Pumpkin Beer Taste Test


Drinking is a tricky subject for me.  I used to be my go-to coping skill before I was diagnosed.  I drank alone and almost never wanted to go out to an event where there wouldn’t be drinking.  Once I started on medication I became much more careful and cautious about what and how much I drank.  For the past two years or so I just quit drinking all together.  Just not having anything was easier for me than trying to regulate how much I drank.  Now I’m finally to a point where I can just have a drink or two and be fine, which is a nice place to be.

So with fall upon us I decided to do something fun and try some pumpkin beers!  I thought it would be fun to have Nicole participate in this to give a little different perspective.  To give you some context, she doesn’t like pumpkin stuff (gasp!) and only drinks Bud Light.

leinenkugel's harvest patch shandy

Leinenkugel’s Harvest Patch Shandy

I really love this one.  I’m not surprised because I really loved their Summer Shandy also.   This beer is very light and sweet with a pumpkin spice taste that isn’t too overbearing.  I could drink more than one of these and not get tired of it.  Also no weird after taste.  Nicole’s opinion: “This tastes like pumpkin pie.  The experienced pumpkin beer drinker might turn down their nose at this.”

new belgium pumpkick

New Belgium “Pumpkick”

This one has a lot of flavors going on in a good way.  It has cranberry and lemongrass along with the standard pumpkin spices, and you can taste that.  There’s a bit of a cranberry after taste.  It’s also a very nice color and the bottle is my favorite by far.  Nicole really liked this one and said, “It’s like a regular beer with a hint of pumpkin.  If I was a bartender I would recommend this.”

mother's mr pumpkin

Mother’s Brewing Company “Mr. Pumpkin”

This is from our local Springfield brewery Mother’s.  I haven’t had many of their beers although they’re all over Springfield all the time.  This beer has a bit of a pumpkin flavor but for me it’s a little overpowered by the dark beer flavor.  It has bit of a pumpkin after taste though.  I do like the pretty caramel color and I love that this is from our local brewery, but it’s not my favorite of the bunch.  Nicole said, “It just has a pfft of pumpkin.  It tastes like a dark beer with a pumpkin after taste.”

shock top pumpkin wheat

Shock Top “Pumpkin Wheat”

This has an odd sharp taste.  The pumpkin is not strong with this one.  Like the last beer, it tastes like wheat beer with a slight pumpkin after taste.  Also not my fave.  Nicole says, “Pumpkin-y.  Wheat-y.  I like it.  This one is my favorite so far.”

schlafly pumpkin ale

Schlafly “Pumpkin Ale”

This was always my friends’ go-to pumpkin beer and now I know why.  It definitely has a great strong pumpkin flavor and is maybe the most potent pumpkin flavor so far.  Nicole says, “It’s very pumpkin.  It’s a pumpkin kick in your mouth.”

woodchuck pumpkin hard cider

Woodchuck “Pumpkin Hard Cider”

This was the wild card of the bunch, with it being a cider instead of a beer.  It has less of a pumpkin flavor than the beers, the apple flavor is much more prominent.  I think this is because it just has pumpkin and no pumpkin spices.  It definitely mellows out the apple flavor though and gives it a less sweet flavor than a traditional hard apple cider.  Nicole says, “This tastes like a caramel apple.”

Well that does it for my beer taste test.  Have you had a pumpkin beer yet or would you try one?  Comment and let me know!



Other than my wife and my mom, I have no friends.

I used to joke that I went through friends in cycles with the seasons. I would have a friend for a semester or a year and then we would stop being friends. Our relationship was based on scheduling – we happened to see each other naturally in school or at a job.  I didn’t, and still don’t, know how to keep people around when they aren’t just in my life naturally.

But with other people, they tried to keep that connection, but I just couldn’t handle them anymore.  This happened  more in later years, and I think that was when my illness was really taking strong strides to become a part of my daily life.  I wasn’t diagnosed though.  Before seeing people or after seeing them, they were all I could think about and not in a good way.  I became constantly stressed about seeing or talking to friends so I cut ties with them purposefully.  It was what was best for me.  I think this led to me not really wanting to have friendships at all, because I knew I didn’t know how to handle my feelings.  It wasn’t because of anything they did intentionally, but because of how I reacted to them.

I’ve started to miss having friends. Especially when I want to nerd out over something like Harry Potter or have a jam session, things that Nicole & Mom aren’t down with.  I met a really cool gal at my last job who had similar interests as me, we were great friends at work and even hung out a few times outside of work, but of course, now that I’m not there anymore I haven’t stayed in contact with her.  I think about texting her and I should just do it, but I don’t.

Does anyone else have problems getting/keeping friends?  I would love to hear your advice on this topic.

Don’t forget to be awesome,


Office Makeover

In a hypomanic frenzy two weeks ago, I decided to start cleaning my office. And by cleaning, I mean throwing a bunch of stuff away. I had recently cleared out space for my keyboard and dug it out of storage only to find it won’t power up. So I decided I needed to get things back in order on Wednesday and although I was feeling lousy in general I had a bit of energy so I thought I would get a move on and blog how it went.

8am – With country music on the radio and lots of coughs and sniffles, I’m getting started.

8:30 – This is totally wearing me out already. I have succeeded in moving my desk against the wall (it was in the middle of the room) and cleaning underneath it. As I sit here smoking and writing, I’m contemplating setting out some goals for myself. I would absolutely love to have my desk against the mint wall, but moving that shelf would just be such a hassle. I think my goal should be to have anything that can be removed from the office in a new home (or ready for a new home, like our booth) by end of day. That would make me feel good.

9am – changed my mind and decided to just go for it. Got everything off the shelf and swapped it with the desk. I kind of love it but now everything has to be re shelved. I would really love to go through things as I do that. By the way, all the boxes of stuff are mostly mugs for Etsy and other vintage stuff for our flea market booth or eBay or wherever I intended to sell it when I bought it.

9:15 – Another dose of blue cold medicine and I went in the office to get back to it then immediately climbed back out over all the boxes. I don’t know if everything will go tidily back on the shelves without some purging. Pro: I have a nice clean clutter-free floor to work on. Con: I may not be in the mood for getting rid of stuff and I’m definitely not in the mood to tag stuff for the booth. Pro: I found a ton of yarn hidden under my desk, what else will I find! Con: if I take too long Nicole will see my crazy mess. Will take all these things into consideration.

9:30 – Checked Pinterest for office inspiration and just found a bunch of totally beautiful but completely unrealistic looking offices. Do these photos belong to real people or are they just styled for magazines and stuff? I’m stuck with ridiculous wicker furniture and an ugly But very perfect-for-me desk, but either way I am grateful I have an office space at all. Some of the Pinterest pics are just office nooks anyway and I have a whole room!

10:30 – um, I’m finished? What!? What just happened? There’s still a big ominous box of stuff in the hallway that I’ve been putting off going through for ages and clothes on the bed to be tagged for the booth but otherwise, everything is good in the office. That was not as bad as I thought it would be. If only I could be this productive all the time.

11 – Got great words of encouragement from Nicole, although now I fear she will think I have secret productivity hidden inside that I just choose not to use on housework. I promise that is not the case! I hope something in this medicine is not making me h-manic. Of course I can’t just let a good thing happen without thinking there’s a catch. Anyway, I started a little decor wall so I’m going to take some better pics and let you guys see where this journey has led me.


Sounds of Sunday: BYU Vocal Point

Featured image from BYUVocalPoint.com

So this week I’m sharing two songs from BYU Vocal Point, an all-male a cappella group from Brigham Young University.  The first is the video that made me start watching them, a Newsies medley with a really cool one-shot video.  I love Newsies, my freshman year roommate and I probably watched it once a week in our dorm room.  She had it on VHS.  But I digress.  It’s a great arrangement and an even cooler video.  If you’re not into one-shot videos or Newsies though, the second video is probably more for you, it’s a cover of I Lived by One Republic.  They also have some great arrangements of other pop songs and hymns, but these are by far my two favorites.

Newsies Medley – BYU Vocal Point

I Lived – One Republic, BYU Vocal Point cover

Fall Bucket List

Fall is my favorite season.  I think since I was in school for so long (19 years! Wow!) the fall feels like the start of a new year for me since it’s basically the start of the school year.

I always have a big list of fall fun stuff to do but for whatever reason I don’t follow through with any of it.  Part of it is just my lack of productivity in general, part of it is anxiety, but I think I also just tend to wait for that perfect day to do things.  Well I will wait no longer!  So here are some things that are on my simple little fall bucket list.

fall bucket list one week of pumpkin themed meals

fall bucket list go to a fall festival

fall bucket list fall trees

fall bucket list bake a pie

fall bucket list carve a pumpkin

fall bucket list costume

fall bucket list pumpkin beer tasting

fall bucket list pumpkin spice latte

Using My Sick Time

I have some sort of cold or allergies or something awful that’s making me all terribly foggy and headache-y and cough-y (coffee? Yes please). Nicole thinks it’s bronchitis so I looked it up and I have all the symptoms it listed.  I had something similar to this in May, I had a terrible hacking cough that lasted like three weeks so of course that made me think I have chronic bronchitis since it’s happened twice which then made me thing I have COPD from smoking.  So I thought well I should quit smoking, obviously, but that’s a whole other story so for now I’m just being a big baby and eating lots of sugar free cough drops and waiting for my doctor’s appointment on Monday.  I already had the appointment scheduled to get a referral to all the doctors I need for all of the bipolar stuff and things, so why not throw in a little cough and cold too?

Last night Nicole was very nice when she got off work and offered to take us out to eat since she knew I didn’t feel well and probably wouldn’t want to cook. I already had some food in the oven (go me) but was able to stop the cooking and we went out.  Afterward she insisted we go to the pharmacy for some medicine, probably because she’s tired of me whining about it and knows I won’t take myself out of the house on my own to get anything. Yesterday I did go out for a drive though and it was nice to get out of the house. All I did was drive down to one of our local thrift stores to drop off a donation, but still. Anyway, we got medicine last night, one of those packages that includes daytime and nighttime stuff and so I had this awful blue drink that Nicole said was blue raspberry but I’m pretty sure was not anything even remotely close to being blue raspberry. I know my blue raspberry, thank you. Anyway, the package said you could take it every four hours, which Nicole laughed at, thinking there was no way it wouldn’t last through the night but wouldn’t you know, I woke up promptly at 2am, exactly four hours after my dose. I was able to sleep for another hour but got all the way up at 3 and I’ve been messing around on the blog ever since (there’s a new layout!  Yay!)

My last few days have been a total waste, I slept all day on Monday because I felt so bad and then I canceled my class yesterday and just did more lying around thinking about being sick.  It’s funny to me that I feel worse about doing nothing when it’s because I’m sick in a way that isn’t just brain-sick.  Does that even make sense? Anyway, I thought about binge watching some Walking Dead or Harry Potter but I just read blogs and slept.  Maybe today I’ll use my sick time more wisely.  Because watching all the Harry Potter films is never a bad idea.  Although sometimes I get bored during the first one.  And for some reason the fourth one too.  Speaking of Harry Potter, I never mentioned Nicole bought me the coolest Harry Potter bathrobe that looks like Harry’s quidditch robe!  I’m wearing it now.  Anyway.  This is a sick time rambling post so I’m just going to let it be and say thank you for reading, oh blog friends of mine.

Until next time.


Sugar-free September Week Two Update


I don’t have a day to day update this week, I’m writing this part on Sunday after I sucked at my sugar free snacking so far. I said no a lot of the time, which I know is a win, but I said yes too. It all started Wednesday night when I had a few beers and had a raspberry danish thingy. It all went downhill from there, with a cupcake here and a sweet tea there. Then (gasp) an ice cream night at Brahms on Saturday night. The ice cream wasn’t even that good.

The week is not over yet, every day is a new day, and I’m just going to take it one snack at a time.


Well I got sick on Sunday with a bad cold and cough combo, so I really haven’t had a lot of trouble not eating sweets. I haven’t been eating much of anything but ramen and apples. Weird combo I know. But I’m  still hanging on to the sugar free thing. I feel kind of sick when I do have something sugary, so that makes me think I’m doing something right.

I’m not sure if any of that makes sense since I’m in a wheezy headachy fog, but I’m going to go with it.

Best wishes!


Five Reasons Timehop May Be Bad For Depression

I recently started using Timehop religiously. It’s almost always the first app I open every morning.  In case you aren’t sure what Timehop is, it’s just an app that pulls photos or tweets that were posted that day in your past.  I love seeing pics of my wife and I before we were married, or pics of the random stuff we found during the long summer we yard saled all the time.  But the posts before I met my wife and started toward my recovery are a bit tricky.  I recently added my Twitter archives to Timehop and this has made the posts it pulls go back a lot further and be a lot more personal than just the Facebook and Instagram photos it used to pull.  I find myself cringing more than smiling, and so I’ve started to wonder if this daily dive into my past is really worth it.

So I’ve compiled five reasons I feel like Timehop is bad for my depression.

1. Happy times with old friends.

I have become something of a recluse in my old age (ha!) and I don’t have any friends.  (Full post on that at a later date.)  But anyways, seeing people I have lost touch with over the years because I was just too whatever to give them a call or even send them a Facebook message really gets me down.

2. Random, embarrassing and sometimes inappropriate Twitter posts.

Glaring truth – I was a mess.  This could give me some kind of hope and make me feel good about myself knowing this is so not me anymore, but it doesn’t.  Again, it just gets me down.

3. That ‘I wasn’t as (fill-in-the-blank) as I thought’ moment.

I had some bad hair, which is one of the things that actually makes me laugh when I see Timehop photos.  But I definitely wasn’t as fat as I thought I was at a lot of times in my life.  I wish I would have known that then.

4.  Events you would like to forget.

I think it goes without saying we all have events in our past that would do best to stay in the past.  Timehop, I didn’t want to remember that!

5. Missed opportunities.

Seeing times when I could have worked harder or done more makes me feel down.  I know that if I had done things differently with my life I wouldn’t be where I am now, with my wife and my not-too-bad life, but I think it’s hard to not have those gut-wrenching what-if moments.  Mine usually involve the what if I’d gotten treatment sooner theme.

Even typing these out, I know I’ll still use Timehop.  Do you use Timehop?  Do you find it to be triggering at times?  I would love to hear what you guys think.

Sounds of Sunday: Mary Lambert


Photo from InStyle.com

I cannot have a Sunday music feature without talking about Mary Lambert, an amazing woman you most likely heard on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s track Same Love a few summers ago.  And in case you didn’t heard her song Secrets last summer, she has bipolar disorder.  But you can’t tell from that one upbeat pop song that she also writes beautiful, heartbreaking songs and poetry.  The other songs on her album Heart on my Sleeve are the ones I love the most.

Read more about her on her website.  She does have a blog there, but unfortunately she doesn’t update all that often.  But there are lots of other fun things to browse.

Featured photo from RollingStone.com

Sarasvati – Mary Lambert from Welcome to the Age of my Body

Monochromatic – Mary Lambert from Heart on my Sleeve