Nostalgic ’90s Toys & Games

Calling all 20 and 30-year-olds–and parents of! Do you remember any of these ’90s toys from our childhood? These were big in my family. No Furbies or Tamagatchis for us! While some of these games were definitely present in the ’80s and even still today, these are the ’90s versions. Be still my nostalgic heart!

1. Cootie

cooties game
Source: Pinterest

The alternative to Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head for pre-schoolers.

2. Creepy Crawlers

creepy crawlers
Source: Throwbacks.com

Forget Easy Bake Ovens. How about making wiggly insects that sometimes glow in the dark!

3. Ker Plunk

Vintage-Tyco-Ker-Plunk-Game-1991-Kerplunk
Source: Picclick.com

A mix of Jenga and Pick-up Stix!

4. Mouse Trap

mouse trap 1990s game
Source: Pinterest

In my house, this game always had missing or broken pieces and was quite a maze to put together but so much fun!

5. Hi Ho Cherry-O!

hi ho cherry-o game
Source: Layton Music

Not gonna lie… my sisters and I played this game well into our teens.

6. Pizza Party

pizza party game
Source: Waheeda Harris

We used to play this on the beach during our summers on Lake Erie… also in our teens.

7. Picnic Panic

picnic-panic-game-milton-bradley-1992_1_2cbf884a720e21533263e2d8639b863e
Source: Worthpoint

This was definitely one of my favorite games growing up, probably because I like food and picnics and you never knew when the picnic basket would pop open and ants would explode everywhere.

8. Ready! Set! Spaghetti!

ready! set! spaghetti!
Source: Pinterest

We always got a little carried away twisting the yarn “spaghetti” noodles around the toppings.

9. Rugrats

 

 

I was a huge Rugrats fan. Rugrats and Scooby-Doo! were my jam. This game was super complicated to set up and I would play it by myself in the corner of my room with my stuffed animals.

10. Mall Madness

mall madness
Source: Children of the Nineties.com

Definitely made my parents play this with me two Christmasses ago. And I had a mini heart attack because I thought the electronic credit card and bank machine was broken. It was just extremely corroded but we fixed it! My dad gets a kick out of my impersonation of the recorded voices: “Your item costs 5 dollars more.” “Attention all shoppers, there is a sale at the ‘Chitchen store… and at… the Fashion Boutique.”

Do you remember any of these? What’s your favorite ’90s toys and games? Share in the comments below!

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Some Days, Somehow, for Some Reason, I Think of You

Some days, for brief moments, I embody the literal definition of weak in the knees because for some reason, you have popped into my head. Visions of our estranged kiss, equally patient and hurried, obscure my footsteps and I find myself slowly smiling, slowly sinking, sinking toward the earth which somehow makes me closer to you. Because crouched on the ground, the distance between my feet and my heart is nearer, and by juxtaposition, nearer to you.

Sometimes, I hear you tell me I’m beautiful, and capable, and deserving–adjectives that have dropped like crumbs out of your mouth somewhere, some place, some time, leading a trail to the boom boom boom in my chest. And like crumbs, each time they spilled I swept them up and locked them away. And like crumbs, morsels always got left behind, those that had escaped the coarse, forgiving bristles of my mind’s sweeping, appearing here and there under couch cushions and doormats.

Somehow, I still remember your smell, and I wonder if you even know what I smell like. You smell stale and sweet, like a damp passenger seat spritzed with rose water that’s baked too much with the windows closed in the sun. And I like it. I really like it. Because it reminds me of you.

Sometimes, I see your smile when I close my eyes. I’ve never met anyone whose smile I like more than yours. When you smile–really smile–it reaches to your temples, crinkling the skin right below your ears. Somehow, your eyes are smiling, too.

Some days, somehow, for some reason, I think of you. Somewhere is where you are, so close and so far, grinning from here to there, dropping more crumbs, obscuring more footsteps, and leaving behind sun-dripped rose petals.

 

It Gets Better

Ten months ago, I thought life as I knew it would never be the same. In a way, I was right. I am a stronger person than I was 10 months ago and a better version of myself. But the difference is that I thought my world had been zapped of sunshine and butterflies, that I would forever be spluttering, drowning, splashing but never surfacing for a breath of air. I hated my new normal but it didn’t feel like anything would ever change.

I had forgotten that it was possible to wake up in the morning with a peaceful rhythm in my chest. I had forgotten it was possible to start my day without a tightness that made each breath calculated, or to sleep more than three hours in a night. I had forgotten what it felt like to really, truly live.

People promised me it would get better, but at the time, these seemed like false, rose-colored, unproven words of hope. Because I couldn’t see past the fog, so how could they?

But it did get better.

I have made some big changes since January that have shaped my days to be filled with light instead of darkness.

I went back to therapy.

I started seeing my therapist again and found myself looking forward to our weekly appointments. While I’ve been able to cut back to monthly or even every other month appointments, I still recognize and appreciate the value in having a licensed professional with whom to talk through the ups and downs of life.

I prioritized certain people over others.

Some people in my life have been catalysts to my pain. I cut ties whether directly or indirectly with people who discouraged me, judged me, disrespected me, or were straight up rude or mean to me.

This was extremely difficult for me to do because I really do love humanity, and I really do love the people I surround myself with. But it turned out I only loved some parts of some of these people because there were other parts of them that weren’t good to me or for me. When I realized this, I had a clear idea of who I needed to let go.

I moved.

I still live in Seattle, but I moved in with a new roommate in a new apartment. I feel comfortable in this home environment, something I hadn’t felt for the two years prior. That meant for two years I would go from an uncomfortable work environment (see below) to an uncomfortable living environment every day, which made me unable to unwind and just relax.

My new living situation (which isn’t so new anymore) is working out great. I don’t know what will happen when my lease is up, but I’m surprisingly not worried about it, which shows me how much progress I’ve made.

I got a guinea pig.

Cilantro Clementine aka Clemmy aka the best guinea pig in the world has made my days immensely brighter. She relies on me and I rely on her. When I start to feel anxious, I pick her up (if she isn’t already by my side or in my lap). Just by petting her, or getting kisses from her, or hearing her little noises, my heart is instantly happier. She helps me to remain in the present. It’s truly amazing how a teensy furball can make such a big impact.

I quit my job.

The final straw toward gaining back clarity, peace, and happiness turned out to be quitting my job. For two-and-a-half years, I had stayed afloat in a hostile work environment, thriving professionally but sinking personally. I was often cornered aggressively, literally blocked from escaping a barrage of negative commentary, blamed for things that weren’t my fault, and discredited for pivotal business accomplishments for which I’d gone above and beyond. Without my consent, I was forced to shift from a 32 to 46-hour work week and cover the work of two employees without additional compensation, all the while jeopardizing my creative careers and, most importantly, my mental health.

I had made leaps and bounds in nurturing my health since reaching my lowest low, and I realized this job was the only thing keeping me from progressing.

So I quit. After two years of striving weekly to make changes within the workplace, and a year of casually yet non-directionally looking for other job opportunities, I was exhausted. I had no energy or time to commit to job searching, and so finding a job before quitting simply wasn’t an option. A lot of people are scared to quit without anything lined up, and it certainly can be scary. But I wasn’t rash in this decision. I saved all the money I made from six months of overtime work and set it aside to help me transition.

After my co-worker and I were unjustly yelled at on the end of our shift one evening, I had this “Aha!” moment where I recognized I didn’t deserve to be treated like that. I handed in my resignation the next day. Immediately, I felt that I really was going to be okay after all, that it really does get better. (Coincidentally, on my last day there, I found out I was cast in a theatre show.)

I changed careers.

I also made the decision to leave the veterinary field. Did you know the veterinary profession ranks number one in the national suicide rate? Did you know that veterinary professionals are two to four times more susceptible to mental illness than the general population? In speaking with half a dozen of my friends in the animal field who were also struggling with mental health and the same problems I had with this field of work–such as ethics and compassion fatigue–I thought about what jobs have made me the happiest. I made a list of my skills and objectives, and I set aside time every day (even today) to apply to jobs.

So I made the decision to transition out of the animal world, at least in my previous capacities, at least for now. Around this time, I was also given the opportunity to have my own animal web series, combining my love of animals with my love of writing and acting. It could not have been more serendipitous.

What’s the moral here?

It really can get better, and it will get better if you work at it. That’s the kicker though. It takes so much effort, so much strength and belief in yourself. It takes relying on others, being vulnerable and asking for help, but at the end of the day, it is only you who can pull yourself through to the other side.

It’s easy to doubt yourself and to doubt the words of hope when you feel so helpless and hopeless. But I promise you, it gets better.

Dear Joaquin

It’s been three years but I still think of you.

I remember you before, I remember you during, and I remember you after.

You don’t invade my dreams like you used to, robbing me of sleep each time I tried to close my eyes. You don’t make me nauseous like you did when I first met you. You don’t make me sob, but you can still make me cry.

I will never forget you, and I don’t want to forget you. But for far too long, you ran my life. You defined my fears and insecurities, my paranoia and my heartache. You were the catalyst to so many other terrible experiences, but in you I’ve also found a beacon of strength.

You destroyed everything in your path, and you threatened to destroy me. I am not impenetrable. But I am resilient, don’t you see?

As the homes were rebuilt, so did I rebuild the very bones that you had rattled for 36 hours straight and countless days and nights after.

As I sat drying and tossing and searching for the things you tried to take from me, I remembered that you took so much more from so many who had less.

As I listened to others share their stories, I realized I wasn’t alone, and together we rose from your ruins.

It’s been three years and I still think of you, but it’s different now. Good different.

RIP Hurricane Joaquin. You helped shape the woman I am today, and for that, I’m forever grateful.

 

Oct 14, 2015 (2 weeks later):

Hurricane Joaquin was terrifying in its before, during, and after. I am safe but my emotions are raw; the island is devastated. I have choked back vomit and tears more times than I can tally. You never expect when you take off on a dream to travel the world that the place you start to call your home can be ravaged so severely, so unforgivingly by Mother Nature. You never expect that you will get caught up 20 miles from the eye of a disaster that will live in history and meteorology as one of the most unexpected, unpredictable, perfect storms to date. You never expect to face so much fear and sadness, to flee your house, to hear survival stories of neighbors breaking through rooftops, clinging to trees, Duct taping identification to their bodies, crouching in a closet with two large dogs for 36 hours straight. Two days of 130, 145 mph winds–gusts clocked at 200. Two days of relentless storm surges. And an apocalyptic aftermath that leaves you empty.

I am writing this at a temporary communication tower with a crawling internet speed as the main tower was taken out by the storm, along with over 600 telephone poles in a 40-mile stretch. It took 1 hr to drive to it. Electricity is just being restored to parts of the island.

In my transient 6 months on Long Island, Bahamas, I’ve learned that what makes this place paradise more than its beautiful landscapes is its beautiful people. This is a resilient community. I don’t know how and I don’t know when but somehow, sometime, life will go back to normal.

If you would like to help, please, please do so. People have lost everything, including their source of income to rebuild. Contact SEACOR in Ft. Lauderdale to send food, water, building supplies, clothing, bedding, feminine hygiene products, and infant needs. Contact NEMA in Nassau, Bahamas for monetary donations. Private planes can transport supplies to the Stella Maris airport which has opened up here on Long Island.

Whether you pray, meditate, or simply ponder, please keep this island at the forefront of your mind now and in the indefinite future.

Oct 21, 2015 (3 weeks later): 

In the wake of Hurricane Joaquin, the support I’ve received from family and friends in every pocket of the globe has been humbling. I am a firm believer that no friendship is ever too small. In times like these, we lean on each other. I’m doing a lot of leaning. Please, people, if you ever need help, consider it a moment of strength, not weakness, when you choose to lean on someone. We are all we’ve got.

Why I Didn’t Report

I am lying in bed and my skin is flushed and my heart is beating wildly in my chest and tears are threatening to drip from the corners of my eyes and I am angry but somehow calm. I have had an amazing week filled with acting gigs, homemade cinnamon rolls, and guinea pig kisses. I have stayed away from the news and on and off social media. I hadn’t checked my Facebook newsfeed today and didn’t plan to until I got a message from a friend:

“You are on my mind and on my heart today and I want you to know I adore you and your courage inspires me daily.” (JJFB I adore you, too.)

I didn’t think much of it, but then I thought, hm, maybe I’m missing something, so I logged into Facebook before bed and the first post on my newsfeed was #WhyIDidntReport and then I searched for more #WhyIDidntReports and I was humbled by the depth of empathy and bravery by so many victims who unjustly became the accused when they tried to be heard, or who chose not to be heard because they knew it would only further strip them of the dignity they’d already been stripped of before. And I was once again angered by the oppression of women by a man given so much power. But also calm. Calm because of the community that has risen amidst the chaos to support each other. We lift each other up. We don’t pull each other down.

I am so grateful to have people in my life who listened when I decided to share my story, and who didn’t ask #WhyIDidntReport. I am so grateful for the growth that I’ve achieved over this past year in particular, and especially for the men who have respected me and made me open to trust and love again.

22 Things I’ve Learned Through Dating & Dumping

1. Honesty is the greatest attribute in a significant other, down to one’s selfless ability to tell the truth even if it means they are the one that causes pain.

2. Trust between two people should be earned, and trust between two people should be respected. Unfortunately, should be is not the same as will be.

3. Beware of taking things for granted. Gratitude never gets old, no matter how long you’ve been together.

4. You can be friends with some exes. You won’t likely be friends with all your exes.

5. There will be times you put your faith in someone and they let you down. If they let you down in the form of cheating, get out.

6. If you and your partner aren’t communicating, work on fixing it or else your relationship is doomed.

7. If he keeps you a secret from everyone else, run for the hills.

8. Learn each other’s love language.

9. Do not lose yourself in a relationship and don’t be anyone but yourself in a relationship.

10. If two people aren’t in the same place feeling-wise, the one who wants less always wins.

11. You have to get past the honeymoon phase before you’ll know if you two are really compatible.

12. Both people have to compromise in order for the relationship to flourish.

13. When you’re in a relationship with someone else, you’re still in a relationship with yourself. Don’t neglect that. Alone time is vital.

14. Sometimes a person will awaken your love without the intention of fully loving you. Sometimes that’s cowardice, sometimes that’s cruel, and sometimes that’s just life.

15. If he says he wants to focus on his career or isn’t ready for a relationship now, he’s really just not that into you. Find someone who would, if it came down to it, tell you if he’s just not that into you.

16. You can’t force someone to love you back.

17. There will be people you take a chance on, and there will be people who you know you can’t take a chance on. Not everyone deserves a chance; sometimes you’ll give chances that shouldn’t have been given. And that’s okay.

18. Dating is about learning what you want and need in a relationship. Your wants and needs might change, and so might theirs. What you can give might change, or it might not.

19. You deserve to be with someone who lifts you up, not someone who pulls you down.

20. Sometimes you’ll grow together. Sometimes you’ll grow apart.

21. You never know how many firsts you’ll have before you have your last firsts.

22. Never, ever, ever, ever settle.

To All the Boys That Came Before

To all the boys that came before,

You were my first kiss and my first slow dance, my first date and my first love.

You were my adventure partner, and you were my relaxing buddy.

You made me smile, and you made me cry.

You believed in me, and you didn’t encourage me.

You were the reason I was afraid to fall asleep at night, and the reason I slept so peacefully.

You made me feel good about who I am, and you made me question my worthiness.

You stood up for me, and you tore me down.

You didn’t compliment me, and you told me I was beautiful and smart.

You were young–we were young. Now you’re older–now we’re older.

You taught me how to love, and you taught me how not to love.

You were the best, and you were the worst.

You showed me what I want and what I need, and what I don’t want or need.

You destroyed my heart, and you prepared my heart.

You were the boy that came before, and the man that came after.

never stop dreaming. never stop doing.