Monthly Archives: May 2017

Happy Another-Year-of-Life Day

Celebrating each year is really just celebrating that you stayed alive for another year. Is the mere act of staying alive worth celebrating? In the past, I thought no. This year, however, I’m going to argue that, yes, it is worth celebrating another year of “just” staying alive.

Recently, a person I knew committed suicide [trigger warning]. It was shocking and sad. He was someone I didn’t have to know long to know he had a good heart.The night of the incident, he caused some property damage and emotional distress to other people before taking his life so there was a police report posted about it.

One comment on the post said, “it was too bad he hadn’t been able to get help.”

And someone replied, “You can’t help people who don’t want to be helped.”

There are always occasions to get into fights with people on Facebook but this was one of the most tempting. I had “evidence” to prove this Facebook commenter wrong. On my friend’s Facebook and blog there was countless evidence about how he had sought out ways to make his life better. One month prior to the incident he had posted about going on medication and how it was helping. He had been getting himself out of debt and working hard at his job. But even without “evidence”…how can we judge who is seeking help or not? And someone who needs help is not always in a position to ask or seek it out. It is, to sum it up, really hard.

Here’s the thing about me, and many people I love, we struggle with depression.

Now, for me personally, I have been seeing a therapist, reading books on different treatments (I can never plug The Body Keeps the Score enough), got on medication, got on birth control, write, started eating healthy, try to exercise every day, got an emotional support animal, have an emotional support husband, talk to people struggling similarly, draw, spend time outside, think about doing yoga, “take it easy”, try to be kind to myself, eliminated stressful situations, spend time with friends, spend time away from everyone, meditate, pray, breathe, take showers, take baths, write jokes, take time to love and take care of my body. Etc. etc. etc.

And guess what? I’m still depressed sometimes. Really. And sometimes it feels like there’s no way out, everything’s the worst, and nothing’s worth it, and nobody likes me, everybody hates me, and I should just go eat worms.

If there was some magic pill or magic way to be cured everyone would do it. No one wants to be sad, being sad sucks.

If we can acknowledge that birthdays, being alive another year, are worth celebrating maybe we can judge people a little less who struggle daily. For me, the times it feels the worst is when I’m embarrassed that I’m doing every flipping thing I can to keep it under control and I still feel crappy some days. It feels hopeless. I feel weak. I feel like I am less than a normal human and don’t contribute anything to society. At the same time I know, in my soul, that I am a worthwhile, strong, capable human…which somehow makes it worse, like being punched in the heart from opposite sides. And I already feel judged whether anyone is judging or not, so, judgers can save themselves the effort.

If you’re feeling like life is too hard some days, it’s not because you’re weak, or you’re a quitter, or because you “don’t want help.” And I know from experience that those kinds of thoughts feel worse because you don’t think you can talk to anyone about them. I hope you know there is a hotline you can call but I also hope you have at least a couple people in your life you can call as well. Even if you don’t have depression with a capital “D” make sure you know it’s okay to not feel 100% 100% of the time.

I think overall it’s getting better, people are more open-minded about mental illness but it is still so embarrassing to talk about and I wish it wasn’t. For myself and for the many others out there.

So, hi, I’m Lauren. I’m depressed. I don’t like talking about it, but I will if it makes anyone else feel better. Maybe if you think I’m normal (keyword if) and you know I have depression you can realize that there are lots of good normal-ish people who struggle and if you struggle yourself you can know you’re not alone.

I think it’s worth trying everything you can do to heal but I also am not going to judge anyone who looks like “they’re not trying.” Because the one thing I know is that I cannot possibly know what someone else is feeling or what they are capable of at any given point in time.

I didn’t know what it was like before. I didn’t know, until I experienced it, what it could feel like to feel like garbage…that has been lit on fire and run over by a steamroller…while being hit by those medieval spiky balls on a stick things…in the heart. I know there are people who have it much worse than I do (which honestly makes me more depressed to think about because my empathy goes on overdrive) and I’m grateful for the many days I have that I do feel happy and well. And I’m grateful for the many things that have made this past year so great and I’m excited to see what the next year brings.

Here’s to making it to another birthday and hopefully this can be your reminder that even on your darkest days that it’s worth making it to your next birthday. xoxo

Eat Your Birthday

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Four years ago I decided to sign up for every birthday offer I could find. I found some lists online but that wasn’t enough so I started looking up restaurants in the area online and signed up for their “clubs.” When in doubt, google your favorite restaurant and see if they have a deal.

Now that I’ve compiled the list I prefer to pick and choose what I eat each year, but you can potentially have most of your meals free or discounted for a couple weeks on either side of your birthday and enough desserts to give you a solid two-week sugar high.

Most places will email you a coupon that’s good for the whole month or at least a couple weeks. Some places give you something free just for signing up so I recommend not waiting until your birthday month to sign up because then you have twice as much to eat that month. Free IHOP is great, but going twice in one month isn’t necessarily that great. For best results, I recommend signing up before the start of your birth month.

You’ll also get pretty regular emails from these places. Hopefully, you have Gmail because they get sorted into the “promotions” tab so you can ignore them and when your birthday comes you can just search “birthday” and they’ll pop up.

Some of the restaurants have also switched to apps instead of emails, click the links below to take you to the sign-up page or the download page for the app.

Restaurant Free B-day Item Conditions
Which Which sandwich
Rubio’s meal up to $7
Baja Fresh free burrito
Smashburger shake or side with purchase
Red Robin hamburger
Dickey’s BBQ sandwich
Wienerschnitzel corn dog
Jason’s Deli $5 off
Tucano’s meal with purchase of another meal
Noodles and Co meal up to $9
Firehouse Subs medium sub
IHOP pancake meal or $ equivalent
Cinnabon mocha latte
Sweet Tooth Fairy cupcake  go on your birthday
Sonic tots or drink
Auntie Anne’s  free pretzel
Get this app because they give out free pretzels all the time.
Benihana $30 off with purchase
Buca di Beppo appetizer  with purchase
Texas Roadhouse appetizer with meal
Buffalo Wild Wings free snack-sized wings?
Brick Oven sample with meal
Einstein’s Bagels bagel with purchase
Sbarro slice with drink
Jamba Juice free smoothie
Baskin Robbins scoop
Maggie Moo’s cone
Coldstone ice cream b.o.g.o
Mimi’s dessert
Del Taco milkshake get strawberry, trust me
Rita’s Ice TBD
CPK dessert
Krispy Kreme donut
Starbucks free drink or treat
Orange Julius  free drink
Pinkberry  free yogurt
TCBY  free yogurt
Sodalicious soda go day of and show ID
Denny’s meal go day of and show ID

So even if your friends won’t get you presents these restaurants will. Happy birthday! And happy eating!

Aside from food, you can also get a free gift from Sephora and other brands will often send you a coupon for a certain percent off for your birthday. You can also get a free one-night rental from Redbox.

Leave me a comment if you know of more great birthday deals and I’ll keep adding to the list as I find them.


How Owning a Dog is Preparing Me for Children

Disclaimer: I know having a dog is not the same as having a child. They’re cheaper, you can leave them home for hours unsupervised, you only have to feed them 1-2 times a day, etc. So I chose to post this the week after human Mother’s Day.

How Owning a Dog is Practice for Children: I Now Know the Following Things Firsthand

1. My husband will not wake up to the sounds of puking, crying, projectile diarrhea-ing, or even barking. But I will. So I now know what to expect should we bring an infant home.

2. When you’re with a small creature that is about to throwup, you may think running out the door or for a trash can will lessen the situation but it will only result in vomit being spread to a larger area. 

3. If you take your small creature to the parade they will insist on being lifted up so they can see what’s going on. Especially horses.

4. Your resolve to not share your bed with anyone but your spouse may change.

And you may have to make sure you don’t get replaced.

5. It’s much more fun dressing them than it is dressing yourself. 

6. Sometimes giving them a hug is the most torturous thing you could possible do.

7. Doing something on the computer “real quick” is not the experience it once was.


8. They won’t pick up their toys without special training, but they will be able to spread them throughout the house without help.

9. If you always intervene they’ll never learn. 

10. They’ll always be more excited to see their friends than to see you.

11. Usually you’re there for them, but sometimes they’ll be there for you.

12. One look at their face and you’ll forget why you’re mad at them. 

Last, and this is just a piece of advice, get them after their potty-trained.