Join The First Just Craft Night!

online just craft night

We’re doing something brand new this week at the Young Adult Cancer (YAC) Hangout! On Wednesday, April 11 from 5-6:30 pm PT / 7-8:30 pm CT / 8-9:30 pm ET, we’ll have a Just Craft themed YAC Hangout!

You can bring whatever craft, project, creative activity you’re working on and hang out online with other young adult cancer survivors and caregivers!

To RSVP and receive the link to join the video chat, fill out the link below!

Flashback #20: Fun Things To Do Before 11:00 pm

activities to do with friends

To celebrate our 2-year anniversary of being a nonprofit, Lacuna Loft is bringing back our top 31 articles from our archives!  This is Flashback #20: Fun Things To Do Before 11:00 pm, written by Mallory. These 31 articles are the best of the best and we’re very happy to share them with you again!  The countdown continues next week!

….Finally, I learned to just embrace my new need for rest, relaxation, and some structured calm in my life.  🙂  Eventually, my friends learned to embrace it a little too…otherwise, we would have never seen one another!  These are a few activities that you can do when you are looking for something fun but don’t want to go out on the town like you might once have done.  These activities would be great done by yourself, with a sweetheart, or with a group of friends!….


Read the rest of the article here!

More Tips For How To Host A Party

how to host a party

Young adult cancer or illness can’t stop your entire life.  Sometimes you’ve just got to host that party or big event or open house, even if you’re not feeling 100% at your best.  We’ve suggested tips on hosting a party with very little work before, but today we’re talking about even more tips!

[list type=”like”]
[list_item]Make a list of everything that you’ll need.[/list_item]
From what food you’re going to prepare, to what food you need for cooking, to what rooms need to be cleaned, lists are a party planner’s best friend!

[list_item]Ask people to bring something.[/list_item]
This one is key!  Pick a few things to make yourself and then delegate the rest!  Have someone bring the beverages, someone else bring a dessert, someone else bring the cheese and crackers.  Allowing people to help takes some stress off of your shoulders and helps your friends to feel involved in the big event.

[list_item]Prepare as much as you can ahead of time.[/list_item]
Can something you want to cook be prepared the night before?  Sometimes you can make things early, pop them in the fridge, just to be put in the oven right when you need it.  This helps alleviate the stress that occurs just before everyone is to arrive.  Small adjustments to your menu can help make this early preparation possible.  You know that one dessert that cannot be made ahead of time and only looks and tastes right about half of the time that you prepare it?  Don’t make that one!  🙂

[list_item]Have a music playlist.[/list_item]
With so many different music players available now with so many ready to go playlists, this one is easy-peasy.  Put on some background music to set the tone and have a good time.

[list_item]Get some glow sticks.[/list_item]
This may seem odd…but if you have anyone who likes dancing at the party or if dancing is on the agenda at all…glow sticks are amazing.

[list_item]Get yourself as ready as possible and then let yourself off the hook.[/list_item]
Honestly, as long as the party environment is mostly clean and you have some food and drinks, everything will be fine!  Let yourself relax and have fun.  The party doesn’t have to be perfect and neither do you!

P.S. Party theme ideas!

Knowing how to host a party when you’re already overwhelmed with life as a cancer or illness survivor is tough work.  Have any other tips you’d like to share?

Free Online Games To Take Your Young Adult Cancer Blues Away

free online games

Sometimes being a young adult cancer survivor means that you have some extra time on your hands.  Lacuna Loft has had several posts on different ways to spend your time but today we’re talking about the world of free online games.

When I was in treatment, I just couldn’t concentrate very well during chemo sessions…my personal space was limited and there were so many people wandering around and in and out of the room.  Then I discovered a monopoly app on my phone…goodness did I spend hours playing monopoly 🙂  Have you tried online mahjong or easy online games?  What about something more complicated (though still free to play) like League of Legends?  This site even offers online cards among other games!  (if you couldn’t tell, I LOVE card games!)  🙂  Another one of my personal favorites?  Online risk 🙂  Looking for something a little different?  A friend of mine suggested this online capture the flag game!

Since smart phones seem to dominate so much of our lives…why not put them to work?  With all of the great poker, spades, solitaire, trivia, photo, puzzle, whatever else you can imagine apps out there, you’re bound to find something to keep your attention!

Playing online games isn’t just for the survivors…find yourself at treatments as a caregiver or at home with a few minutes to spare?  Need a few moments of relaxation and something to occupy your mind?  Free online games might be just what you need too!  Are you the friend of a young adult cancer survivor or chronic illness sufferer?  Try bringing over a game to play…or playing a free online game together!

What free online games do you like to play to keep busy when young adult cancer or chronic illness strikes?

P.S. free online puzzles & free printable coloring pages

7 Ways To Ring In The New Year!

Looking for ways to rock in the New Year?  2015 is just around the corner and we have some great ideas on how to celebrate!

As a young adult cancer patient, survivor, or caregiver OR a young adult dealing with a long term illness, late night parties and elaborate celebrations can often seem daunting.  Here are some tips and ideas on ways to ring in the new year!

[list type=”like”]
[list_item]start your party earlier.[/list_item]
You know those parties that start after 9 pm, making it hard to get yourself out the door at all?  Yea, me too.  I sometimes joke that I have a hard time leaving the house after 8.  Well, start your festivities earlier!  I find that once I’m out and about I have a great time…it’s just leaving the house so late that I have trouble with.  Starting your festivities earlier will give you a chance to leave your house while motivated and excited for the party to come!

[list_item]have a fun activity planned.[/list_item]
Hosting people while you’re not feeling well (or overly joyous) can be a difficult task.  But, what sorts of things do you like doing?  Do you really enjoy decorating cookies or ornaments?  Playing board games?  Watching movies?  Dancing around in your socks?  Then grab your friends and do that!

[list_item]head outside.[/list_item]
We know, we know!  It is cold outside!  (well…in many places around the country at least)  But, bundle up and get outside anyway!  You can head to a golf course and walk the 18 holes.  You could meander around the neighborhood, checking out everyone’s holiday lights.  Once you’re back inside, create some fun and warm holidays drinks!

[list_item]create your own cocktails.[/list_item]
Making your own cocktails is always a fun and cheerful activity.  Hot chocolate + peppermint schnapps or coffee liqueur, juice + your favorite spirit…the possibilities are endless.  While chemotherapy and other medications may make alcohol consumption on the list of things to avoid, you can always skip the booze and enjoy your own fruity concoction!  Add the whipped cream or umbrella to make it really festive!

[list_item]have a food comparison test.[/list_item]
While this is also an activity, it can be pretty involved in you want.  Assign a different food or drink to each guest.  Ask them to get an off brand and the name brand that everyone is used to.  Assign a moderator.  This person is responsible for knowing which drink or food is the off brand and which is the name brand while concealing this to your guests.  Have a night of eating and drinking while having everyone decide what they’re consuming!  The possibilities are limitless.  You could even branch out to wine and compare a 2$ bottle to a 10$ bottle!

[list_item]host a spa day.[/list_item]
Maybe an evening activity is just not down your alley!  That’s ok!  Think about having your festivities earlier in the day.  Meet some friends at a nail salon or at a spa and you can all indulge in some New Years relaxations during the waking hours.

[list_item]celebrate a different time zone’s New Years.[/list_item]
Have a french themed party and celebrate New Years when the clock strikes midnight in France.  You could pick another time zone within the US and celebrate their ball drop as well!


How are you celebrating the New Year this 2015?

image via

What To Do With All This Time?

When I stopped working because of my migraines, I was having five to seven every week.  My headaches were pretty severe, and even when I didn’t have one I still felt poorly from the side effects of my medicines (and no doubt from stress as well).  I spent as much time as I could resting.  Having migraines was a full-time job, and I worked plenty of overtime.

These days my migraines have improved on all all fronts.  I have fewer (generally three to five per week), they are less severe, and in between headaches I often feel pretty good.  I spend less time sleeping (although still more than the average person, I’m sure) and I have more time to do things.  Of course this is all excellent – I have no desire to go back to daily migraines and complete debilitation.  But it means that while I am not well enough to go back to work (and the unpredictably of my illness certainly contributes to that) I am also frustrated sitting at home with little to do.   Adorable cat videos can only go so far, so here are my favorite internet resources for fun, productive, and interesting time-fillers.

  • Project Gutenberg – An online collection of ebooks, all in the public domain, over 46,000 of them.  You can read them online, or download them onto your computer or an ereader.  They also offer audiobooks (some through a partnership with Librivox), and have lots of at-home volunteer opportunities, including proofreading and promoting the site.
  • Librivox – A great companion to Project Gutenberg, this is an online repository of free, public domain literary works in audiobook form.  They are all recorded and contributed by volunteers, so the quality can vary, but overall I love this site, and I’ve listened to so many good books.  I’ve never recorded a book for them, but it is on my to-do list!
  • TED Talks – TED talks are recorded talks from TED conferences, and cover all sorts of subjects – design, sociology, politics, science, education, policy, technological innovation, history, business, medicine (including cancer), etc.  They are all accessible to a general audience (you won’t need a PhD to understand them) and are almost invariably extremely interesting.  I like using TED Talks as a way to stay engaged on a deeper level with all sorts of current issues and developments.  I’m not out having discussions with colleagues about the latest advances in biotechnology, but this is a good alternative.  One of my personal favorites is Jane McGonigal’s talk on her game SuperBetter.
  • MOOCs – a MOOC is a “massive open online course”, basically, an online class that is provided for free and is available to unlimited numbers of students.  Many colleges and universities offer MOOCs, either through their own systems or in conjunction with MOOC platforms like Coursera, Udacity, and edX.  While you won’t get college credit for the MOOCs you take, you’ll still gain the knowledge.  I’m taking courses to improve and expand my technical skill set so that when I go back to work I’ll have moved forward, instead of fallen behind.  I also take them for fun.  If anyone is interested in learning how to build Android apps, sign up for this course and we can learn together (with over 17,000 other students, too)!
  • Duolingo – this is free online language instruction based on crowd-sourced information.  I use this to keep my French sharp, but it is also great for learning languages you’ve never studied before.  Lessons are short and quick, so you can progress while putting in just a few minutes at a time.

These resources help me stay busy and productive despite my migraines, and I feel good knowing that my time isn’t wasted.  Figuring out what to do when sick isn’t easy!  Do you have other online activities that keep you occupied when your illness keeps you housebound?  Let us know in the comments!

image via

Party Themes!

Hosting a party can be difficult when you’re dealing with cancer or a long term illness…but those friends of yours are still out partying and raising hell like you used to be so it’s time to bring the party to you!  Hosting a party is a great way to keep your social network engaged and still have some control over when and where the festivities occur.  We’ve talked about hosting a party with very little work but now we’re here to talk about another way to make party hosting easier…party themes!  Having a theme to your party simplifies everything…food, dress, music now all gets to fit the theme!  No need to worry about that awesomely comfortable (but slightly ugly) green tunic that you want to wear…does it fit the theme?  Yes?  Great!!!

Here are some great party theme ideas!

[list type=”like”]
Any science fiction fans out there?  Any real sci-fi fan knows how easy it can become to cater an evening’s wardrobe and food choices to something space-y when a sci-fi theme is on the line.  Pick a specific movie or television series!

[list_item]Christmas Vacation.[/list_item]
Have you seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?  I was all set to go to a Christmas Vacation party last winter when I was stuck home with pneumonia instead.  Oh Well!  Maybe I should just host another one myself!

[list_item]Themed Movie Marathon.[/list_item]
Want to watch all of the Sister Act movies in a row?  Grab some friends and hunker down for a great night of singing and dancing along with Whoopi.  Want to watch each Disney movie in order?  Look through this list and start figuring out where to find those super old Disney favorites…probably to watch over a couple of months…there are a lot of them!  Have a favorite trilogy?  There are so many to choose from!  Make a whole weekend out of it 🙂

[list_item]Murder Mystery.[/list_item]
It is actually fairly easy to host an elaborate, murder mystery dinner!  There are websites where you can spend between $25 and $40 and you receive everything you need to get your guests (and yourself) ready for a mystery in your own home!  The parties can be made to fit your number of guests and theme…I’ve hosted a sci-fi murder mystery dinner and the evening was such fun!  Try Pasta, Passion and Pistols, A Taste for Wine and Murder, or Murder at Mardi Gras and let us know what you think!

Still have some bell-bottoms in your closet?  I remember sporting a few when they were back in fashion in the 90s.  Why not pull out all the stops for a night at the disco, in your very own living room!

[list_item]Fancy Dinner Party.[/list_item]
Want an excuse to get really dressed up and cook something a little more fancy?  Get your friends involved!  Make a potluck out of it and require a top-notch look to enter!

Have an other party theme ideas?  Have you ever tried a murder mystery dinner?

How To Host A Party…With Very Little Work

Being a young adult cancer survivor or being a young adult dealing with a long term illness can really take a toll on your energy levels.  But your group of peers?  They are still going out dancing, drinking, and generally raising hell.  A big question then is how to keep that great group of friends still engaged with you…while not compromising with your lower than before energy levels.

We have an answer for you!

Here are some great tips on how to host a party with very little work!

[list type=”like”]
[list_item]Make a fun dessert/entré/appetizer and let everyone else bring the rest![/list_item]
Potlucks are definitely the way to go when you want to minimize energy required to host people.  Plus, encouraging people to bring an item of food is a great way to learn about your friends’ favorite dishes!

[list_item]Save one room’s clean up for a friend.[/list_item]
Have that special person in your life who asks, “is there anything that I can do to help?”  Tell them, YES!  Leave a mildly time consuming task that doesn’t require any micromangement on your part for them to do.  They could vacuum the living room, finish that last round of dishes cluttering the kitchen counters, make a run for the last minute things that you need (soda? toilet paper? paper plates? streamers?), or just come over to start with the preparations.

[list_item]Pick a theme.[/list_item]
Picking a theme is a great way to get people enthusiastic about the direction of the get together while also providing some easy structure to lean on.  It lets food and drink choices off the hook to be a little out there or even goofy, all in the name of following the theme!  We’ll write about different theme ideas in another post.

[list_item]Start a little earlier than you might otherwise.[/list_item]
We all have that friend who can be counted on to arrive an hour (or more!) after the start of a party and then can always help you close down the evening too  🙂  If you find yourself getting tired earlier than you used to, try starting the party a little earlier than you normally would!  If there is food involved, start the party closer to dinner time.  If food isn’t involved, start the party just after dinner time instead of allowing the late evening period to arrive first.  Then your late arriving friend will still have plenty of time to be late but not start pushing the comfort zone of your bed time.

[list_item]Have a movie night![/list_item]
While this could also be a theme as opposed to just a tip, stick with us for a second 🙂  Ask around to see what your friends are interested in watching, having someone pick up movie theater popcorn (while expensive…just getting popcorn from the theater is much cheaper than also buying movie tickets!), grab some soda/drinks/candy, and settle in for a fun movie experience!

What do you think?  Do you have any other suggestions on how to host a party with very little work?  What do you like to do to keep your friends engaged now that your energy/stress levels have changed?  Tell us in the comments!

Fun Things To Do Before 11:00 pm

When my mom was sick and I was serving as her caregiver, I felt exhausted all the time.  10 pm felt like the middle of the night.  Staying out with friends was almost completely out of the question.  When I got back to school, I would collapse on the couch or directly in bed around 5:30 pm after getting home from the lab.  I tried to continue salsa dancing but leaving the house after 8 pm was just too much.  If I pushed it for a few days, trying to get back to my previously normal routine, I’d get a fever and need to stay home for a day or two.  This lasted for months, and well into my own cancer diagnosis and treatments.

Finally I learned to just embrace my new need for rest, relaxation, and some structured calm in my life.  🙂  Eventually my friends learned to embrace it a little too…otherwise we would have never seen one another!  These are a few activities that you can do when you are looking for something fun, but don’t want to go out on the town like you might once have done.  These activities would be great done by yourself, with a sweetheart, or with a group of friends!

[list type=”like”]
[list_item]bake a pie.[/list_item]
Have you tried baking a pie before?  I made my first one last week!  I found a fun and easy recipe here and just decided to go for it one rainy day last week 🙂  For my first try, I used a store bought crust but I’m all jazzed now to make one from scratch.  I love creating whole evening experiences out of cooking or baking something new!

[list_item]play a board game.[/list_item]
Board games are definitely experiencing a resurgence of popularity.  I spent some time working in Huntsville, AL and my housemate there was a HUGE fan of board games.  We would play a different one almost every week (unless I talked us into playing one from before that had become my new favorite)  🙂  My current favorites are Agricola and Galaxy Trucker.  My husband and I actually just picked up an old version of Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? at a ReStore in our area for just a few bucks!  Once you get the hang of each of them, you can even play a few games in an evening 🙂

[list_item]host a bring-your-own-food-to-bbq, bbq.[/list_item]
This is a great idea when you want to host people over for a meal but you also want to save on costs.  Hosting a bring-your-own-meat BBQ is a great way to do just that!  Everyone brings their own main dish to cook on the barbecue and you can supply the sides (or have other people bring those too!)  🙂  Potlucks are totally an “adult” and “mature” thing to do…try it out!

[list_item]decorate your own cupcake get together.[/list_item]
Making a dozen cupcakes from a box mix is pretty easy-peasy.  Grab a couple of different colored icings and some cute decorating tools online or straight from your grocery store and now you are all set to invite some friends over to decorate their own cupcakes!  Create a theme or let everyone just do their own thing.  You could even try and replicate something from this book  🙂

[list_item]movie night.[/list_item]
Need we say more?  Movie nights are awesome!  Click here for another post with lots of fun ideas to spice up yours 🙂


What kinds of things do you like to do when you also don’t want to stay out too late?  We’ll add them to the list!

P.S.  Some Relaxing Activites & Cancer Mom 101

Some Relaxing Activities

Going through cancer treatments, suffering from a long term illness, or being a caregiver as a young adult is really hard.  I went from running marathons and being a busy-bee graduate student, attempting to research and salsa dance my way around life, to needing to take the summer off to finish chemotherapy treatments.  Young adults are used to feeling in charge and able to conquer the world!  Instead, I felt sick a lot and found reading (another favorite past time of mine) difficult to concentrate on.  What resulted from this new found lack of direction was massive boredom.  I discovered that I had very few hobbies that could be accomplished in a calm atmosphere and even fewer that I could do while dealing with a recent chemo treatment.

Have you been looking for activities to do when you aren’t feeling well or don’t have a lot of energy because of chemo treatments or another long term illness?  What about when you are so exhausted from caregiving that you need a break?  Look no further!  There is a blog, specifically called Staying Calm that has a bunch of great articles on calming activities.  I recently round one of their lists that featured relaxing things and realized that I have enjoyed many of those when I needed a calmer way of entertaining myself.  Here is my list of favorite, calm activities…

[list type=”like”]
[list_item]watch a movie or favorite tv show.[/list_item]

[list_item]go for a walk.[/list_item]

[list_item]send someone a note or card.[/list_item]

[list_item]complete a task around the house.[/list_item]

[list_item]take a warm bath.[/list_item]


[list_item]try a new DIY project.[/list_item]

[list_item]do a logic puzzle.[/list_item]

[list_item]call up a friend.[/list_item]

Eventually I learned that by making a list of everything that I wanted to do (and knowing that I couldn’t add things like, run 10 miles, to the list…), I could always find something worth attempting.  What activities do you like doing when you aren’t feeling well? Let us know!!!

image via