How to have the best birthday ever

Having a big birthday party and being the center of attention within a large group of people literally is my ultimate worst.nightmare.ever.  The stress far outweighs the enjoyment I will have.  I am an introvert who love people, but I love people in smaller settings and more 1:1 conversations.  The funny thing is, I love to throw big birthday parties for other people, but I hate them for myself.  So this year for my 26th birthday, I dodged well intended plans by my friends to throw me a party, and I decided to have the best birthday ever by following these two steps:

Step 1: Tell James exactly what I want. I learned about 3 minutes into our marriage that he can’t read my mind, and expecting him to do so only leads to frustration and fits of rage. So this year, I literally made a list of what I wanted, gave it to him a week in advance, so he wan’t left guessing, and I was happy.

Step 2: Find all the free things.  I was smart this year and went online and researched all the places that;ll give you free stuff (this list was my favorite), and used an old email to sign up for all the clubs and memberships and all the other hoops they make you jump through to get free stuff.

With those two main rails in place, I was set to have the best birthday ever, perfect tailored for my introverted, frugal self.  This is what I did:

Johnny Beans Coffee

Our cute, local coffee shop advertised a free 12 oz brew for your birthday on their Instagram, so I took a screenshot of it a few weeks ago and had it ready when I walked in on my birthday morning.  Upon hearing it was my birthday, the wonderful baristas went above and beyond, and gave me a 16 oz “mocha locha” drink that is approximately 1,200 calories and positively delicious.  I sat at a table, read my Bible, and chatted with the friendly people in there.  It was the perfect way to kick off my birthday.  Way to go at being awesome, Johnny Beans!


Birthday Brunch 

I live in Austin, TX, which is the capital for original, creative, cutesy places to eat, and there are probably 400 local options within a 10 mile radius to choose for brunch, but I chose my favorite: Denny’s.  My friend Ashley and I have a tradition of going there every couple weeks or so, and I love everything about it: the laid back attitude of the wait staff, the quotes on the coffee mugs, the reasonable prices.  When you show your license, they give you a free Slam for your birthday (shout out to my girl Ashley for covering my spinach and tomatoes on my egg whites because APPARENTLY they up charge you for these fancy things).



I am low maintenance and anti-frivolous about most things, so call me a hypocrite, but I LOVE a good massage.   I recently left work in the middle of the day because my neck hurt and I “desperately needed treatment.” Listen, I don’t know what it is, but they are magical.  This item made my birthday list, and I enjoyed a perfect 60 minute massage courtesy of my mother in law (thanks Darla!).



Enough said.  I went to sleep. In the middle of the day. And I enjoyed every second of it.

More food

We decided to be “fancy” for dinner, so James and I hit up Macaroni Grill.  I don’t know what says “extravagant birthday dinner” more than coloring on the table cloths.  We decided to splurge on the only item we had to pull out a wallet for all day, so we split a meal for one.  James also talked the waitress into giving us a free birthday dessert (and they don’t sing to you, so it’s a win-win).

pasta     dessert

Look but don’t buy

One of our favorite hobbies is walking around Barnes & Noble and looking at books and games we won’t buy.  I don’t know why, but we love it and can spend a solid hour reading about new board games and checking out new book releases to keep in mind to buy when they hit the shelves at Half Price Books.  We were motivated to play the games we already own, so went home and competed in some very cut-throat rounds of Skip Bo to end the night.


Best.birthday.ever. I’m being serious.  Not to mention the coupons for free stuff I still have sitting in my inbox for Maggie Moos, Texas Roadhouse, Red Robin, Feddruckers, Genghis Grill, and Baskin Robbins that are good for the rest of the month. Even more than that, the sweet friends and family who called, texted, wrote me cards, and sent gifts.  The best parts of life are the people in it, and I’ve got good people.  I am sitting here just relishing in it.  Everyone has a birthday every year, so I know it’s not that big of a deal, but it’s so fun to feel celebrated by the people you love.  Here’s to Year 26!

cg   rents

Until next time,



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