It’s my Birthday!
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Well, at least it was yesterday. Today was the day I was kept up all night by tiny coughs, peed on when the tiny cougher was allowed into our bed, thrown up on when trying to give the gasping wretch her medicine, spit on when attempting again (because apparently, it didn’t taste “yummy” enough), and then forced to clean up dog vomit. You know, because that’s a thing one of the dogs needed to do today.

26, it’s on.

Still, it was pretty awesome as far as Birthdays go. My friend Sarah knit me this awesome infinity scarf:
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It’s so cozy, I could die!

And my friend Angela got me a jar of roasted red pepper pasta sauce! I am going to eat the HELL out of that!

Since it’s my Birthday, I have a gift for you. But, since it’s my Birthday, it isn’t something nearly as interesting as a recipe. Like I had to cook anything this past weekend. Instead, it’s…

Crunchy, Hip, and Broke Celebrations!

A practical guide to celebrating cheap but awesome.

1. It’s your birthday, not your wedding.
I’ve worked really crappy retail long enough to have seen, at least twice a week, some girl buy herself an entire new outfit just to go out in for her Birthday. Don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with getting yourself fancied up for a special day, but there is a difference between fancy, and fancy. Repeat after me: I don’t need a two hundred dollar dress. Liberating, right? Besides, I don’t care what day of the year it is, those eighty dollar pumps aren’t going to make a whole hell of a lot of a difference. Instead of shopping around for fancy clothes try the clearance racks, or the thrift store. Even better, check out your own racks. I’m almost positive most of you have some kind of dress that you only wear sometimes because it isn’t particularly practical for daily use. Well, it’s your birthday so throw practical to the wind! I went with my Valentines Day ensemble minus the pumps. Because it was my Birthday, not Mike’s.

2. You can give your guests a drink, but don’t try to get them drunk.
Aside from the fact that getting your guests completely wasted is a bad idea for safety, legal, and social reasons (remember that party where someone got drunk and decided to declare their love for the Birthday boy in front of his girlfriend? Yeah, me neither.), having more than a few drinks on hand for people is just expensive. You know what’s not cheap? Decent booze. You know what you shouldn’t even bother spending your money on if you want everyone’s evening to remain vomit free? Cheap booze. I can not BEGIN to stress this enough–buy enough good booze that everyone could have a drink, maybe two, if you even buy booze at all. Because you’re definitely not obligated to provide anyone with anything, and you certainly can have a dry party. Now, if you’re celebrating elsewhere, the booze situation isn’t your problem. We ended up elsewhere for the night, but rest assured that we had a 12 pack Great Lakes Sampler and a bottle of wine, and that was it. We were prepared!

(Another good reason to not serve your guests too much booze is the reduced risk of property damage. Years ago I knew a guy who got so drunk that he went outside to throw up and killed a shrub. By puking. Don’t let your friends be that guy.)

3. I don’t care what anyone says, everybody loves board games.
This one’s pretty self explanatory, but I can’t imagine cheaper entertainment than a rousing game of somewhat drunken Scrabble (not to be confused with completely sober Scrabble, which is fun, but far less creative). One of the best Birthday parties I ever had involved about ten of my favorite people and a game called “In a Pickle.” It’s a good way to go.

Don’t pretend you’re too cool for board games. We both know that’s not true.

4. Bake your own damn cake!
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Doesn’t that look yummy? I made that! And boy oh boy do I wish I’d come up with that recipe so I could give it to you and receive all your love and admiration, but it was from a cookbook written by this lady. If you search for “mango cupcakes” you’ll find the cake, but not the icing. The icing is part of the cookbook, and the book is very worth having.

Now, if you’re not particularly crunchy, I’m sure you’re happy with that…”cake”…you can buy in the…”bakery”…section of any major grocery store. Go ahead. Enjoy your hydrogenated oils and eight different kinds of sugar. Go have a few fig newtons while you’re at it. If you’re crunchy though (and you know, have a high enough opinion of yourself to feed yourself something decent on your own Birthday) you want to do better.

If you aren’t broke, you can go to a place like this and order the most yummy-tastic vegan baked good in the history of baked goods. You could also go to an honest to god bakery and still do much better than that…”cake”…you were considering in the grocery store. I’ve eaten at both places. They taste like joy and are well worth the price…if you’re only getting a cupcake or a muffin. Do you have any idea how five bucks per cupcake translates when you’re trying to order an actual cake, though? Oh yes, it will be a fine cake eating experience, and for it you will pay dearly. WITH YOUR IMMORTAL SOUL. Or like, forty bucks.

I can’t afford that, so I made my own. They tasted heavenly, were kind of gourmet, and my dad can’t stop eating them. Hahahahaha–joke’s on you dad! Those are actually good for your heart! But uh, don’t chase them with bacon maybe and lay off the soda because I mean, you know, diabetes and all that being a thing in America…

The cake philosophy can actually be used to cut all sorts of expenses such as “cut your own damn fruit” and “chop your own damn veggies” and “make your own damn dip.” If you’ve gotta feed your guests, a little extra work helps a ton.

5. Try not to think about it too much

I’m a big believer in Birthday’s being the only day out of the entire year where you are given a complete pass to not give a @#%$. Seriously, get what you need done, and go have a good time! Don’t worry about the food, your clothes, how much fun your guests are having, or any of that. Have fun, eat yummy food, and have a few drinks (if you want). What’s important is being with the people who make you happiest, because any excuse to do that is an excellent one.

I’m not going to even lie, I usually have really, really awesome Birthdays even though I’m almost always completely broke. Why? I use the list! Hooray for the list! So you should use the list, too. It’s a well known fact that receiving a really awesome list from a really awesome Birthday Girl is a good omen. It’s been documented and everything, you know.

Happy Monday, readers. 🙂


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