8 Unique Ways to Celebrate Your Summer Birthday

Summer birthdays yield some really fun options for celebrating. With school out and vacations abounding, people have more time to plan and attend parties—more time than they might have at any other time of the year. So if your birthday is coming up, treat yourself to a good time. You deserve it! You work hard day in and day out on top of raising kids. So, how do you throw a party that’s really special and that stands out from the crowd? First, think about all the things your friends have been doing and then make sure you don’t do any of those things. Instead, check out some of these ideas.

  1. Celebrate Christmas during the summer. There’s a little less than 6 months until Christmas, so lots of people like to now celebrate a half-Christmas in the summer. If your birthday falls sometime around then, this could be a fun and unexpected way to celebrate your birthday. If you’re accepting birthday gifts, put them under a fake Christmas tree. Check out some ugly Christmas sweaters from Tipsy Elves for fun outfit ideas (bonus: a good ugly sweater will carry you through many holiday parties to come) and get antlers for the dog or bells for the cat. Instead of a flag or tassel banner, use some old Christmas ornaments. Serve summer versions of favorites like cold eggnog, iced (and spiked!) hot chocolate, and snow cone snowmen.
  2. Have a champagne brunch. Invite your friends over earlier in the day for an at-home, upscale meal. Take some long tables out to the porch or yard and decorate for a fancy summer garden party. Ask that guests come dressed to impress and decorate your table like a fancy spread from a magazine: folded napkins, pitchers of lemonade and iced tea, and mason jars of flowers at each place setting.
  3. See a show, attend a concert, or check out outdoor music festivals and street fairs. The summer is always full of these kinds of great outdoor activities so find out what’s going on nearby or wander around a popular area in the city to see what’s there. If you can find a concert or a show in the park, bring along some picnic lunches for a lazy afternoon of yummy food, drinks, and music.
  4. Take a tour of something interesting in your town: the historic sites, the famous landmarks, the museums, etc. Or check out local breweries for a tasting tour. And keep a watch out for block tours. Sometimes areas with lots of restaurants will have tasting tours where you can pay in advance to stop and sample something at every participating restaurant. This could be a fun stand-alone activity or a good complement to a brewery tour or bar crawl.
  5. Go for a bike ride or a hike. Getting your friends out into nature will be a really refreshing and enjoyable experience, especially if you have a few guests who aren’t normally that interested in exploring the great outdoors. Keep it simple and not too intense, but make sure to pick a route with lots of scenic views.
  6. Take a mini trip. If you don’t feel like throwing a big party for lots and lots of people, consider trimming down your guest list to just a few and taking everyone on a little road trip. Pick a fun destination like a nearby beach or mountain range, and make sure to stop at some fun attractions along the way like diners, roadside attractions, and landmarks. Download the Roadtrippers app to make sure you don’t miss out on any of these attractions.
  7. Have a craft party. If you and your friends are already the craft types, invite them to bring over projects to work on. Otherwise, spend some time on Pinterest and other DIY sites and find some fun and easy crafts to make. Set up little stations in your yard or living room with lots of fun and simple crafts to do. Ideas might include: learning to knit or crochet, making terrariums or hanging cactus gardens, making jewelry, or making scrapbooks or decorated frames.
  8. Have a cooking or baking party. If you and your friends love to cook, then don’t let them miss out on the fun of preparing your birthday menu. Invite them over early to help you with all of the stages of cooking and preparation. Be sure to pick out some fun playlists of good cooking music, and decorate your kitchen to make it festive. Go with some classic party themes like banners and balloons (but tape everything to the walls and ceilings to keep them out of the way while you cook).

 

Planning a really special and unique birthday celebration is all about figuring out what will be most fun and memorable for you and your guests. Think about the activities that you and your friends really enjoy and go with that! There’s no reason to throw a party that you don’t really want just because you think it’s the way birthday parties are supposed to go. Be creative and unique for a really memorable summer birthday.

 

Your Kids Don’t Come First

Change is good.  It always is.  And I have to say that I just recently had an epiphany of sorts, and it has altered the way I think and feel in ways I could only previously imagine.

I feel that I have always been overly dependent on my daughter.   I almost feel sorry for putting her in a position where she was my wellspring of happiness and self-worth.  I knew that on a subconscious level, the reason “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman” from Frozen keeps playing inside my head is that I have associated it with my daughter.  Whatever she likes, I like too.  It’s as if I’ve lost my identity and wrapped myself emotionally and mentally around her.  That’s just totally unhealthy.

She was my number one.  Everything else took a step back.  But when I started reading the Wealthy Single Mommy blog, I learned how important it is that we don’t put our kids first.

Now before you feed me to the lions, hear me out.

Yes, I love my daughter.  I love her to the moon and back.  But that doesn’t mean that I live for her.  That she’s the reason for my existence.  Eventually, she’ll grow up and have a life of her own.

My job now is to be an example to her, to show her what it’s like to live a full and rich life.  I have to show her that it’s not her obligation to make me happy, that I can do that by myself.

I realize how my old mindset has carried over to my just-recently-ended romantic relationship.  Probably one of the reasons it didn’t work out, was because my then boyfriend saw how much of a doting mother I was to my daughter.  He felt out of place.  He felt less than important.  If I knew then what I know now, it would have made a whole world of difference.

My daughter is staying at her Dad’s for two weeks.  I’m at the halfway mark, and I’m proud to say that I no longer achingly pine away for her.  The gassy anxiety spells I used to have are now a thing of the past.  I enjoy my time alone, like a normal and healthy adult should.

If and when love comes knocking on my door again, I’ll know better to give him the attention he needs and deserves.  If he asks me out to a Gin Blossoms concert even on a weeknight, I’ll go.

Happy parents make happier kids.  If you know how to take care of yourself, then you’ll be better and more effective at taking care of your children.  That’s how it all adds up in the parenting equation.

The Obligatory Valentine’s Day Post

I was never big on the whole Valentine’s Day thing.  Even when I was younger, I simply loathed this day.  I was the Scrooge of Valentine’s Day incarnate.  I remember wearing black every February 14th.  It’s not that I hated being in love, or that I wanted to shoot down every hand-holding couple in sight.  The whole commercialism of the occasion just rubs me the wrong way.

But if I must write about love and all it’s cracked up to be, I have to say that right now, I think I’m in love.  I am in love with myself, although not in a narcissistic way.

I have started my journey towards eating healthier.  I gulp down green smoothies everyday and eat less and less processed food.  I made a pact with myself to eat more of the good stuff.  I want to stay away from any life-threatening illnesses and enjoy life to the fullest.

Yoga is slowly creeping into my system.  I enjoy how I challenge myself to get into those intense poses.  It’s empowering how I’m able to do things I never thought I could do.  Physically, I love how my body is changing.  Seeing my belly fat gradually vanishing gives me a sense of fulfillment like no other.

Taking care of me is the greatest manifestation of love.  Love not only for myself, but for the people I hold most dear.  If I live to be 90, and still look and feel 40, then the people around me wouldn’t have to worry about taking me to the hospital or spending a fortune on medical treatments.

This Valentine’s Day, I ask you… Do you love yourself?  What have you done for you lately?

The Joys of Adult Playtime

The best days of my life were my childhood days.  Life was so simple then, stripped of the complications of technology and soap opera-inspired drama.  All a child needed to thrive was having these four basic needs met: food, shelter, clothing and play.  I could say with absolute certainty that, luckily, I was one kid who had all these needs satisfied.  Although I may have been on the waifish side, I was never lacking in play.

I couldn’t care less about getting my skin burned to a crisp as I spent hours under the sun.  If I wasn’t out on the streets, playing skipping rope with the neighborhood posse, I was diving and splashing at the village pool.  When the homework was done, I’d grab a quick snack and once again convene with the neighborhood kids for a session of role-playing games.  We’d play teacher-student or husband-wife-with-kids.

And then this question begs to be recognized: Do I still play as an adult?

Since it may seem awkward- maybe even ghastly- to see a woman in her late thirties take to the streets and jump up and down on a skipping rope (bobbing breasts, notwithstanding!), I have chosen other alternatives to play.

After a long and tiring day at work, I sometimes pick up the guitar and play a few ditties.  Alice Cooper would’ve been proud.  On days when I don’t feel so musically inclined, I instead try to do a bit of yoga.   When inspired, I write.  These days, anything that’s relaxing is play to me.  Going on Facebook, by the way, hardly qualifies as relaxing (just a side note!).

We all know that all work and no play makes for a dull person.  Find whatever it is that brings you joy and indulge yourself.  The last thing you’d want to be is dry and lifeless.

Religion Bites

About two weeks ago, I did something which I haven’t done in ages- I went to church.  I went through the motions like I always have.   Growing up in a Catholic school, making the sign of the cross and clutching the rosary used to be part of my everyday life.

And then something happened… I cried.  Not the bawl your eyes out kind.  It was more of the silent, sniffy, discreetly-pat-your-eyes-with-a-tissue type of crying.

When I was a kid, I remember feeling a sense of calm and comfort whenever I went to church.  I felt that same comfort that moment I cried, but I knew something was amiss.  For the life of me, I don’t know exactly why I cried, but I just felt deep down inside that I was still looking for answers to questions.

No doubt, I believe in God. But I just want to be guided correctly.  I don’t want to fall prey to empty pagan practices.  I want to believe in what is true.

I don’t have anything against the Catholic religion- or any religion, for that matter.  If it’s religion which gives people hope and strength, then I’m all for it.

Faith, they say, is believing without knowing (or something like that!).  Does the fact that I want some sort of evidence of what is real diminish my faith in God?  Am I going to be fed to the lions now?

The One Without a Witty Title

More than two weeks have gone by, and I still haven’t written a new post for this blog.  This is more than a simple case of writer’s block.

Just like a romance gone sour, I feel I have lost my passion to write.  The motivation to weave words into moving pieces has taken a one-way ticket to oblivion.  I’d much rather curl myself up in a corner and immerse myself in a book, or daydream the whole day while pigging out on greasy burgers and fries.

Could this be merely a phase?  I hope so.  It would be a shame to put all this hard work to waste.

Until I sort my goals out, I will be stuck in limbo, uncertain of what steps to take next.  I’m unsure of where I’m headed.

Now, this has just turned into an utterly boring blog post, devoid of any moral, social or emotional significance.

I’m pathetic.

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Guilty.  That’s what I am.  Yes, I’m guilty of once again daydreaming at work.

For the longest time, I’ve had this job-dissatisfaction bug pester me.  It’s not something I can easily shake off, I’m afraid.

At some point in your career, you just inevitably hit a roadblock, a seemingly dead end.  You can’t move left, right or upwards.

So, what does it take to quit one’s job?  A boss straight out of hell?  Crappy employee benefits?  If only it were that easy to do a Jerry Maguire and walk out of the office with goldfish in hand.

If you do decide to make a cadaver of your present job, make sure you have a backup plan.  They say that it’s important to have at least 3-months’ worth of your salary to help with your expenses during your employment downtime.

Take stock of your skills and talents.  Is there a career which could give you a chance to earn while doing whatever it is you’re good at?  Do an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, and find a job which these fit into.

Take a shot at talking to your boss about your discontent with your job, and maybe he or she can help spice things up a bit for you at work.  He can give you more challenging projects to work on, and you’ll

Then again, maybe all you need is a major paradigm shift.  Try seeing your job in a different light.  You might learn to appreciate it more, instead of heading out the exit door.

Your happiness will play a huge role in your productivity at work.  Be sure to assess everything before making a life-altering decision.  You should at least wear a smile if you want to keep being part of the rat race.

Midday Musings

Blank

My mind is blank

Can this pass as poetry?

I seriously doubt that.

My mind is blank, but at the same time, a million things are going around in my head.

Talk about irony!

A swirl of emotions envelops my being, takes control…

Leaves me with writer’s block

And a heart that longs for…

Him

Me vs. Me: How to Stop Battling With Ourselves

You are your worst critic.  I know I am mine.    Not a day goes by that I don’t engage myself in intermittent self-berating sessions whenever I fail at something.  No matter how trivial the mistake, I always seem to make a mountain out of it.  The otherwise negligible error is then catapulted to major blunder status.

And where does that leave me?  I end up feeling more miserable than I was at the beginning.  Instead of simply getting over what I did, I keep playing the scenario over and over in my head, making corrections as I go.  Doesn’t help at all, because what’s done is done.  It just tires me like a Despicable Me minion doing a half-marathon.

We all have our respective concerns from which emotions of fear, anger and worry emerge.  We often unconsciously spend so much time trying to steer clear of these concerns.  What happens is, the more we push them away, the more they have a hold on us.

For instance, your major concern is your discontent with your current job.  Then, your fears and worries will revolve around finding a new job which is more fulfilling.  You become stressed out from scouring the net for employment opportunities.  You may find yourself lashing out at your co-workers for seemingly no reason at all.

Once we become more aware of the patterns of habit from our areas of concern, we become more in control of ourselves.  If you start to acknowledge your job dissatisfaction, then you will be able to have more control over the emotions springing from that, instead of having those feelings take over you.

Teach yourself to accept whatever life circumstance you’re in.  Do not resist how you feel.  If you react to things a certain way, don’t punish yourself for it.  Just allow the feelings to pass through your body, in and out.   Purge, instead of repress.

It’s all about being true to oneself.  Accept who you are, and you will be more forgiving of yourself- and others as well.  Everything else will then nicely fall into place.

The Emotional Detox: I Cleanse, Therefore I Am

One particular childhood experience which I don’t intend to relive is deworming.  It was crazy but had to be done.  These days, I have been putting myself through a different kind of purging.  It’s an emotional detox of sorts.  I have made a vow to myself to get rid of the toxic people in my life.

What or rather, who are these toxic people?  They’re the ones who put you down, who use and abuse you, who make you feel like scum of the earth (when in fact THEY’RE scum).   Instead of reveling in your accomplishments, they trivialize it.  They make you drive to far-flung outskirts of the city just to pick up roast pork for a birthday celebration.

Before things take their toll on my overall health, I have decided to let go of these people, to expunge them from my life once and for all.  They’re like the stubbly hairs on my otherwise silky legs which I’d like to get rid of.   They’re the people who stain my rose-colored glasses, blurring my view of the world.

How do I do it, then?  When they try to get in touch with me, I turn a blind eye or a deaf ear.  I numbly run my calloused fingers over our virtual book of memories together.  Those places and events no longer elicit any emotional response from me like they used to.

Negativity is my enemy.  It should be yours too.