Princess for a day in Kinnitty Castle

After our adventures in Dublin, it was time to kick back and relax in a haunted castle for my birthday (as one does). We rented a car as we made our way out of the city center, and I took the right-sided helm.


A two-minute look at some of our adventures in Kinnitty Castle

For better or worse, we were on our way to one of the many haunted spots in Ireland — and planning to spend two nights in said hotel. Because I had every intention of spending my birthday like the high-maintenance princess that I am.

The drive itself was uneventful, but upon arrival, we got a glimpse of our lodging for the next couple of days.

Why yes, this is where I spent my birthday

With an epic view from the road, Brian and I just kept “holy crapping” our way up to the front gate. This was where we were staying for the night?

We were welcomed to Kinnitty Castle Hotel and told that our room wasn’t quite ready yet, but we made reservations for my birthday dinner the next evening in the hotel restaurant and made our way to the first of two bars in the castle. The Library Bar was a welcoming mish-mosh of weathered furniture (sofas, tables, and chairs) and old tomes lining the shelves.

We quickly discovered the entire place was full of quirky antique decor that added charm to an already incredible venue. I was here for all of it.

We had drinks in the library while we killed time before the Dungeon Bar opened. Upon opening, we made our way downstairs to the dungeon for lunch. Embracing the kitschy theming, we found a dark dungeon nook just waiting for us to occupy it.

Kinnitty Castle Dungeon Bar cellar table
Kinnitty Castle Dungeon Bar

Our bartender/server ended up being our favorite staffer in the hotel (everyone was truly kind, though!) and she spent time telling us about the hotel and just chatting with us about anything and everything. We saw her a few more times throughout our stay and she was wonderfully sweet and engaging. She also promised that the hotel was indeed haunted and that she had her share of spooky moments. I knew then I was going to scare myself into imagining something if nothing ended up being in our room…

Before dinner, we wandered the grounds and planned to take one of the walking loops. We found all sorts of neat slugs and snails (you guys there were seriously slugs every couple of feet and inches in some areas! It was so weird and awesome).

Slugs are so creepy, but they’re also so cool!

And then we accidentally hiked through part of the Slieve Bloom Mountains (we kept getting higher with no turn in sight. Eventually, we turned around to make it back in time before dinner service ended — this turned out to be a common issue in our Ireland travel…food service stops at 9 in most restaurants). If there’s anything Brian and I are good at when we travel, it’s getting ourselves a little lost and calling it an adventure!

That night, we played card games in the Dungeon bar until it closed and then in the library until well past midnight before quietly tiptoeing the creaky floors of our room.

I am kind of obsessed with this gif Brian made. I was deep in focus, and he was royally kicking my ass (hence the death glare). I don’t know if he said something or what, but I just love him.

It was at this point that I started worrying myself into a tizzy. What if there ARE ghosts? Throughout the night (including one wake up in the middle of the night bathroom check), I thought I may have heard creaks and noises, but I am about 90% sure they were all in my head. No hauntings for us. Which, to be honest, was probably for the best since we still had another night left in us.

I woke up the next day to embrace that birthday princess life, and what a magical day it was. I disneybounded as Princess Aurora in two different outfits (of course).

Living that Nap Queen life. Wake up in a castle. Eat. Nap. Repeat.

First, up was breakfast in my Ralph Breaks the Internet loungewear. Breakfast at Kinnitty Castle was amazing. It was definitely the best Irish fry that we had throughout our trip (and omg the brown bread was addictive here). For those who don’t know what an Irish breakfast consists of:

  • Eggs
  • Bangers (Irish breakfast sausage)
  • Rashers (Irish bacon — imagine marrying Canadian bacon to American bacon in one full slice)
  • Black and white pudding (bready sausages, sliced and fried)
  • Some combination of tomatoes, mushrooms, and or onions
  • Baked beans in tomato sauce

Basically, happiness.

After breakfast, I realized I was still beaten up from jet lag and opted for a two-hour nap. Because it was my birthday and I was wearing a shirt that said Nap Queen. It felt appropriate.

Nap time for this princess

We then left our castle to go to another castle (appropriate), Birr, where we toured fancy gardens that reminded me of our arboretum and saw what was, for over 70 years, the largest telescope in the world (science!). The castle itself was still lived in – remember our awesome server in the Dungeon Bar? She told us that her friend used to work at the cafe of Birr Castle and said that the residents of the castle insisted on being called Lord and Lady, and the way she said it had us giggling a little too much.

Princess for a day in Kinnitty Castle

We returned to our home castle in time for an incredible birthday dinner at the Sli Dala (the fine dining restaurant open on the weekends for dinner). This was the best meal that we had in Ireland, and I was in absolute heaven. When they arrived with dessert, they came in singing with a candle in my torte, but Brian was nowhere to be found. They stopped halfway through the first line, and I started laughing.

The server who was holding the cake looked at his empty seat, said, “uhh this is awkward,” and blew the candle out. I told him my husband had stepped out for a minute. Just as they turned around to leave, with me laughing like a hyena, Brian returned to his seat. They started again and I just laughed through the entire thing. It was perfect.

We finished our meal and went down to the bar for live music and after dinner drinks before calling it a night and preparing for the third leg of our trip. Overall it was a fine birthday adventure for this girl, and definitely one I’ll never forget. Level 36, bring it on.

Woke up in a castle. Went to sleep in a castle. Best birthday ever.
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!

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!

The best four days in gaming

Every year, I trek down to Indianapolis for four nights to play as many games and see as much cool stuff as I possibly can at Gen Con, a board gaming convention. This year was no different. Brian and I made our way down to Indy, where I played dress up a few times, demoed/played 22 games (I have a crazy New Year’s resolution to play 365 games including 100 unique games and 25 games that I own that we’ve never played, so this was a good booster because I’m super far behind. Puppies make board gaming hard), and shopped, well, not a lot, but a little. Since quitting my job, we’re kind of on a budget or something like that.

Games and swag I picked up at Gen Con 2018

I did buy some games and some jewelry, but I also managed to win a few games and walk away with a number of promo cards and decks too. And my friends over at Goliath hooked me up with copies of a couple new games from Games Adults Play and Pressman featured at the con as well!

I made a little video to show you the games I picked up. There’s party games for everyone as well as some fun, unique strategy games for more advanced gaming. Links to the games are below the video and on the YouTube page if you want to check them out for yourself (Some of them are affiliate links, which will earn me a teensy commission if you make a purchase!)

Oregon Trail: Journey to Willamette Valley

Dwar7s Winter

Lucky’s Misadventures Episode 42: Lost in Oddtopia

Argent the Consortium

Last Night on Earth

Machi Koro: Bright Lights Big City

Elemental Conflux

Friend or Faux

What Do You Meme?

Stupid Deaths

Pantone the Game (available for preorder)

Disney’s Villainous

Which of these games looks most interesting to you?

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!

Monkeying Around

Well hey there, blog friends! Long time no see. I took a bit of a breather for the holidays, started making some plans, and started implementing some plans. And now I’m back. With something a little different.

I’ve been wanting to dabble in video for a while now. I’ve got this weirdly popular video on YouTube about finding sand dollars on the beach in March Island, but other than that I’ve just uploaded silly stuff, like the time I met Steve the Sloth and gave him three pets instead of two or when we went to the New Orleans bug museum and saw two turtles gettin’ it on.

The point is that I want to dabble in something a little more specific. A little more me, even. So I figured I’d pull an idea my bestie Cletus came up with back in our college days. He called it 60 Seconds of Chrissy. And I shall too.

60 Seconds of Chrissy will be a little snippet of my adventures clipped to a mere 60 seconds. Brevity is not my strong suit, so this will be a learning experience for everyone. But I’ll also come back here to the blog and give you a little more story behind the video if there is one.

For the first video, I’ve gone ahead and put together a little montage of that one time we went to a high ropes course with ziplining, right here in the western suburbs of Chicago called GoApe. They have a number of courses around the country, so there may even be one in your backyard too.

I was excited and nervous, and we spent a glorious 4+ hours sweating our brains out and adventuring high in the trees. Most of the adventure was pretty run of the mill, and I surprised myself by walking some of the course without holding on to the ropes. In many cases, you had the option of taking the “hard” path or the “easy” path, and 90% of the time, I took the easy path.

The one exception was the Tarzan swing near the end of the course, which you’ll see in the video below. What you won’t see in the video is the number of times I counted out 3-2-1 go…and didn’t go. Or the aftermath.

Well, here’s the video first. Then we can talk about the aftermath.

 

“Fuck me.”

Yep. That’s exactly how I felt. Because as it turns out, I had gone and fucked myself. With my lack of upper body strength (y’all I have leg strength like nobody’s business, but my arms and core need some serious help), I was unable to attach myself to that spiderweb of rope to climb up to the tower where Brian was standing. To add insult to injury, the harness I was wearing was uncomfortably digging into my body, so I was also in pain.

And that’s when the screaming began.

30 feet above the ground, hanging from some cables, and sitting in a harness, I had a panic attack. I felt like I was stranded and there was no way out. I needed help, but I didn’t know if help would ever come. I was helpless and afraid and screaming to get me out of there. What felt like an eternity later, a woman showed up to assist me. Apparently, I wasn’t the first to get myself stuck on the Tarzan swing. The woman hooked up a third harness dealie, and pulleyed it up to me. I connected to it, and she was able to help move me over to the tower and up just enough that I could crawl onto the platform.

I was ashamed, embarrassed, and feeling pretty low. Would I even finish the course?

And then I remembered that I’m resilient as fuck, and I finished the last two paths across the trees and the final zip line. And that zip line reminded me that I could jump again, even when the last jump failed me. And after watching that 60-second video? I feel like a bad ass mother who won’t take no crap off of nobody.

So, YouTube is doing this thing where small content creators aren’t going to be able to make money off their piddly little videos anymore unless they have over 1,000 followers of their channel. Would you do me a solid and subscribe?

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 visit Disney World without killing your family

Clark Griswold is my spirit animal. So when I got to spend part of the holiday season in Disney World with my family, I was in heaven. It was like Christmas Vacation AND Vacation in one hotel suite. Without Cousin Eddie.

We spent a magical 8 days in Orlando as my mom and I dragged our entire family to Disney World for her 60th birthday. Even though I’d just been there in June, I was fucking pumped. My family hadn’t been on a trip together since The Worst Thanksgiving Ever AKA The Worst Vacation Ever. We hadn’t been to Disney World together since 1998. And did I mention there was an adorable 9-month-old baby in tow?

Taking a baby to Disney World

My dad loves that little Nugget so much.

Somehow, all 7 of us managed to crash in the same hotel suite for most of a week and not kill each other. To be perfectly honest, I’m surprised that I don’t have more interesting tales of drama and/or homicide to regale you with from our trip. I was most concerned about being in a hotel room with Mom because she and I get along smashingly when we don’t live together, but put us in the same space for more than a few hours and smashingly turns into smashing things (love you, MOM!). Apparently, being in the happiest place on earth meant that both Mom and I were in our happy place and nothing could stop us from enjoying every freaking minute of it. Mom was only there for the first three days of the trip, culminating with her birthday party at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Look how happy she looks on Day 1!

Parents kissing under mistletoe magic shots Disney World

Day 1: Aren’t my parents the most adorable ever?

The best part? She was just as happy on Day 3, and I was just as thrilled to be there with her. Dad, on the other hand, was sick to death of taking fucking pictures (he may have told me so the next day).

Mom and daughter hugging under mistletoe magic shots Disney World

Day 3: Wearing our jams at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

But how did we all manage to share the same space for a week and not kill each other? Here are 5 ways we did it.

    1. Don’t all travel at the same time. I think if everyone had gotten on the same plane at 5:30 in the morning, there would have been even more crankiness, even if we were all drinking bloody Marys because Southwest is the best. Alas, Brian and I flew at the crack of dawn (yes that meant a 3 AM cab to the airport) with my parents, landing at a respectable 9:30 in the morning. My brother, Anna, and the baby flew in on an afternoon flight that allowed them the time they needed to get their little nugget prepped for her first flight. On the way home, it was just my brother, Anna, Nugget, Brian, and me. Mom left earlier in the week and Dad left the day before we did.
    2. Don’t feel obligated to follow the same schedule or plan. Originally, Mom and I were going to Disney on our own the first day, but Dad decided to join us. This was one of those days that will forever be with me. It was magic. Brian, on the other hand, needed time to decompress from the flight, so he stayed back at the hotel waiting for the rest of the fam. My brother and dad were originally going to go with us to Universal Studios, but they ended up staying back at the hotel with the nugget so Brian, Anna, Cletus (one of my besties and bridesmen, who happened to be in Orlando for a conference at the same time we were there), and I could revel in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (more on that later). Mom decided she didn’t want to go to Animal Kingdom, so she met the rest of us at EPCOT later. It all worked out, and everyone got to relax when they wanted to.
    3. Do plan some time for yourself. I know me, you guys. I know that I’m the only one in her right mind who can do 7 days in a row of theme parks. I also know that I need to be able to do what I want to do when I want to do it. In June, I learned that Disneying on my own is AH-MAZING, and so I planned an entire day by myself before my family joined me around 4 PM. I went to a character breakfast, dined with Prince Eric, met more characters, took some photos, ate lots of delicious things, and just enjoyed the things I knew my family didn’t care about. Meanwhile, back at the suite, my family slept in, had a pool day, and relaxed before the Christmas Party.
    4. Do mix up who you spend your time with. You don’t all have to be together at the same time in the same place. Have a few set plans in place (We had dinner at Biergarten designated months prior, and we knew that Mom wanted a night picture in front of Cinderella’s Castle), but then feel free to split up and enjoy smaller group time.
    5. Do make sure everyone has food when they need it. A lot of unnecessary fights happen when people are hungry. My brother was ready to kill everyone when he felt like he hadn’t had a decent meal in days (he wanted to sit down and eat something that he liked, and we had been doing a lot of quick-serve snacks that day), and as soon as we got him delicious Chinese food, he was happy again. Also, if you’re into it, booze helps too. There are a ridiculous number of delicious drinks to try and not nearly enough time to try them all!

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Family in front of Magic Kingdom Entrance with Magic Shot
Merry Holidays from my family to yours! And if you want to get on our Christmas card list, this is your last chance to drop your address in the Google form. I’m mailing cards on 12/16!5 tips keep your sanity on a family trip to Disney World

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 I ended up in the worst neighborhood in Orlando

Umm… Hi. If you’re looking for the post about Mary Poppins, it’s here. Sorry for the error in linking! If you want to hear about crazy magic in Orlando…keep reading.

It had been a busy week of anxiety and blog conference nonsense. Work was stressing me out to the max. I was in the middle of a month of travel (15 out of 26 days, to be exact), having returned from Vegas two days prior to my Orlando departure, and the exhaustion was starting to wear on me. But I was finally having a magical night thanks to some friends and a fabulous twinkle skirt. We were closing down the BlogHer dance party, and some of those friends got together at the end of the evening and said, “You know what, gang? This just isn’t doing it for us. Let’s get outta here and do something crazy!”

I believe it was Mary who suggested we hit up a local private-room karaoke bar that she had googled. It was only a 5-minute Uber from the hotel we were staying at. I hemmed and hawed something about needing to wake up for an early morning press trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but in the end, I decided that I needed a “Yes!” moment. And so I said yes. I went up to change out of my now sweaty AF skirt and finish packing for my flight the next day.

We met down in the lobby a half hour later, and I hailed the car that would take Mary, Kristen, Lea, Brea, and me on quite the adventure.

We had been driving for about 7 minutes when I looked at the map on my Uber app. “Hey uhh, guys…I don’t think this is quite as close as we think it is. We’re still about 35 minutes out…”

It was at this point that we thought it might be best to ask the driver about our destination, an address on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando.

“Is the area we’re going to an okay part of the city?”

The driver gave a vague answer, at best, but he was hinting that it wasn’t really the best area for a group of women set to arrive just before 11 pm. We kept probing, spending the next half hour debating whether to turn around and find a different bar to spend the evening. By the time we arrived at Q Karaoke, we noticed the area was definitely the type of place we wouldn’t want to find ourselves stranded on a rainy night. Very desolate, few businesses open, and the ones that were closed were barred up. The bar itself was in the middle of an empty-looking strip mall with the neon lights of an exotic clothing store at the helm. The driver offered to take us back to our hotel, but we persevered.

one-way street sign

We decided to scope the place out. A few of us went inside, asked about prices and took note of the surroundings. It seemed innocuous enough, and so we opted to stay…until 1:30 in the morning. As shady as it seemed, we had A BLAST. Our little gang of singers had an unbelievable time busting out some of the most ridiculous and amazing karaoke tunes that we could muster. If you’ve never tried private-room karaoke, I highly recommend it. The lights flashing and the room jiving was everything. If my twinkle skirt didn’t make me feel alive this adventure sure did.

As we called our next Uber for the ride home, we were flying high on adrenaline and friendship. A night that surely wouldn’t be forgotten. When our driver arrived to pick us up, he seemed surprised to be collecting 5 30-something-year-old women, and we, of course, asked him about our location. He pointed out a few things that we had missed on our way in (a woman who was likely a prostitute, different establishments, etc) and told us that they called this stretch of road the OBT, known for the violence and crime rates. He even mentioned a recent murder that had occurred.

Welp. We survived that one, guys. 

We made our way safely back to the Hilton and hugged goodbye to each other until our next adventure. I proceeded to ask my next two Uber drivers about the OBT, and both were as surprised as anyone that we were hanging out down there. My driver on the way to the airport just shook his head and smirked like I was crazy.

I love saying yes to adventure.

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!

Hot mess airplane travel tips

I feel like I haven’t been home in ages. My adventures have kept me going going going like the energizer freakin’ bunny from Vegas to Orlando to the weird depths of Wisconsin. And I have SO MUCH TO TELL YOU about said adventures. But first, I really needed to throw down some serious advice. Because tonight I’ll be on another plane, and I definitely needed a reminder on proper travel etiquette (and not fucking shit up) because this one’s a work trip. You know what a hot mess I can be, so I devised a set of rules (which, let’s be honest here, I break every now and then) in order to prevent myself from being a complete douche in the air.

Southwest new planes

I was so stupid excited to fly on one of Southwest’s new fancy planes, you guys. My next flight was almost a disappointment because I missed the newness so much.

Without further ado, here are my top airplane travel tips if you’re anything remotely close to a hot mess like me.

Drink clear liquids

Go ahead and have that cocktail on the plane. Especially if you fly often enough that Southwest sends you a regular supply of free drink tickets. Or you just know when to procure free drinks from Southwest. Or if you’re fancier than me and have one of those preferred statuses that gets you free cocktails whenever you want. But for the love of God, whatever you do, make sure it’s clear.

Bubbles on Southwest

It was Southwest’s birthday. And on Southwest’s birthday, everyone (of age) gets a free drink! I like to celebrate with bubbles, and so bubbles it was.

Vodka and soda? Check. Tonic? If you’re into that sort of thing, sure (gross, but it’s cool). White wine? Clink Avoid red wine at all costs. You may even want to skip the whiskey, depending on what you’re wearing. I know I don’t want my rainbow yoga pants covered in deep dark liquid. Not into an alcoholic bevvy because you’re flight is at the crack of dawn and you’re more respectable than me? Sprite. Ginger ale. Water. But steer clear of the Coke and whatever else can spill all over you and your fellow passengers. Especially when you’re sitting in the middle of two strangers.

Bring a change of clothes to the airport

I’m embarrassed to admit the number of times I’ve changed inside airport bathrooms, but damn am I glad I travel with a spare outfit or two. Especially since I like to make the most of my last day wherever I am. In Vegas, I went straight from the pool to the airport, so I wanted to change out of my bathing suit before my flight. In Orlando, I took an Uber straight from Disney’s Animal Kingdom to the airport (with a brief stop at my hotel to grab my luggage from the bell station), and I was a sweaty disgusting mess. I also have a propensity to spill shit all over myself. Change of clothes? Makes everything better.

Make your in-flight entertainment easily accessible

There are dozens of great ways to entertain yourself on a flight, but make sure you don’t have to dig to the bottom of a large duffel bag every 25 minutes in order to find your Nook, Kindle, tablet, laptop, charger, etc. You’ll get dirty looks from the people who’s empty seat you usurped. I mean, not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. And try not to read a book that makes you laugh so hard your boyfriend will wish he wasn’t sitting next to you.

Think wisely about your snack choices

I know. Planes don’t really serve food all that often. Well, Southwest has some killer snacks and all…especially on their fancy new planes. So you’re forced to bring your own reinforcements. But let me tell you guys. There are good options. And there are bad options.

Southwest Airlines New Plane Snacks

I really wanted to ask for one of each. But I am not an asshole. So I asked for cheese crackers and peanuts. And spent two hours wishing I had asked for butter cookies.

A small, easily hand-held sandwich or wrap? Great plan. A large salad that requires shaking and flying croutons? A pastry dealie with delicious ham and cheese and buttery pastry crust that ends up crumbling everywhere? Those are less than stellar ideas. Take my advice/learn from my mistakes. Those will also incite dirty looks from your fellow flyers.

Well, I’m absolutely sure I could give you more pointers on how not to be a dick in the ways I’ve been a dick, but I think this is quite enough for this morning. Be sure to follow me on the social medias for all my travel adventures.

This post uses affiliate links. When you click on them and make purchases, I can occasionally earn dollars to help keep this site running. Thanks for being awesome and such. I talk about Southwest a lot. Because I love them. I don’t get paid any money from all my shout outs to them. They just make me insanely happy.

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!

Fear and loathing in Las Vegas

You guys. I made it back alive from Vegas, and if all goes according to plan, I’m in the Mouse House as the post is published. I thought I’d throw down a few highlights of my Viva Las Vegas jaunt.

There were ghosts or someone was stalking my room. I walked into my hotel room at about 10pm, and the T.V. was on. Thoroughly creeped out, I scanned the room for signs of someone else’s luggage. Then I called the front desk and asked if that was normal. Spoiler alert: It’s not. She told me to “be careful” and I thought those were some pretty bold words for someone sitting in a proverbial tower. I opened every door, turned on every light,  pulled the curtains wide open and patted them down for good measure, and slept with one eye open. It was not unlike that one time I was alone and afraid in my house when we first bought it.

The Backstreet Boys are still awesome. Amber and I had one hell of a time. It was like being 14 and in college at the same time all over again. Although my love for Nick Carter died a quick and painless death, I realized that I am definitely a Brian kinda girl. 

I read 3 books. This may not seem all that exciting to you, but when you’ve got a cocktail in a cool spot by the pool, you can  churn through a lot of books and call it research for your own book. Of course, you can also start reading a fourth book,  a series that was highly recommended to you, and not understand why in the world you couldn’t get into it…and also why it was super confusing…until you realize you’ve started with the second book and you feel like an idiot.  You know…hypothetically. 

I realized that I can make friends everywhere. Whether I want to or not. On Saturday evening,  I sat down in the coolest little pool nook,  right alongside the deep end.  I was hanging out, people watching, and taking selfies, as I’m typically wont to do, when a group of people sat down next to me. A man eho was about my age affectionately told an older woman to sit there beside me. So I scooted over when teo more people came up on my other side. I was almost disappointingly trapped, but they started talking to me, and we had a bizarre conversation about the Backstreet Boys,  Britney Spears, and Mariah Carey’s ex-boyfriend. 

My new friends weren’t the only ones to invade my personal space that weekend,  though. Poolside again on Sunday, I was giving off my very serious KeepOut vibe as the sun slowly crept up the foot of my chaise lounge, when a leathery, red-tanned man in his 50s or 60s walked up to me. 

“Hey sexy, can you do me a favor? Can you put some sunscreen on my back?” 

Whatever was unfolding, I’m not one to take skin care lightly. I agreed, as he definitely looked like he needed it. 

“I can put some on you too.” 

“No thanks, I’m good.” I had alread doused myself in half a can of spray sunscreen.

“I don’t want to get burned ya know?” 

“Me neither. That’s why I’m hiding from the sun.”

I quickly patted some sunscreen on his back and sent him on his merry way. He returmed to the pool where a few of his friends were laighing and smiling. Whether I was a bet or not, I hope he got a good story out of it too. 

Going places without my husband is weird. I forget sometimes what it’s like to be single, but both of my aforementioned interactions included, “Where is your boyfriend/husband?” With the first group, I’m sure it was merely curiosity, as I’d preciously mentioned him in conversation (because I love the word, “husband”). The second was definitely fishing for information. Both times, though, “your husband doesn’t mind you traveling without him?”

Mind? I’m pretty sure he appreciates that I don’t drag him on every wild adventure I say yes to. 

Speaking of wild adventures, follow me on the social medias to catch the next leg of my summer adventure.

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!

Adventure is out there!

Ya know, I’m not normally one for exclamation marks, but I’m about to embark on three weekend adventures in a row.  Tomorrow after work, I’m heading on a flight to Las Vegas to hang out with one of my besties and see the Backstreet Boys — who, apparently, I see every ten years-ish. I saw them in 1997 and 2008 (yeah, I know a little more than 10 years. Whatever. Close enough). And now, I’m going to see them in 2017 in Las Vegas. I wonder where I’ll catch them in 2027…

Chrissy falling out of her camp chair at the Backstreet Boys concert

This is the only photographic evidence I have of me at a BSB concert. And it’s because I fell out of my chair and my girlfriends thought it was funny.

Of course, I’m not entirely sure that I’m going to make it out of Las Vegas alive. Just last weekend, one of my other besties sent me a text sharing a link to an article about Legionnaires disease in Vegas. My mom had suggested I stay at the Rio, but I’m thrilled she helped me find a sweet deal on a room at Bally’s instead. Either way, I’ve decided that I’m just not going to shower while I’m there. You know…Just in case.

And that’s only the beginning of all the ways I could die in Las Vegas.

After a few cocktails, I have a tendency to wander off. On my own. And in a city like Vegas, I’m likely to get eaten by wolves. Or something. Maybe I’ll walk the plank on that pirate ship in Treasure Island…or get too excited near the Bellagio and fall in. The possibilities are endless. And terrifying. At my bachelorette party, I started talking to strangers with the promises of free shots. I’m not entirely sure that won’t happen in Vegas. Except, I won’t have a brood of lady friends protecting my ass. It’s me and my girlfriend against the world. And this is how we roll:

triple fisting cocktails

Why yes, we are both triple fisting the cocktails in 2006. And it’s entirely possible we’re at a strip club. Also, I really miss that strapless shirt.

The only other time was in Sin City was approximately a million and a half years ago when I was 17 with a bad haircut and couldn’t do anything fun. I was with my best friend and we wandered the hotels, shopped, and gossiped about life. But as an adult? I don’t know if my brain was designed for Vegas. There are so many bright and shiny things and lights and sparkles and OMG you guys I’m going to get so distracted, I’ll probably miss my flight home.

Chrissy at 17 with a vegas gondolier

At least I knew this gondolier was attractive when I was 17…

And I can’t miss my flight.

Because I’m coming home for approximately 46 hours to smooch my husband, throw dirty clothes down the laundry chute, and refill my suitcase for Orlando.

From there, I’m going to gently dabble in a little solo Disney adventure. I say gently because this shameless hussy sharing a room with me promised to meet me for an after-5 dinner date inside the Magic Kingdom.  The next day may include a little waterparking before heading into BlogHer17, my fourth BlogHer conference. Much hugging will ensue, and at that point, there will be plenty of friends with me to make sure I don’t get lost in the House of Mouse.

Chrissy and Mary Poppins Disney World

I’ll return for about 5 days, this time, with one final adventure on the horizon for Fourth of July weekend. 5 days in the cheese motherland of Wisconsin with the one I left behind two weekends in a row. But honestly, guys, don’t feel bad for Brian, abandoned though he might be. He eats this shit up. You mean days upon days in a row in which he doesn’t have to do ANYTHING but go to work? No peopling? No socializing? No incessant babbling? No Disney music? The man is going to be in heaven.

Me too, Brian. Me too.

What adventures are you heading for this summer? Anything sweet on the horizon? 

Want to follow my adventures? Make sure you’re following me on all the social media nonsense. 

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!