Hostess with the Mostess

By Crystal McCahill

Crystal explains why not to stress when it comes to hosting friends.

Playing host to out-of-town friends usually ends up going one of two ways: Either you have more fun than you normally would because you’ve planned your days and nightlife ahead of time, or the actual planning part brings so much stress that you make a mental note never to have guests again.

For years I dreaded having people stay with me. Not because I don’t like a full house (the more the merrier!) but because I always felt my visitors needed to be occupied with fun things to do, 24-7. It got to the point where I would literally make weekend itineraries—especially for friends who’d never been to Chicago—and crazy Coordinator Crystal would come out in full effect. It wasn’t pretty.

Since becoming a Playmate, I’ve had more girls come through my apartment and share my bed (PJs optional) over the last two years than I can possibly remember. The up side? I’ve magically transformed into a low-maintenance host who now prefers to have my girls crash chez moi than to stay with someone else or spend for a hotel. Gone are the days of making spreadsheets with reservations and planning activities by the ½ hour. Who has time for that?

When my girl Kim (top left) last came to visit, we ditched our dinner plans and headed straight to Wrigleyville for a spontaneous night game. Lucky for us, one of my guy friends plays for the Cubs so we got to check out the locker room after the game. The locker room! We felt like undercover detectives and sneaky ten-year-olds at the same time. And because I had to show her how us Cubbie fans party after a win, I took her to Moe’s Cantina for a couple rounds of the city’s best frozen margartitas, followed by hours of draft beer and dancing with undergrads at Barleycorn.

Launch Gallery

My girls Amber and Shannon stayed with me last weekend for three days of unplanned fun. We kicked off Saturday with a late Mexican dinner at Mercardito only to wind up drenched, four hours later, after a “friendly” water fight with the bartender from Vertigo. Cut to us blow-drying our hair in the hand dryer of the restroom, then leaving with a great story to recap the next morning. And recap we did with the perfect ‘80s-themed boozy brunch at the Wit Hotel (note fluorescent tank and short-shorts, above). See what other shenanigans we got ourselves into last  weekend in the gallery (left). Then reserve judgement.

I’ve now learned that the best nights out while playing hostess are always when the nightlife plans itself. Stumbling across an unexpected jazz hall, a dive with karaoke, BYOB sushi or even scalping buying tickets day-of to watch the Cubbies play under the stars on a random Tuesday…much like Manhattan, you never know what’s around the corner. And when the Bunnies come to town, our nights take on a life of their own.

In the spirit of almost-Halloween, check out this behind-the-scenes video from the Playboy Store costume shoot I recently did. Which outfit is your favorite? Send me a tweet or leave a comment below. Don’t be shy!

Need a holiday-themed drink recipe?This Vampire Kiss Martini is one of my favorite drinks to sip on this time of year. Mix up a batch at your next theme party, then serve to impress!

  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part Champagne
  • 1 part Chambord

Garnish with wax teeth and serve



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