Crew, and they were magical. Because my colors were pink and teal, I asked my bridesmaids to do the whole official same dress thing in the pinkest pink I could find, and then I asked the Blue Crew to wear something teal.

I printed poems and messages on cardstock to ask my Something Blue Crew to be a part of my wedding

I wrote a silly little rhyme-y poem and either mailed or hand-delivered these, depending on whether the girls lived out of town.

The little poem:

I love you dearly, this I know.
Best friendship, clearly, is no joke.
Though I can’t have you by my side,
Your importance can’t be denied.
Because you’re special in my life,
When Brian makes me his new wife,
I want to celebrate with you.
Will you please be my something blue?

I wanted to make sure that my Something Blue Crew knew that they were a special part of my world, so I went to eBates, and ultimately Mixbooks, to create my invitations. I wrote the poem and the blurb at the bottom, and was super excited about it.

As I spoke with each girl, I was thrilled that they were just as pumped about it as I was. Essentially, they were bridesmaids without the responsibilities. They didn’t walk down the aisle, but they were introduced at dinner. They were invited to the rehearsal, but not required. They didn’t have to go buy crazy fancy dresses and shoes or get their hair and nails done, but some of them did. And they all looked perfect.

The kids were also spot on. My sassy little niece nailed it as the flower girl with the rando basket I had from an old Halloween costume that I wrapped ribbon around. And my AMAZING floral friend plucked rose petals for her to throw.

The flower girl threw pink rose petals

She was so afraid of running out of flowers that she only dropped a few at a time.

Our ring bearer nailed it. He made it all the way up the LONG aisle without hesitation. And with full-on cuteness. I even found him the most perfect toddler tuxedo on Amazon.

Our ring bearer had a sign that said "Has anybody seen the rings?" and dragged the ring pillow behind him.

At two years old, we didn’t think our ring bearer should carry the ring, but we did give him a fun sign and tied the pillow to his wrist so he could drag it the whole way down the aisle.

He and his sister had a blast.

The ring bearer and flower girl walking back up the aisle

The ring bearer’s sign was double-sided, so on the way back, we switched it.

And they were all there with me on Brian’s and my day.

the full bridal party with bride, groom, groomsman, bridesmaids, ushers/bridesmen, something blue crew, flower girl, and ring bearer.

And the colors turned out to be my best, happiest, most wonderful dream come to life.

Magic.

Wedding photography courtesy of Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

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 Cheesy Wedding

So, I’m thinking on Wednesdays, I’m going to try posting little snippets and tidbits from our wedding, mostly because THERE’S SO MUCH TO SHARE, and I really don’t want to overwhelm y’all.

I figured the best place to start is with our wedding theme…which came together at the very last minute.

It all started with a cheese cake. A cake made of cheese wheels. Both Brian and I aren’t big fans of cake, and the thought of tasting tons of cake and paying for tons of cake when that’s not what we wanted was less that desirable. I originally thought cheesecakes, but Brian doesn’t like those, either.

Cue big giant wheels of my favorite thing on the planet (Brian not withstanding), and we had ourselves a cake that dreams are made of.

If you love cheese as much as I do, I highly recommend the cheese-themed wedding.

Originally, I had planned to vet the wheels, find the cheapest prices, order them, and set them up, all by myself. Basically, pre-wedding me was insane. (You’re going to see as this series unfolds that people like me aren’t DIY experts, so if you’re looking for those kind of wedding planning tips, you’re in the wrong place, my friends. If, on the contrary, you’re looking for realistic, I-paid-someone-to-do-it and I-have-the-best-friends-on-the-planet advice, I’m your gal.)

About two months before the wedding, I realized I was crazy and definitely didn’t want to add more to my to-do list, so I called Whole Foods Orland Park. I knew they had a kickin’ cheese selection and there was one near the wedding venue. I worked with two unbelievably wonderful people in the cheese department, and they were just as excited about our cheese cake as I was.

No cheese themed wedding is complete without wheels of cheese...

Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography. The piece de resistance of our wedding was definitely the cheese wheel cake. Some people thought it was a cake made to look like cheese, but no. It was a cake made of cheese. Obvi. Laura decorated the cheese table and added the extra flourishes, accoutrements, and MORE CHEESE.

I’m so glad I called them because it turned out to be one of the best wedding experiences I had with vendors. After some back and forth with the cheese selections, in which they sent pictures and prices, and I asked for changes a few times, we finally had a pretty good idea of what we were going to choose, and I thanked them for their patience.

They invited me down to Orland Park for a cheese tasting, and I was already in love. Brian had zero interest in most things wedding, so I brought my pal Laura, who is a godsend and amazing. She managed a significant number of day-of wedding details for me, did my flowers, candy buffet, and handled the cheese cake.

Our wedding cake was three tiered cheese wheels. This was the demo from Whole Foods.

Whole Foods set up a clothed table with a sign that said, “reserved for the future Mr. and Mrs. Woj” and flowers and little place settings. They set up a cake with the wheels we had chosen so we could see and touch.

At Whole Foods, we tasted all three cheeses: Marieke Gouda, a young Manchego, and a Petite Basque, and they even paired the cheese with three glasses of wine. After I placed my order (in which I got 10% OFF for buying whole wheels), they handed me a lovely goodie bag with Whole Foods treats and beauty samples as a thank you to their bride. OMG I died. It was about a month before the wedding and I had yet to feel super duper special with any of the wedding vendors I was working with. None of the bridal events I attended were even close to this magical.

You can ask your cheese vendor to make shaped displays with goat cheese.

Laura made Whole Foods turn cranberry goat cheese into beautiful heart-shaped displays. There was one on the head table just for us, too. It was fucking perfect. Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

As the wedding day drew near, I stumbled across mini cheese grater favors. We had planned to donate to a charity in lieu of favors, but once I saw those, I knew what I needed to do.

If you're going to have a cheese themed wedding, you need to have cheese grater favors.

Mama Bear tied ribbons around each grater the week before the wedding, and Ally, my night before slumber party bridesmaid, handled the sticking of the names on the grater boxes at midnight the night before the wedding. Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

A week before the wedding, I also decided to make Snapchat geofilters, which is SO EASY.

We created Snapchat Filters for our cheesy wedding

Two of my Something Blues (More on that next week) using the Snapchat filters I made.

I had also thrown around the idea of naming tables instead of numbering them…but I was lazy and just kept putting it off. Until the day before the wedding. Brian was printing table names and labels for the favors with guest names and their tables. I was just trying not to freak out because it was 1 o’clock in the morning.

We named our tables after cheeses

The hardest part was coming up with the 28ish different cheese names for the tables…Laura managed all the centerpiece decorations and shit. Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

But it all came together so nicely. And cutting the cake WAS THE MOST FUN THING EVER.

As I was cutting the cheese cake with my new husband., we kept laughing

Take note: It’s surprisingly hard to cut into a giant wheel of cheese. I recommend a practice cut. We were supposed to cut into the bottom layer, but that was not happening, so the top layer got the knife instead. Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

Taking a bite out of a big hunk of cheese makes for an awesome cake cutting ceremony at a wedding.

I could not. Stop. Laughing. Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

Our cake cutting was hilarious. Because the cake was made of cheese.

You guys. We cut the cheese at our wedding. We CUT. THE. CHEESE. Photo by Andrew DiMonda of Xcite Photography.

And THAT’S how you have a cheesy wedding.

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!

Real Talk About Babies

So, now that we’re married, Brian and I have been having the baby conversation. You know, because we’re not spring chickens or anything. Note, before we get things going here: I AM NOT PREGNANT. Okay good. Glad we got that out of the way.

Our youngest wedding guest

This was our youngest wedding guest. I’m just smitten with the little boy I call Cap’t.

The conversation has kinda gone something like this.

Me: Brian, I want a little girl. If I don’t get a little girl, it’s all. your. fault.

Brian:  Oh really?

Me: Yep.

Brian: I see.

And, sometimes, it goes like this:

Me: Do you want a girl or a boy?

Brian: It’s probably cliche, but I don’t really care, you know, if it’s healthy. Some people really want, like, a mini me.

Me: …

Brian: You know like a miniature version  of themself…

Me: …

Me: starts nodding enthusiastically

Brian: I take it that’s what you want?

Me: Don’t YOU want a Mini-Me? Not like a Mini-You…a Mini-Me. A Mini-Chrissy. Can’t you just imagine living with two of us!?

Brian:…

And SOMETIMES, it goes like this:

Me: I want all the babies!!

Brian: Oh yeah?

Me: Yep. I want a Mini-Me and a little boy who loves me forever. And what if our first little girl is nothing like me? We’d obviously have to try again. You know, until we get it just right.

Brian:…

And then there are the times it goes like this:

Me: Brian, will you still love me if I get pregnant and am totally crazy?

In other news, I think he’s warming  up to the idea of us getting a dog.

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!

Perfect Date Ideas if Killing a Man Sounds Like a Hot Date

A few weeks ago, we had our first shower. It was lovely, and Brian’s family is wonderful, and I love them. 

Wedding shower games: Date Jar

One of the activities at said shower was a Date Jar. It was super adorable and everyone seemed to really enjoy participating. So, of course, I thought it would be fun to read them all aloud. 

And I was right.

Lots of perfect date ideas ensued, including recreating our first date, heading to an escape room, eating cheese, doing yoga, and playing Scrabble, and hunting Pokemon (which I had then yet to download). 

Wedding shower games: Date Jar date suggestions  (cheese tour, coupled yoga)

Luckily for everyone, though, there were a couple real gems that had us all laughing…and me admitting to probably a little too much. 

Netflix and Chill

YOU GUYS. I HAD NO IDEA WHAT NETFLIX AND CHILL MEANT. I mean I knew by the time I read it on the date jar. But it was maybe…two months ago that I learned what it meant. I always thought it was just…snuggling up with the couch (sometimes by yourself,  other times with anyone who doesn’t want to be productive) and binge watching Netflix.

While at a friend’s house, I discovered a whole new meaning of the phrase during a group conversation. Apparently, it’s code for come over and ahem make out and bang. A light bulb went on above my head and I was like whaaaaaat?
And so, being the completely improper lady that I am, I took it upon myself to explain to Brian’s family what Netflix and chill meant, and that I had just recently learned about it. I mean, if that’s the most inappropriate thing I did, I think I did okay. 

Make a Blanket Fort and Watch Movies

This was just one of my favorites. No funny business here. Because blanket forts are AWESOME. 

Bring one of your favorite movie scenes to life

I’m thinking Brian’s going to veto sitting on the dining room table kissing over a birthday cake (mine would be cheesecake). And he’s probably going to say no when I call him farm boy and boss him around. 

Wedding shower games: Date Jar date suggestions  (blanket forts, Netflix and chill, reenact a movie scene)

And then there was this one:

Wedding shower games: Date Jar date suggestions  (kill a man?)

After the initial omg reaction, Brian and I started coming up with ways to kill a man without actually injuring an actual human. We could play Clue and kill Mr. Body in the library with the wrench. We could watch a movie on Netflix that has someone else killing a man. The creative possibilities are endless. 

What are some of your favorite date ideas? Did you know what Netflix and chill meant?

This post is part of my partnership with Netflix as a member of the stream team. I received a year’s subscription of Netflix and a device on which to binge watch shows like Gilmore Girls. As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

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

I’m Not Normal

“You’re not normal.”

“I know.”

“That’s why you love me.”

“It really is.”

I’m so lucky, you guys, to have someone like Brian who not only loves how weird and me I am, but encourages me to let my freak flag fly.

adorable engagement photo with board games and a picnic

Photo credit: Being Joy Photography

I wasn’t always this sparkly, shiny ray of positivity that make my coworkers think I’m in my early to mid twenties (bless their wonderful hearts-and not in a sarcastic way). But something about Brian (who is not sparkly or shiny, by the way) makes me want to be better. Makes me see the world from another angle. It gives me hope. It puts my faith in humans. It helps me believe in magic when most would say that magic isn’t possible.

My dad used to say to me, “Christine, you’re really book smart, but sometimes your common sense could use a little help from your brain.” I never took offense at this, because, let’s be honest, I’m a little bit flighty. I walk into no parking signs when I’m too busy looking at my phone. I drive my car into the middle of a snow bank. It took me three months to realize I had gotten my period. But you have to be flighty if you’re ever going to fly. Too much logic can kill imagination. And I happen to love my imagination. My little world, where skies are pink and I’m a cool girl. Where I create a snow beach in my parents’ front yard. Or where I cry at Disney World because I’m so happy and overwhelmed with memories that I can’t think straight.

Brian was baffled when I told him he was partially to blame for my rose colored glasses. “But I’m not that happy or positive.”

He doesn’t realize it’s not his demeanor that emboldens me to dream big and picture all the wonderful magical things I can do. It’s how he sees me. It’s how he tells me that I can do all these amazing things. He believes in me. He thinks I’m adorable. He encourages me, and he inspires me. And he’s everything I ever wanted or needed in a partner.

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!