My Top 20 Breaking Benjamin Songs

I’m not sure what possessed me, but I thought I’d attempt to compile my twenty favorite Breaking Benjamin songs. I’ve been wanting to make a playlist for when I can’t listen to all their songs in one go, so this just gave me the excuse to sort them as well. The top 5 were easy to rank, and everything after took way longer than it should’ve.

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I put a lot of time and thought into this, probably too much. For whatever reason, I wanted to get it right and really looked at each song as it’s own work and not in the context of the album. It’s not about which song sounds the best. Yes, I’m an adult and this is how I spend my time.

At first, I tried to choose a selection of songs from each album, but that’s not accurate. I like certain albums more than others, so I chose accordingly. Sorry, Saturate. So read on if you’d like my commentary. If you’re just here for the list, then check out the titles and see if you agree with my brilliance. And if you don’t like Breaking Benjamin, what are you even doing here?

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Here are some stats, if that’s your jam. My Top 20 is comprised of this many songs from each album:
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1                     3                      4                     6                       3                       3

On to the list already!

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20. Away

So fly away and leave it behind / Return some day with red in your eyes

Listen. This will sound crazy, but my favorite part of this song are the three drum beats right at the start. Why? I don’t know. I wish I could explain it.

Ben’s voice sounds so amazing on these verses. The feels. I love his voice on this whole album. It sounds richer, for lack of a better word. I hope they do more songs like this on future albums.

19. Hollow

Close your eyes, drive away the cloud that hides the light

Can we talk about that breath in the intro for a second? I mean, who decides to include that breath? Does Ben say, “Hey, guys, I’m thinking about breathing here. What do you think?” Does the manager say, “You know what, Ben? The intro is missing something. How about a single breath?” I want to thank whoever had the idea because I’m a big fan of Ben’s breathing.

Anyway.

I also love how it starts soft. Love. Lyrically, the first verse is amazing Ben must have been reading a self-help book when he was writing this. “Love left me hollow” is a pretty awesome line as well.

The guitar solo is exceptionally good. This is the first album with the current line-up, and I think Ben definitely upgraded.

18. Shallow Bay

I’m so inclined to make you mine / You’re out of line and out of time

I first heard this song on their concert DVD for Phobia, and I liked it the first time I heard it–which I can honestly say is not true for all Breaking Benjamin songs. I know, right? This may seem silly, but I remember loving the way Ben’s fingers looked when he played the riff before every line in the verse.

Saturate is my least favorite album, so this is actually the only song to make the cut. It’s not a bad album; it’s just their other songs are so far and above. That’s natural for a band as they progress. Though some bands get worse as they go. I’m rambling now.

For me, this is the kind of song you play when you want to feel tougher than you really are. Since I’m not tough at all, this is pretty effective.

Just a tiny detail, but for headphone users, I like how it starts only on the right side. #itsthelittlethings

And you gotta love an outro with strings. Continue reading

10k Views? Really?! Let’s Break it Down

So what do ten thousand website hits actually look like?

I’m still amazed from every view I’ve had on this site. I don’t understand it, but I’m amazed. Somehow, Lauren See Writes has reached ten thousand views. Ten. Thousand. I know.

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To celebrate this milestone, I thought I’d share some stats. This may or may not be interesting to you, but I’m intrigued by analytics. So here we go! Continue reading

Surviving the Slush

Well. Not sure if I’m up for this, but I’m going to try. I have some thoughts…

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Here’s the thing. Querying is hell. It’s an absolute nightmare. So you write this novel, and you’re proud of it–the story of your heart, to throw that cliche in here. You do your research to find agents looking for your kind of story. And they’re out there. You prepare your query letter, agonizing over every word and obsessing over comma usage. Does a comma go there? Gah!

You send it out and wait to hear back. Meanwhile your inbox becomes the single scariest page on the internet.

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And… Rejection. But that’s OK. That agent was out of your league. It was a long shot. It was expected. Whatever.

Then another rejection comes. Yes, it hurts, but you press on.

This cycle continues until you’ve run out of agents, patience, or self-worth.

I know agents know this, but they have so much power. With one email, they can change lives. That’s what I’m thinking when I hit send. To the writer, you’re sending out the result of more work, heartache, and dedication than anything you’ve created in your life. But on the other end, it’s more of an ever-growing list that must be sifted through before the pile is too overwhelming. I don’t fault agents for this, and I mean no disrespect. It’s just the way it is. Reading through queries is only part of agent life. So what took you possibly years to prepare can turn to a “no, thanks” with a skim and a simple click.

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But. Continue reading

2018: The Year That…Was.

Well, 2018. That’s a wrap. Time to go.

It’s been quite a year for me. Things happened that I never thought would happen. Some things I wanted to happen, didn’t happen. That’s pretty much every year though, right?Related image

I figured I’d take some time and reflect on 2018. Categorically. Expect a rambling mess of thoughts. Ready?


Writing

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The Good:

1- I’m in an effing book. Available here: Maryland’s Emerging Writers

Seriously, though, this was pretty amazing, and while I feel like it never actually happened—because I don’t think Z Publishing did a speck of advertising, (Have you heard of America’s Emerging Writers? No? Oh. Well there were 50 books. Still no? Yeah, one for each state. OK. Well, there were.)—it’s still an incredible achievement, even if I’m the one only who knows about it.

2- Because of this achievement, my interest in writing came back. #thankful

3- I had the courage to send out some novel queries early in the year. Despite all the rejections, I’m considering this a good thing. I haven’t given up. Yet.

4- I revised my YA short enough to confidently submit to magazines.

5- I reached 5k followers on Twitter. Listen, I thought this would be the pinnacle of the whole social networking thing. But. It’s far from it. It’s just a number. And it means absolutely nothing. When you tweet something and get 2-3 likes, what’s it matter that you have 5k followers? No shade here. I do appreciate the followers. And I do hope to have more of a Twitter presence in 2019.

The Bad:

1- My writer self and I parted ways. We’re currently reconciling, but I really did just give up on writing some time during the summer, it seems. I didn’t touch my novel for months. I disappeared from Scribophile. The whole writing world just no longer excited me.

2- I didn’t get my novel published. Duh.

3- Going along with number one, I didn’t get my novel “finished” by the end of the year, which I was hoping for. And I didn’t write anything new.

4- Just yesterday, I was rejected from a magazine for my YA short. That was to be expected. But I’m still glad I submitted. I have two more (I think) possibilities.

The 2019 Plan:

1- FINISH MY EFFING NOVEL. Dear God. And all the rest…get an agent, book deal, interview with Oprah. The norm.

2- Don’t give up on my YA short. I’ll be sending it out this coming week. Please hold me to that.

3- Return to Twitter. The most doable in the list.

4- Return to Scribophile. I’m paying to use this website. WHY?! I haven’t so much as signed in since September. *sigh*

5- Not directly writing related, but I need to read more this year. I miss reading. I’d like to read more novels in my genre so that I’m familiar with the current market.


VIPKID

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The Good:

1- For more details on this, I have lots of blog posts called VIPKID Vibes. But basically, I love this job. It revived my passion for teaching. I’m happier than I’ve been in years. I feel like I’m making a difference, and it’s all so rewarding and awesome.

The Bad:

1-Aside from the cons of being a VIPKID teacher (lack of insurance, the hours, the inconsistencies, tech issues, etc.), on a personal level, the life balance is horrific. It’s VIPKID on one side and everything else on the other side. Because of this job, I stopped writing, making videos, reading, treadmill-ing. I put all my time into this job. And it probably doesn’t make sense considering I’m finished teaching at 9 AM. It’s the prep work, the reward systems, the YouTube videos, the blog posts, the necessity to nap, on and on. It becomes an obsession.

2- I’m tired all the time because of the hours. Over 1k classes and I’m still trying to find the balance.

The 2019 Plan:

1-I have no plans to stop, obviously. I will continue to blog about my experiences, and I’d like to become a Mock Class Mentor if possible.

2- I need to balance my life better. VIPKID can’t be the only thing I care about.


My Cat

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The Good:

1- I started a YouTube channel for my cat–yes, that’s sane–and while it didn’t blow up, I had SO much fun making videos. I used to make videos back in high school. They were essentially “music videos” where I’d pair a movie/show with a song. I liked the editing aspect of it. Anyway. I started throwing together some videos of Mocha starting in January. I met some cool people and Mocha got some love. Win, win.

2- Around the same time, I made an Instagram profile for Mocha. Also completely sane. In the same way, I met some cool cat people and learned a whole new platform. I’d never used Instagram before. And while it’s my least favorite social media, it works well for cats. I got loads of followers for the first few months, but I’ve held steady around 430 for probably 6 months.

3- My cat is awesome. Really though, living alone is awesome, but it comes with a certain, how do I say, isolation? So it’s nice to have another presence around. I’m going to stop before I sound completely psychotic. Point is, Mocha makes me happy. Cats rule.

The Bad:

1- I stopped making YouTube videos. Several reasons. Mainly, time. When I started VIPKID, EVERYTHING else came second. So I didn’t have time to write or read or tweet or make videos. I probably did, but I didn’t feel like I did, if that makes sense. But I also stopped making videos because honestly, it was disheartening to put all this effort into making them (and it takes longer than my “production value” might suggest) only to get a handful of views. Maybe that’s petty. So be it. But for 2019, I’m returning to the idea of making content you want regardless of your audience. It should be the same for an audience of 63 (my current subscriber count) to 1k (my aspiring subscriber count).

2- I didn’t post to Instagram daily as I had been. Or liking others’ photos as I had been. I lost the motivation for it.

3- Although Mocha is super awesome sauce, she has her moments. For instance, she suffers from what I like to call “elevator butt.” While peeing, she will lift her butt in the air, and therefore pee out of the box. If you know cat pee smell, it is heinous. So now I use giant storage containers. The first ones I had, I simply cut a square in the side, but then she started peeing out of the square. Now, they have a cut-out towards the top, so she has to hop in there. Whatever works, eh?

4- Mocha decided one day she didn’t like the food she’d been eating for two years, so I went through all these different cans of cat food. Her flavor of choice: sardines. Who knew?

5- Mocha likes to chew things, which unfortunately included an Easter lily. If you didn’t know, lilies are toxic to cats. This resulted in an after hours stress-filled phone call to my vet who didn’t even want to talk to me and cut me off. (Needless to say, I no longer go to this vet.) A mustard induced vomit. (I don’t know if you’ve ever pried open a cat’s mouth and squirted mustard in there, but it’s all kinds of fun.) A 30 minute fight to get Mocha in the carrier which left me bloodied and mentally scarred. And a nice vet bill for an overnight stay.

She’s damn lucky she’s so cute.

The 2019 Plan

1- I want to make videos again! This is pretty much my only cat-related resolution.


I’ll leave it at that. I hope your 2018 treated you well. New Year’s is always my favorite and least favorite time of year, which I plan to explain in a future post, possibly this week.

To all those who liked, commented, or followed me this year, a huge thank you to you. I really do appreciate the love. I’m humbled by it. And confused by it. But mostly just thankful.

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I’ll just throw this out there. If there’s anything you’d like to see a blog post about, I’m listening.

Here’s to an awesome 2019! I’ll see you then.

-Lauren

Thank You, Followers!

I’m deeming today #thankfulthursday.

(Today’s gifs brought to you by my many husbands, fyi.)

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So I have no idea how this happened, but I have 100 followers. Like, what?

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When I started this blog, I had very low expectations–and I still do. Every view, like, comment, or follower I get surprises me. The content I post here is primarily for me. I see this platform as almost a journal. I’m pretty much documenting what’s going on in my life and the things I’m into at the time. So if someone gets anything out of what I post, I’m stoked about it.

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Whether you’re here for VIPKID info, writing updates, random music rants, pics of my cat, or lots of gifs, I’m glad you’re here.

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So thank you for clicking Follow. That’s super awesome. Have a good one!


Thanks for spending some time here. If you’re reading this, you rock. And don’t you forget it.

Bonus gif 🙂

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I found a new gif for Mark Peterson, and I’m happier than I should be about it. I’m posting it here so I don’t lose it. 🙂

Procrastination Explained. But not (perfectly) solved.

If you’re a procrastinator, this video is relatable. This guy gets it.

If you’re not, this video will give you some insight on what we go through on a daily basis.

Feel for us.

If you’re currently procrastinating by watching this video, you’re my hero.

Continue reading

My First Class With VIPKID!

Story time with Lauren.

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You’re here for one of several reasons:

  1. You’re thinking about joining VIPKID and you’re soaking up every bit of content available like the sponge you are. In that case, welcome, prepare to be enlightened.
  2. You already are a VIPKID teacher, but you haven’t had any classes yet and you want to know what to expect. In that case, I’m happy to share my experience.
  3. You know me and want to know how my first class went. In that case, aww, thanks for asking.
  4. You clicked here accidentally and have no idea what I’m talking about. In that case, you’re excused. Not offended.

Anyway…

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Some stats for perspective:

  • Today is my 7th day with VIPKID and today was my first class.
  • I’m certified for Level 2-5, Trial, and Global Adventure (whatever that is).
  • It was a short notice trial class at 7:30 am (EST). (Shoot for the PPT if you can!)
  • She was seven years old, cute as a button, and smarter than I realized at first.

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You’ve Seen the 80s Aerobics Video, Right?

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This video makes me happy. It’s silly. It’s stupid. It shouldn’t be as entertaining as it is, but, dammit, I can’t watch it with a straight face. For your Feel-Good Friday, I present…

You could always watch the original, but the swapped music versions are better. There are some others with Taylor Swift, Fall Out Boy, and The Killers. Maybe more.

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Continuing Your Badassery

Feel Good Friday time! Here’s Jen Sincero’s final video in her Badass Video series. If you were interested in this coaching program, sorry to say, the link no longer works. This video was posted in 2013, so yeah. But the videos last forever! But don’t worry. There are other–much longer–videos on YouTube. I may post another one or two in the future.

This last video is about having a mantra. Some of the content is geared to promoting her program that no longer exists, but the rest is worth listening to.

The one take-away from this clip: when you decide to make a change, do it right away. The waiting is what causes you to back down. I agree with this 110%.

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You’re Still A Badass – Plus, Wall Update

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About two weeks ago I reviewed Jen Sincero’s You are a Badass (here), and before that, I posted one of her motivational videos (here). For your Feel Good Friday, here is Part Two of that video series to send you off into the weekend empowered.

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