Category Archives: Uncategorized

Happy Galentine’s Day!

I’ve seen/heard too many people this year saying/writing, “Is Galentine’s Day really a thing?”

Yes, Virginia, Galentine’s Day is a thing. It’s just one of the many marvelous things Leslie Knope has given us.

It is not a holiday invented by sad girls who don’t have Valentine’s. It’s a day for ladies to celebrate ladies…I mean, it’s not like we get to celebrate ladies on Presidents Day so we gotta have our own day.

For Galentine’s Day I wanted to write 100 notes to 100 ladies I love and admire, but well, I’m exhausted and the best I can do for now is this generic blog post. But know I’ve been thinking about you individually and it’s my goal to write those notes between now and International Women’s Day.

Why do we need to celebrate ladies? Well, because they’re awesome.

They’re the best friends. They’re the ones who are with you through bad breakups, bad haircuts, bad cramps. They’re the ones who encourage you and congratulate you. They’re roommates you love (and sometimes hate) that you stay up all night with and regret it in the morning. They’re sisters(-in-laws), moms, aunts, cousins, and people who feel like blood relatives even if they aren’t. They’re the women who have known me for YEARS and still want to be my friend. They’re my friend who told me I had to write this blog post even though I said I was too tired.

They’re my bakery WOMEN. Yes, only women work at Sodalicious’s bakery and it’s not sexist it’s just an awesome sorority that gets paid to bake all day long for the Sodalicious cookie consumers in Utah and Idaho. (p.s. we’re hiring)

I’m grateful for the many beautiful, talented, supportive women in my life. Scattered throughout this post will be photos from the 9th Annual Galentine’s Photoshoot, but this doesn’t just apply to these ladies–though it definitely does apply to them–it applies to my many, amazing female friends and the many amazing women I haven’t met yet that I know will touch my life.

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It’s the women who held my hand during the hardest times in my life. The women who answer the phone every time I call. The ones who have made me/bought me dinner when I didn’t feel like eating. The ones who made sure I didn’t eat alone. Women who have taken me in during the various points in my life that I needed a place to crash. It’s the old lady I met ten years ago in Hungary who talked to me for an entire bus ride even though she knew I couldn’t understand her.

It’s the women who have given me fashion advice. The ones who encouraged me to be myself, even when myself is kind of crazy. It’s the women who looked me in the eye and said, “you got this, girl.” It’s the ones that I’ve been able to say the same thing right back to.

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The moms. My own, who is perfect, of course. But all the ladies out there who dare to be moms. Who are strong enough to raise a new generation and to survive sleepless nights and public tantrums. You’re the real MVPs. Especially those of you who do it again after you already know how hard it is to have one.

It’s the women who aren’t moms in the traditional sense but still exhibit all the mom-like qualities like being good at finding stuff and giving good advice and good hugs.

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It is the women who gave me a shot. My friend who directed my musical at her high school when she could’ve had (almost) any musical she wanted. It’s the women who have hired me on jobs that I didn’t feel qualified for.

It’s women who are examples to me whether they know it or not. The friends I haven’t seen in ages who are brave enough to post about their struggles with cancer on social media. The ones who have lost babies. The ones who struggle with health issues that affect their bodies and minds but they keep on going. The women who have survived great tragedies and overcome challenges I can’t imagine. They give me the strength to face my own battles and they may not even know it.

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The women who are doing whatever the heck they want despite society saying they can’t, or despite the fact that no other woman has done it before. The women who are perfect in their imperfections. YOU. If you’re reading this I’m talking about YOU (men too, but I gotta give ladies this one day…Well, and March 8th too…I gotta give them these two days).

So happy February 13th! Go grab your ladies and get yourselves some breakfast food.

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xoxo,
Your Galentine

Swiftism: The Art of Nothing Being Your Fault

This post was written a year ago and then “saved to drafts” I decided now was a good time to finish it. 

Some of you might know that I thoroughly enjoyed Taylor Swift’s album Red. I think Taylor riding the line between country and pop was a great place. She had the storytelling aspect of country music with the can’t-get-out-of-your-head benefit of pop music.

But, like Taylor Swift herself has taught me, you can see all the things that were wrong as soon as the relationship is over. I was excited when the single Shake it Off was released. I felt inspired. I felt happy that a great and fun music video went along with it. I thought, “Look at her, inspiring youth to shake off their troubles and shake off the haters.” I also enjoy the song Mean. Sometimes you need a good “you suck and I don’t” song. Then, 1989 came out. I bought it the day it came out.  I bought it at Target so I could get the bonus tracks, those photocopied polaroids, and everything. I proceeded to listen to an entire album in my crappy Dodge Neon (this was before the CD drive broke) and I realize I’m listening to an entire album about Harry Styles. Minus that song about Lena Denham.

Update: Three years post 1989 and the Dodge Neon is still alive. No one would’ve guessed that.

Breakup songs are pretty great. I do not agree with the criticism Taylor gets for writing breakup songs. Music should be used for catharsis. You should write what you feel. I’ve never thought the “Oh just wait til she writes a song about you” jokes were that good. We want someone to write songs for us to sing/scream along to when we are mad at people.

I enjoyed “Bad Blood.” It helped me release feelings about certain ex-flames at the time. I thought this is a great breakup song. Then it comes out that it’s about Katy Perry. Then this ridiculous music video comes out. Now, if I had lots of money and was famous I would totally do a music video starring me and all my famous friends and random celebrities from television shows and Kendrick Lamar. I would do that. Would I give us all weird nicknames and have us jumping around with nunchucks? Probably not.

So now I can’t even enjoy the breakup song on the album that I liked because it’s about hating girls and because the music video was beyond my comprehension. The songs are full of pop goodness and danceability but something is missing.

Before I get to my essay on how Taylor magnificently alludes anything being her fault I want to talk about one thing she DOES do, but wrongly takes credit for. Red lipstick. The way she sings about it you’d think she was the only one who has ever worn red lipstick. But one google search will tell you, “Ancient Sumerian men and women were possibly the first to invent and wear lipstick, about 5,000 years ago. They crushed gemstones and used them to decorate their faces, mainly on the lips and around the eyes. Also Egyptians like Cleopatra crushed bugs to create a colour of red on their lips.”

Put crushed bugs on your lips, then I’ll be impressed. But you’re still 5,000 years behind.

I think there must be a lot of pressure having everyone following your every move. But I also think about how hard it is for me not having a private jet. I would be lying if I haven’t been endlessly amused since I received the following text last night:

“Oh my gaaaaaaaaaaaawshhhhh! WATCH KIM K’S SNAP STORY RIGHT NOW. You never thought you’d hear me say this but oh my gosh.”

Here is why Kim Kardashian “exposing” Taylor Swift is so great, according to me:

Kim Kardashian is this woman who is constantly criticized for her choices. She makes herself available to that criticism by having a reality show and as far as I can tell has very little interest in censoring herself. She’s very public and we’ve seen more of her (literally) than we have of most celebrities.

Taylor Swift never gets her unflattering photos posted all-over (edit: until this Reputation album art, I’m surprised she approved that), she is front-page news when she does something good, she wins every award, and when she does she gives perfectly calculated speeches about how much she’s doing for women and how she’s risen above all the people who’ve tried to bring her down. WE WERE NOT EVEN SURE SHE HAD A BELLY BUTTON AT ONE POINT, that’s how little we know about Taylor Swift. She wins every time she goes through a breakup. She surrounds herself with cool, talented, and good-looking people.

So where along this journey did we decide Taylor Swift was an inspiration for women?

Taylor Swift (2006).

So go and tell your friends that I’m obsessive and crazy
That’s fine!
You won’t mind
If I say
By the way

I hate that
Stupid old pickup truck
You never let me drive
You’re a redneck heartbreak
Who’s really bad at lying
So watch me strike a match
On all my wasted time
As far as I’m concerned you’re
Just another picture to burn

(Picture to Burn)
You should’ve said “No”, you should’ve gone home
You should’ve thought twice ‘fore you let it all go
You should’ve known that word, with what you did with her,
Get back to me (get back to me).
And I should’ve been there in the back of your mind
I shouldn’t be asking myself, “Why?”
You shouldn’t be begging for forgiveness at my feet…
You should’ve said “No”, baby, and you might still have me
(Should’ve Said No)
Key phrase here is: You should’ve 

Fearless (2008).

I’m tryin’ so hard not to get caught up now
But you’re just so cool
Run your hands through your hair
Absent-mindedly makin’ me want you
And I don’t know how it gets better than this
You take my hand and drag me head first
Fearless
And I don’t know why but with you I’d dance in a storm in my best dress
Fearless
(Fearless)

When you’re fifteen and someone tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe it.
(Fifteen)

Say you’re sorry
That face of an angel
Comes out just when you need it to
As I paced back and forth all this time
‘Cause I honestly believed in you
Holding on
The days drag on
Stupid girl,
I should have known, I should have known

(White Horse)

All this time I was wasting,
Hoping you would come around
I’ve been giving out chances every time
And all you do is let me down
(You’re Not Sorry)
Baby what happened? Please tell me
‘Cause one second it was perfect, now you’re halfway out the door
And I stare at the phone, he still hasn’t called
And then you feel so low you cant feel nothing at all
And you flashback to when he said forever and always
(Forever and Always)

And we know it’s never simple, never easy.
Never a clean break, no one here to save me.
You’re the only thing I know like the back of my hand,

(Breathe)
Speak Now (2010)
The battle’s in your hands now
But I would lay my armor down
If you’d say you’d rather love than fight
(The Story of Us)

Okay, she does have one song where she apologizes, Back to December

But this is me swallowing my pride
Standing in front of you saying I’m sorry for that night
And I go back to December
It turns out freedom ain’t nothing but missing you
Wishing I’d realized what I had when you were mine
I’d go back to December turn around and make it all right
(Back to December)
Red (2012)

I knew you were trouble when you walked in, so shame on me now, 

No apologies. He’ll never see you cry,
Pretends he doesn’t know that he’s the reason why.
You’re drowning, you’re drowning, you’re drowning.
Now I heard you moved on from whispers on the street
A new notch in your belt is all I’ll ever be
And now I see, now I see, now I see

He was long gone when he met me
And I realize the joke is on me, yeah!
(I Knew You Were Trouble)

1989 (2014)
Fade into view, oh, it’s been a while since I have even heard from you (heard from you)
I should just tell you to leave ’cause I
Know exactly where it leads but I
Watch us go ’round and ’round each time
(Style)
In I Wish You Would she admits that she wishes she hadn’t hung up the phone like she did and that she’s not mad anymore. But she still says,
You always knew how to push my buttons 
You give me everything and nothing 
This mad, mad love makes you come rushing
Stand back where you stood 
I wish you would, I wish you would 
Many of her lyrics include things like, “I know you were trouble when you walked in, so shame on me.” So while she’s not taking the blame publicly, it’s obvious that she’s blaming herself, but not in a healthy way. It’s her fault but only because she trusted someone who let her down.
It’s agonizing. Feeling like things are your fault but not taking ownership is a sad place to be in. It’s not decisive. She can’t forgive other people and she can’t forgive herself. The only way for it to be okay that she’s made mistakes is if the rest of the world understands it’s someone else’s fault.
Not being able to let things go, or “shake it off” rather, is physically and mentally painful and I feel for her.
Finally, she writes Blank Space and we think, cool, she’s owning her crazy. We’re all a little crazy sometimes. And there is the possibility that even though we’ve been hurt and played by boys in our lives that doesn’t mean that we haven’t done any damage ourselves. It didn’t make me think any less of her—well, until the music video came out and I watched her almost hit herself in the head with an axe.
But then in every interview, she says, “That’s not me, it’s just a song about who people think I am.” With that, she went from being relatable to being untouchable again.
Post the Kimye scandal Taylor proclaimed on all her social media channels,

“I Would Very Much Like To Be Excluded From This Narrative”

To which we responded, “wouldn’t we all.” But, once again, she had an opportunity to say. “Yeah, I did say that stuff and…” she changed her mind, or she was okay with it and didn’t realize the consequence, or whatever she’s feeling.

I would really like to think that she’s just writing these songs for money and that they are part of her healing process but when I heard Look What You Made Me Do I did not feel like that was the case.

First of all, it’s literally called Look What You Made Me Do. Pause for eye rolls. This has been her thing all along. Someone made her do something. See lyrics above.

No one makes Taylor do anything. Maybe a few years ago but not now. She’s rich and powerful. Second of all, I listened to the whole song twice and I’m still not sure what we made her do.

The lyrics go from oversimplified statements, cliches, confusing phrases, and barely veiled threats. It’s the kind of thing you write in your journal right after someone wrongs you, but you never release it to the public or even read it out loud to your best friend until you’ve done another draft.

Personally, I would’ve dropped the Kanye stuff altogether because it’s been a year and we’ve all forgotten about it. I didn’t want to post this blog even a week after the incident because it was already old news. But she’s bringing it back to our attention. And there’s no question about who she’s talking about because she called out his “tilted stage” which according to the song she does not like.

I’m not sure what she’s getting at because picking a fight with the Kardashian-Wests seems like a bad way to go. They have a different fan base than she does, so she’s not going to win them over. The Kardashians are both untouchable and the butt of every joke so people who love them always will and people who don’t are probably thinking, “Why do you even care what they think?” Also, using the same font on her merch that Kanye used on his just feels weird.

Taylor isn’t obligated to be a role-model for the world, but her lyrics do become part of our culture’s language and “Look What You Made Me Do” is not a phrase that should be prominent in anyone’s conversations, in my opinion. Thinking back to the “I” language you learn in elementary school, “I feel ____ when you do _____.” is fine, but thinking someone else controls what we do is dangerous and not in the slightest way empowering.
If you feel inspired by this song, I honestly want to know your side of things, because the song didn’t make me feel anything but sorry for Taylor. And I’m assuming the Wests are having a good laugh at it.
The song, album art, and the names are so bad that I’m waiting to find out that this is actually an SNL skit or some sort of Katy Perry revenge. Taylor can write good pop. And this isn’t it.
Now, because I think constructive criticism is better if you offer suggestions for improvement instead of just criticizing. Here are some things I would love to hear from Taylor. Maybe some of them will be on the album, but with a title like Reputation I’m not hopeful.

The Ups and Downs of being in a Girl Squad.

A song about how she has a friend that things are good with (which she does, right?)

My Relationship with Hiddleston was a Joke, Got You.

Look What I Did Because I’m a Grown Adult and I Make My Own Choices Good or Bad.

You Can’t Make Me Do Anything.

A song about being excused from the narrative that is as good as Burn from Hamilton.

It’s Okay to Have Feelings

It’s Great to be Rich (I mean, just own it at this point)

You Can’t Grab My A** And Get Away With It

A song about how she loves her mom

I Didn’t Want You to Know I Wrote it Until I Wanted You to Know I Wrote it.

Calvin Harris Isn’t Even His Real Name
Etc.
I think Taylor’s got a lot to give, but if she keeps going done this path of obsessing over her reputation and holding onto grudges she’s going to implode from the emotional strain. Like her music or not, I don’t wish that on anyone.

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.

#eatyourbirthday

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.

Girlfriend’s Day

I’m writing a review. I don’t usually do this because I don’t read reviews because they are stupid. I don’t like movies people like and I like movies people don’t like. I think Rotten Tomatoes is the worst judge of anything…ever.

Now that that’s out of the way…I’m not really going to write a review I just want to talk about a film on Netflix right now called Girlfriend’s Day. I don’t want to give anything away because I like going into films not knowing even the genre if possible, and part of what makes this film so delightful to me is that it follows no one genre. Buckle up, it’s vague rambling time:

First, it stars Bob Obernik and he co-wrote it. That’s what hooked me. I watched Breaking Bad here and there but it wasn’t really my thing (this is where I lose most of you) but every scene with Bob Obernik sucked me in because he is so charming and compelling and plays this awful and sometimes pathetic character that provides some comic relief in a super dark series. I connect with comic relief. Bob (I’m assuming if we met he’d let me call him that) is great. There’s not much else I can say about it but great. He can pull off a character that has dry wit without even being British. I watched all of Better Call Saul even though I never finished Breaking Bad and a few months later whilst wistfully thinking about it, I took to the internet to see what Bob’s next thing would be.

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So let the record show I intended to watch it the day it came out. Let the record ignore that my tweets get an average of two hearts.

If you’re, “not into” movies that “don’t make sense” because they’re not grounded in a world you know, you probably won’t like this movie. You probably don’t like musicals either and are probably a bad person.

As a writer, creating worlds is fun. Sometimes you want to explore a serious issue in a way that is removed from reality so it’s not so heavy. I think I relate to this because that’s the kind of world I live in. I think life is hard and serious and sometimes really depressing, but that doesn’t keep me from cracking jokes all the time.

And sometimes you don’t want to so far removed that there are superheroes and aliens–actually speaking of aliens, 10 Cloverfield Lane and Arrival do a great job with this too. A big reason is because movies with a lot of Special Effects cost a lot of money to make and we don’t all have that kind of money but still want to have a little fun. I liked the idea of The Lobster for the same reason but it ended up being too violent for my taste.

Girlfriend’s Day is set in a world where a different kind of person is famous and the stakes on something as simple as a slogan contest are high. I love scripts that can make a crisis out of something that would mean nothing to us in our world. Pixar is great at this, making us feel for toys who don’t get played with and worry about bugs when it rains.

I know a lot of people like to live/write in this surreal world and a lot of these movies end up with 30% on Rotten Tomatoes and/or never distributed so I want to voice my encouragement to keep on keeping on. I think we forget sometimes that it’s okay to be a little weird. I’m not sure what it says about me that I find weirdness relatable but I loved Girlfriend’s Day and if you’re weird, you just might enjoy it.

Girlfriend’s Day is rated for (as far as I noticed) some F-words. There is also some blood and implications of sex. But you should still watch it, Mom, there are less F-words than Fundamentals of Caring.

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Netflix is on a roll right now. They’ve got some Original films that are blowing up and they’ve taken chances on writers/directors who don’t have lots of experience under their belt.

Recently in an interview, Ava Duvernay talked about how she had support from Netflix to do any documentary she wanted and she ended up making 13th which is fascinating and relevant and it was the story she wanted to tell and had wanted to tell for a while. Girlfriend’s Day was also a script that had been around for a while. Like 18 years.

At Sundance we saw a few films that were or have since been picked up by Netflix and one thing they all have in common for me is they feel like the stories the creators wanted to tell. None of them felt formulaic. They didn’t feel over-produced. They aren’t strapped into a genre. Some of them even make fun of certain genres in a fun way. They aren’t all comedy or all drama. None of them shove one theme down your throat but they all have themes. They explore new worlds and/or just tell stories that are unique and interesting. There is some good stuff coming next month and in the coming months you will love (like Mudbound). Also, Fuller House wasn’t even bad. You go, Netflix. And you, reading this, go Netflix.

Love Day

I asked Jeff to get me a new gold chain for the pendant I always wear for Valentine’s Day. You know, because jewelry is one of those things you’re supposed to ask for on Valentine’s Day. I had lost the original gold chain long ago and had been wearing it with one that made my neck itch. I didn’t realize until I looked at my necklace in the mirror what a perfect Valentine’s gift it really was.

Valentine’s Day has never really been about romantic love for me. From an early age it was about getting chocolate and stuffed animals from my mom and sharing candy at school (side note: candy is one of my love languages). It’s about family and friendship and the many definitions of love.

So let’s break it down.

 

By the way, we literally have a friend in the jewelry business. Andrew Beesley for all things jewelry.

This necklace is engraved with my name in Arabic, the language of my ancestors on my mother’s side. I think about how much love my great-grandpa must have had and how hard he worked to bring his family to this country. I don’t know him but I am pretty sure he thought about his future family to come when he made such a big decision.

 

My parents got this necklace for me while they were living in Saudi Arabia before I was born. My mom didn’t have any ultrasounds with me. I could’ve come out any kind of way but somehow she knew I was Lauren. My parents have always loved me and known me better than I know myself. That’s love. And that’s where I learned to love.

Now, the new chain comes from my husband. My new family. The person who loves me because he chooses to, not just because we’re related. That’s a pretty amazing kind of love. Not only does he take great care of me, he takes care of our friends and our dog who are also an important part of our new family.

Now I’m not sure how “Lauren” translates to Arabic but one way or another these symbols represent me. The last few years I’ve struggled a lot with self-love. I took every mistake, failure, and every person I disappointed very hard. Those things are hard to avoid in life no matter how hard you try, so I was sad often. I started to feel worse and worse about myself.

At one point before getting married I had a breakdown. Making a forever decision felt really daunting and scary but the decision to marry Jeff seemed like a good one, so I was confused. I heard a voice in my head that said, “It’s not that you don’t love him, it’s that you don’t love yourself.”

That kind of sucked to hear. I really love people, I love a lot of things, so why can’t I love myself, the person I spend the most time with? I know how much my parents love me, I know how much my husband loves me, I know that I have friends who love me, but there are days I can’t believe anyone can, does, or ever would love me.

And it’s because I don’t (always) love myself.

Now here is where I wish I had some cure-all magical tips for loving yourself, but I don’t.

But I can tell you, you’re not alone if that helps at all. Whether you’ve got Depression with a capital D or are just suffering from some winter or Valentine’s Day blues. Know that you’re not alone. In fact, we’re making pretzels tonight if you want to come over and literally not be alone. We bought a home with more rooms than we need so we’re always ready for desks. Even if the two spare rooms are occupied we’ve got a fold-out bed and a blow-up mattress. Our door is always open–not literally, but we can give you the code.

If you feel unlovable know that I feel it too. And know that those thoughts are coming from darkness and not from your true self. Because deep down somewhere, and maybe it’s been buried very deep and covered with hurt, you know how amazing you are. You know there are things you can do that no one else can do in quite the same way. Try and take care of yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t believe people who are too hard on you. There are a lot of unforgiving people out there and you can’t let them get you down.

We each have our own ways to snap out of things, some people, and I don’t understand them, actually love to exercise. They need it. Some of us exercise because we know it’ll feel good eventually. Sometimes chocolate helps, sometimes soup does. Recently I was told biting into a lemon can help change your mood–if nothing else it shocks you out of a funk. Some days you need to take off and some days you need to work harder. Take some time and get to know what helps you and then make it a priority to do those things.

Some days you have to take a long shower and just try and forget about the fishes or roommates who need it. A huge part of my problem is I feel guilty for everything. Anything nice I do for myself could go to someone else who needs it more, but you have to take time and focus on you. It’s the airplane analogy where you can’t help others until you first help yourself.

I am always plugging this book, The Body Keeps the Score, and I’ll never stop. In one section it takes about things that can help ground us such as yoga and acting. Sometimes hobbies feel like more work or like a silly indulgence but they can also really help your mental health and help you love yourself.

 

There’s a reason I wrote my last blog post about gifts you can buy someone else or yourself. Seriously, buy yourself some comfy underwear/leggings it’ll make a difference. Or a cozy robe or blanket or whatever makes you happy or some of that fancy chocolate when it goes on sale.

Today (and hopefully every day) is a day to remember all the people in your life who you love and who love you back and most importantly to love yourself because you’re not getting away from yourself whether you’re in a relationship or not.