Happy International Women's Day!!!

We have had this blog for a while and I have not done much blogging on it.  In fact, until this week I have not blogged at all.  But, as I often do, today I woke up early and was chatting with a few of the incredible women I have met through Depressed Cake Shop.  At the end of the day, this project is as much about friendship as it is about anything, and the friendships that have grown because of the DCS are just beautiful to witness and to be a part of, and today I want to celebrate that. I do not have the time or space to talk about all of the beautiful women this work has brought into my life, but I want to highlight a few.  

Jennifer Marshall came to Los Angeles to attend the This is My Brave Show produced by  TLC BFRB.  We decided to put on hats and head downtown for the women's march.  Hers was pink  I only had some pink ribbon

Jennifer Marshall came to Los Angeles to attend the This is My Brave Show produced by  TLC BFRB.  We decided to put on hats and head downtown for the women's march.  Hers was pink  I only had some pink ribbon

The first thing I did was start to look through photos of the past few years.   There are hundreds and hundreds of pictures of women and cakes -- and a lot of men too, to be fair, but today is about the women. 

" Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love." -- Mother Teresa

Our tribe is strong.  The women who surround us lift us up with love and courage, but there is one man that must have special mention here today.   I have continued with the DCS all these years in honor of my dad who was my hero. He battled with his mental health his entire life.  He often won. He was an incredible husband and father, a loyal friend, and the most generous man I have ever met.  He loved to inspire people with quotes, so here are a few that I think he would have liked to kick off this photo gallery.

DCS popped up in Venice at an event organized by Love Infinity.  We met our dear friend Delia there that day, and she has been part of the family ever since.

DCS popped up in Venice at an event organized by Love Infinity.  We met our dear friend Delia there that day, and she has been part of the family ever since.

"Where there is cake there is hope, and there is always cake." -- Dean Koontz

"Wear your scars like stardust." -- Amy Ferris

"She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails." -- Elizabeth Edwards

Jane Reyes, who popped up the very first DCS in America, drove down to Disneyland with her family.  We took a day off to join them.  After all, who misses a trip to Disneyland with a fellow DCS co-conspirator?

Jane Reyes, who popped up the very first DCS in America, drove down to Disneyland with her family.  We took a day off to join them.  After all, who misses a trip to Disneyland with a fellow DCS co-conspirator?

Last May Nanea Hoffman and Jessica Hancock of "Sweatpants and Coffee" drove down to Los Angeles to present us with the first batch of "Anxiety Blobs," the soft and cuddly creations that were born on S&C as a cartoon manifestation of Nanea's anxiety.  We were so honored that Nanea allowed us to share the very first Blobs with DCS customers, and our ongoing partnership with S&C is one of the sweetest gift DCS has brought into my life.

Val Nanea and Jessica in the custom aprons S&C made to commemorate the DSC/S&C partnership.

Val Nanea and Jessica in the custom aprons S&C made to commemorate the DSC/S&C partnership.

The very first image of our very first Blob.

The very first image of our very first Blob.

The lovely Liz of Bu Bakes allowed a crew into her home so she could talk about her experiences with baking and how she found Depressed Cake Shop.

These 1 in 4 cookies (representing the 1 in 4 people who will experience a mental health issue in their lives), were donated by a wonderful woman named Angela for the shop we popped up in Pittsburgh to celebrate the opening of "Mindful," a six month exhibit at the Society for Contemporary Craft.  She had been following our Facebook page, and contacted us about contributing to the shop.  In addition to these cookies she created the logo cookies that adorn the front page of this site.  

Thinking about Angela reminds me that Kara Andretta of Kara's Couture Cakes and Jeanne Winslow of Jeanne Winslow Cake Design drove down that day to man the shop with us.  Here is a cake Jeanne created to celebrate DCS first birthday in August of 2014.

Some beautiful cookies contributed by Viki Kane of "Just a Little Dessert Company."

Some beautiful cookies contributed by Viki Kane of "Just a Little Dessert Company."

DCS Los Angeles went to London for the BBC "All in the Mind" awards.  We met all of these lovelies for the first time that night.  From left to right, Freda, DCS Peebles, Stephanie, Liz of Bu Bakes fame, the great Kate of Cakeadoodledo, Val, Lou of Lou Lou P's Delights, and our beloved Julie

DCS Los Angeles went to London for the BBC "All in the Mind" awards.  We met all of these lovelies for the first time that night.  From left to right, Freda, DCS Peebles, Stephanie, Liz of Bu Bakes fame, the great Kate of Cakeadoodledo, Val, Lou of Lou Lou P's Delights, and our beloved Julie

Julie of DCS Glasgow and Jane of DCS San Francisco go in for a cuddle.

Julie of DCS Glasgow and Jane of DCS San Francisco go in for a cuddle.

The glorious Britt Wyatt of "She Who Bakes" fame taught a class where we learned to make tiny cakes and sandwiches out of sugar paste.  I made a bitty DCS inspired picnic.  A perfect day.

Kayley Reed, the CEO of Wear Your Label joined us at the DCS in May, where we raised $10,000 for the St. Joseph Center's important work with the most vulnerable members of our beach communities.  We presented the check at their annual gala.

Kayley Reed, the CEO of Wear Your Label joined us at the DCS in May, where we raised $10,000 for the St. Joseph Center's important work with the most vulnerable members of our beach communities.  We presented the check at their annual gala.

From my heart to yours, wishing you a Happy International Women's Day!  Stay tuned for more news from DCS, and make sure you check out the upcoming pop ups listed on our site. 

xo, Val

We're Partnering With The Mighty

 

We're thrilled to announce a new partnership that will bring Depressed Cake Shop's resources in front of The Mighty's wide-reaching readership. Depressed Cake Shop will now have a growing home page on The Mighty and appear on many stories on the site.

The Mighty is a story-based health community focused on improving the lives of people facing disease, disorder, mental illness and disability. More than half of Americans are facing serious health conditions or medical issues. They want more than information. They want to be inspired. The Mighty publishes real stories about real people facing real challenges.

Here are a few examples of the kinds of stories on The Mighty: 

These 25 Quotes Prove Depression Is More Than Sadness

31 Honest Answers to 'How Are You?'

What Nobody Tells You About Self-Care

16 Songs to Help You Face Depression This Week

We're dedicated to helping people with mental illness in their lives. With this partnership, we'll be able to help even more people.


We encourage you to submit a story to The Mighty and make your voice heard.

      Love and cake,

      The co-conspirators at Depressed Cake Shop

 

Yoga for Mental Health | Love Infinity

Yoga's popularity has exponentially grown in the past decade and it is safe to say that yoga makes people happy or happier. Whether it is hot yoga, yoga on music, slow yoga, fast yoga, yoga on the beach or yoga in India, yoga works as long as you don't injure yourself. Today I will not get into how yoga affects people's bodies, rather how it affects their mind and why it can tremendously help people's mental well being.

My first yoga class was in high school on a special event day. I thought it was kind of funny and I actually don't remember much of it besides that I fell asleep in Savasana and woke up as happy as can be. Life went on until I did another yoga class. My next one was soon after I moved to Los Angeles and a few years later I became a teacher, then a few years after that, I became an advocate for Mental Health.

The secret to yoga is to try it and do it more than once. You must try many to find the right style and the right teachers. You will hear a lot of things on your quest but since today we focus mainly on the mental benefits of yoga, I can tell you with certitude that in terms of mental well- being one style isn't better than another and a teacher isn't better than another. It's about what's best for you. Everyone has an opinion according to what works for them and it does not mean it will nor should work for you. Yoga is highly customizable and as long as it makes someone happy I don't care if it is naked yoga or yoga on a surf board with your dog.

So, why does yoga make people so happy?

Yoga means "to unite". It's the union of you. It's creating a healthy connection between the mind and body using the breath and then eventually creating a healthy connection between you and the world around you.

Many mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety are extremely isolating and make people who suffer feel out of touch not only with the world, but with their own body, and unable to control let alone stop those thoughts that push their mind deeper into the illness.

I'm not claiming that yoga cures mental illness but it can help manage it. The idea behind yoga is to experience the body in order to control the mind and stop the out of control spiraling thoughts before one falls too deep in mental despair.

Once you have found a style and teachers that you like and have been practicing regularly (I said regularly not excessively), you will become more aware of your body, how it responds to certain poses on certain days and most importantly how your mind responds to it all. Slowly, using your breath you will be able to control the constant fluctuation of the mind throughout a class and eventually throughout your day.

I believe that happiness is when your body and mind are in the state of equilibrium. Don't make happiness a goal or define it by perfection because perfection does not exist. Your body will experience aches and pains and your mind will always experience some ups and downs. What yoga does is it helps you manage and achieve balance so you can prevent physical injuries, and mental melt downs. Happiness is not an achievement but a journey and yoga can be part of that journey.

If you are still nervous about attending a yoga class here are a few things you can do at home to make your first class a bit easier. You can also do this when you don't have time to go to a class.

Yoga Tips to Try on your Own

Breathing (Pranayama)

Pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress related disorder. It improves the autonomic functions and It reduces the signs of oxidative stress in the body. Practicing pranayama can assist in steady mind, strong will power and sound judgement.

  • Sit comfortably on the floor, pillow cross legged or on a chair with your feet firmly on the floor.
  • Start with 10 rounds with breathing through the left nostril and 10 rounds breathing with the right.
  • Repeat as many time as you want.
Poses (Asanas)

1) Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Benefits: Down Dog combats anxiety and energizes the body which helps with depression.

  • Lie on your stomach with your palms by the sides of your chest with your fingers well spread.
  • Come onto your hands and knees.
  • Turn the toes under, and exhale as you raise your buttocks high in the air, moving your thighs up and back. Keep your elbows straight as you lift your buttocks up and release the crown of your head onto the support. The action of the arms and legs serves to elongate your spine and release your head.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing deeply.

2) Seated Forward Bend to Plow Pose (Paschimottanasana to Halasana)

Benefits: Brings relief from despondency or anxiety, and energizes the body. Skip Plow Pose if you have neck problems.

  • Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Take a full, deep breath. Inhale and lift up through your sternum and head, making your spine slightly concave.
  • Exhale and extend your torso over your legs.
  • Then, come out of the forward bend, curling your back and pulling your knees up, and then roll backward into Plow.
  • Raise your hands overhead to meet your feet. If you feel neck strain, support your back with your hands.
  • Go back and forth between the two poses 10 times.

 

3) Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

Benefits: Opens the chest, lifts the spirits, and invigorates the body.

  • Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor.
  • Inhale, lift your pelvis slightly off the floor, and slide your hands, palms down, below your buttocks. Then rest your buttocks on the backs of your hands.
  • Inhale and press your elbows firmly against the floor and lift your upper torso towards the sky. Then release your head back towards the floor.
  • Stay for 15 to 30 seconds, breathing smoothly.
  • With an exhalation lower your torso and head to the floor.
  • Draw your thighs up into your belly and squeeze.

 

4) Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Benefits: Releases spinal muscles after backbends and calms your nerves.

  • Kneel on the floor with your big toes touching and your knees slightly wider than your hips.
  • Bend forward and stretch your arms and trunk forward.
  • Rest your head on the floor or a blanket. 

BBC All in the Mind Radio Interview

Out of hundreds of applications Depressed Cake Shop has been named a finalist for the BBC's best mental health project award. 
Congratulations to the countless people who contributed to this achievement through organizing a shop, baking for a pop up, wearing our shirts, buying our cakes, or just being part of this community. 
We love you all! Have a listen below!
❤️🍰💜🍰💚🍰💙🍰

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WYL & DCS Collaboration

We're so proud to announce our official partnership with the industry-changing, conscious clothing company, Wear Your Label. Buy a shirt before they're gone!

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BuBakes Spotlight on Mental Health

"I was given the opportunity to do a spotlight session at a networking event today. Rather than speak about my business (BuBakes) I chose to speak about mental health. As I battle with severe anxiety, it wasn't the most polished speech - and at times I did lose my place, as the words I had written were jumping while my hands were shaking!"

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Bet you can't guess her favorite fictional character. Read here to find out!

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Meet the Baker: VIKI KANE pt. 2

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Read the rest of her Q&A below to learn her trick to making pies and more! Also, if you haven't already, read the first part here.

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DCS Happiness Hack

Smile for 10 seconds every morning, whether that's on your way to work, while you're making breakfast or as you're trying to get yourself out of bed to start the day.

Just 10 seconds. Try it.

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Meet the Baker Monday: VIKI KANE

As some of you know, we have a magical community of DCS co-conspirators all around the world. This is the first of a series of Monday posts highlighting the wonderful bakers of our DCS community.

Our first baker is Viki Kane of Just a Little Dessert Co. in California. Read her Q&A to learn what makes her laugh, what makes her flip tables and more. 

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MHA OC Luncheon

Guest blog by Depressed Cake Shop's chief co-conspirator Valerie Van Galder's sister, Jodi Margolin-Peterson.  Jodi talks about the keynote speech at Mental Health Association of Orange County's 22nd Annual MH Community Service Awards Luncheon. Jodi is a tenacious advocate for the homeless of Boise, Idaho and the founder of the Emerald House, a group home.

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