Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

One of my regular reads is Struggling Happiness and this morning, I got a surprise from the author herself, Sara. Look what she sent me! I love Sara’s blog and I find her absolutely inspiring (oh, and PS: she works in the ER which is my secret fantasy job…I’m sure Sara is laughing her butt off at me for that but whatever). The point is, Sara is awesome and you should go read her blog. The end.

Here are the rules of accepting this prestigious award:

Thank the person. THANK YOU, SARA!!!

Share 7 things about yourself.

1. I love Green Day. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing…If “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” comes on the radio, I turn into an hysterical teenage girl again. I’ve seen them live. Twice. Next time I have vowed to actually make it on stage. To this end, I have memorized “Longview” and “Basket Case'” in case I am called upon to sing because the girls that go up there always SAY they know the lyrics but then NEVER know the lyrics and just end up screaming and jumping up and down and flashing Billie Joe and well…it’s embarrassing to watch.
I will, instead, be like this girl.

2. Kyle has tried to teach me to skateboard. It began with me stepping onto his board and ended about 8 seconds later when I fell off and received the nastiest, purplest looking bruise of all time. You win again, Tony Hawk.

3. I have entire conversations with my dog. And the way she cocks her head and gives you this knowing look…well, you’d have entire conversations with her, too.

4. On stage I have played a crazy mother, a nervous housewife, an autistic poet, an anarchist, an old woman, an unborn child, the wife of a Nazi, a kidnapper, the kidnapped, a school girl, an actress, a warrior, a peasant, a woman on the brink of suicide, and a man.

5. I can’t whistle. Gajillions have tried to teach me. To no avail. I remain whistleless.

6. In high school, I wore combat boots. All the time.

7. My favorite movie is Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I realize that film just oozes sophistication so I’ll say this, don’t be intimidated by the somewhat meta-cinematic interaction of live action actors and animated characters.

“Roger, darling. I want you to know I love you. I've loved you more than any woman's ever loved a rabbit.” – Jessica R.

So there’s seven things…and then…

Pass this award on to 5 other recently discovered blogs.

Seriously, if you haven’t visited these women…you need to!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Where I’m From

I saw this idea on Kathi’s blog over here at Simply Memories and Musings. I loved her poem so much, I thought I’d try my own. If you’d like to try it out, click HERE for the template. Thanks so much to her for the inspiration!


I am from old-winged back chairs and painted globes, the U.S.S.R. still etched across them, from Folgers and sunlight.

I am from the cherry tree house, the mornings on my mother’s lap, the lullaby in her voice, the fish in the pond, and from skylights, the apartments and addresses forgotten.
I am from the red geraniums my mother potted every spring, the roses left untended, the swing set in the park and long, slow afternoons under trees too high to climb.

I am from Swedish stock and Irish pluck and Canadian innovation, from Hodgemans and St. George’s and Floodbergs and O’ Briens, from a knight who slayed a dragon, a patriot at the Alamo, from Bible translators held hostage. I am from soldiers and sailors and schoolteachers.
I am from the well-read, from the whispers of a hundred libraries, from bad puns and hearty laughter.
From wishing in one hand and spitting in the other, from hard work good for the soul.
I am from a love for God, from Sunday morning pews, nose pressed to dusty hymnals and in between the pages of my mother’s leather Bible.

I'm from Seoul, South Korea and from Texas and California, from rice pudding and baking bread and cinnamon apples.

From the grandmother who beat Lyndon J. in a spelling bee, the grandfather who crossed the ocean in baby clothes, and the brother who crossed the ocean in a uniform.

I am from my father’s croon, my mother’s laugh-till-she-cried, the sick-sweet smell of airplane exhaust, the comfort of my brother’s baby cheek, the ground below us fading, always fading as we rise. 

Write your own “Where I’m From” poem with this template.

What about you? Where are you from?
love, elizabeth

Monday, August 29, 2011

Feeling Croquettish

When Kyle came home from work, he let me drag him out to Schiller Park in German Village, one of the prettiest spots in Columbus (in my humblest of opinions). And we totally played croquet with the vintage wooden set I found thrifting last month. It was as much fun as I remembered, although Kyle had to re-educate me on the actual rules. Apparently, I was playing it wrong my entire childhood (see, that’s what happens to homeschooled kids, Mom…)

A statue of the park’s namesake, the great poet and playwright Friedrich von Schiller.
Some more of what is rapidly becoming my favorite kind of graffiti, the public declaration of love.

When we stopped at the grocery store on the way home, I stopped Kyle in the condiment aisle, next to the mayonnaise. “Can you believe,” I asked. “That we’ve been together nearly 7 years, all of the life that has happened, that we’re standing here in the grocery store together, still in love, after all this time? Can you believe that?”

He couldn’t.

love, elizabeth

In-Between Land

I got a call from one of my oldest friends, Kate, this afternoon (oh, by the way, you totally need to check out her awesome new blog, Love Not Distance, where she chronicles her life as the wife of a Marine). And during a long talk about our husbands, our careers (or lack thereof), our finances (or lack thereof), and our futures…we started talking about that phenomenon of the mid-twenties.

“It’s like we’re in-between the big things,” I said. I mean, we’re not in college anymore. We’re “off the market” romantically. But we’re not parents or home-owners, yet. We haven’t reached any occupational apexes, so to speak. I feel like I’m in a constant state of almost arriving. Or departing. Or something.

Like I’ve hopped off one train and am waiting for another. Is it late? Am I early?

I think waiting is pretty exciting, too. I kind of like imagining all the amazing things the coming years have in store. But every now and then, I still tap my foot with impatience.

The theatre-major in me says I shouldn’t just be tapping my foot, though. I should be TAP-DANCING on this train platform, RELISHING this time, this place.


You know what? I’m kind of loving in-between land.

What about you? Where are you living these days?

love, elizabeth

PS: Croquet and bookstores and cupcakes…tune in tomorrow…

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How to Look Like a Cook When You Don’t Feel Like It

Need a yummy fall-ish Sunday dinner recipe? Have company coming for a meal? Need to impress your mother-in-law with you’re a-mazing cooking prowess? Just don’t feel like making a big, fancy meal today?

Meet the best slow-cooker recipe you will ever make. It’s pretty much a staple around our house and Kyle’s absolute favorite. It’s my stand-by, my old faithful, my uh-oh-we-invited-our-neighbors-to-dinner-and-I-don’t-have-time-to-cook recipe…

Cranberry Chicken

2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken (I like boneless, skinless thighs but you can use whatever)

1 16-oz can whole cranberry sauce

2 T dry onion soup mix

2 T instant or quick-cooking tapioca

Where are the rest of the ingredients?? you ask. What kind of game are you playing, Elizabeth?

The directions are kind of complicated so read slowly. First, dump ingredients in crockpot (I usually go chicken, then berries, then tapioca and soup mix, followed by stirring). Next, turn crockpot on (this is very important and I have forgotten this step in the past). Wait 2 1/2-3 hours (if on high) or 5-6 hours (if on low). Eat.


Seriously, though. I have never had someone NOT love this meal. You can serve it with anything. I like mashed potatoes or baked sweet potatoes (like I’m doing today) but you can also use rice, pasta, bread, or just a side salad or veggies. The leftovers heat up great, too, and are delicious on a sandwich.

In case anyone’s wondering, the original recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens’ All Time Favorites Slow Cooker 2005. Just so we’re clear that I didn’t invent this impossibly perfect slow cooker meal.

What about you? Anyone have a recipe they can’t live without?

love, elizabeth

PS: It will make your home smell like you’ve been slaving away in a kitchen all day, cooking like a fiend. When, in fact, you went to work, got a pedicure, went for a walk, read a novel, took a hot bath… and then set the table. Bam.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

You Live in a Zoo

Kyle and I spent our Saturday at the Columbus Zoo. I left the fancy-pants camera at home so these aren’t quite the photographic quality they would be otherwise but the animals were super friendly all afternoon and we got some pretty amazing shots all the same.


Behind me is the highly endangered Okapi. It’s one of the rarest animals housed at the Cbus Zoo and also one of my favorites.



We visited the Bonobos’ habitat and I fell in love.
Bonobos are awesome, in case you didn’t know. They’re one of the few species that have a sense of identity (they even recognize themselves in the mirror). They live in female-dominated groups and hunt/gather together. If you’ve read Sara Gruen’s latest novel, The Ape House, these are the amazing apes her characters interact with (and if you loved Water for Elephants, you totally should be reading it!)


We were fortunate enough to visit the gorilla habitat when Mac, the silverback (or male leader), was trying to show off in front of the keeper and docent. They told us he’ll often wait for a crowd and then run up to the glass and pound on it to scare people. He loves the attention and he definitely had mine (I totally jumped a foot in the air).

The leopard was taking a nap right beside the visitor’s window when we stopped by…



Don’t tell Kyle, but this is my new boyfriend. He’s a Komodo dragon and he seriously was as close as this picture makes him appear. He came right up to the glass and stared deep into my eyes. What can I say, we had a moment…be still my warm-blooded heart.

Kyle looks upset. Either it’s the price of drinks at Flamingo Hideaway or he just found out about me and the Komodo dragon. Oops.


Loved this quote on the sign outside the manatee preserve. The Columbus Zoo is one of the only programs in the world that rescues manatees and rehabilitates them to be released back into the wild.


So what about YOU? What did you do today? Anyone see any animals lately (in the zoo or out in the wild)?

love, elizabeth

Sign of the Times Saturday

Time for another sign of the times…

I spotted this one outside Yellow Springs, Ohio at the edge of a sweet corn farm stand and just had to stop.



What is Charlene’s surprise, do you think?

Have a great Saturday!

love, elizabeth

Friday, August 26, 2011

Putting Things Off

So maybe this post is mostly an excuse to mention my favorite summer show, Rookie Blue (and if you’re not watching it, get on that) but the episode that aired last night, “Best Laid Plans,” was a good reminder for me and I thought I’d share it here.

Source: via Kyle on Pinterest

In the midst of the usual cop partner will-they-won’t-they tension (c’mon, seriously, just GET TOGETHER already!), Andy takes care of a woman who has been in a serious car accident. The woman tells her that she’s been saving this expensive bottle of champagne for the last six years, until she’s finally ready to celebrate her success. But when the woman dies (sorry, spoiler), Andy has her wake-up call. She’s been making plans for the future but she’s never really living in the moment. She’s been “saving the good stuff” as she says.

I’m a pretty good procrastinator, in general. But sometimes I think I put off the good things, too. I think I have to wait until some time “really special” to do that thing I’ve been wanting to do. But what exactly is holding me back? Why don’t I do the really special things now? What am I saving the good stuff FOR? What am I waiting for?

Source: via Anna on Pinterest


In the spirit of this, I have a few things I’ve been putting off that I really, really want to do. So that’s what this weekend is going to be about. Expect a few posts to follow!

What about YOU? What really good things have you been putting off?

love, elizabeth

PS: If Andy and Sam don’t end up together, I’m breaking up with Rookie Blue. For the reals.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mad for Madigan: On Cats

If you met my pomeranian, you'd understand why she needs her own weekly post. Every week or two, Madigan discusses a topic weighing on her brain. And if you don't think dogs have stuff on their minds, don't own a dog.


Dear Readers:
Today I’m talking about acceptance. And, in an effort to be more accepting of difference, I’ve invited my two cat friends (what? I have cat friends!), Pippin and Leo, to guest blog with me today. Check it out…


Leo 68739_799322239753_9219862_42525761_1531659_n[1]

Madigan: So dudes, uh, thanks for being here today.

Pippin: Good to be here.

Leo: What kind of cat are you?

Madigan: I think I speak for all my readers when I ask, what the heck is up with cat-lovers? I mean, c’mon…what makes cats so great? You guys don’t really believe all your own press, do you?

Pippin: Cats are chill, not clingy or annoying. Unlike SOME pets I know.

Madigan: Chill? Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Pippin: Cats do their own thing. We’re independent. We don’t need you. You need us. And as we all know, whoever needs less in a relationship has all the power. Yeah.

Leo: This is boring. Where are the treats?

Pippin: Also, cats are sophisticated. We clean ourselves. We toilet indoors -in designated areas, thank you- and we appreciate the silence. We’re athletic, agile, graceful. We can fit in small spaces and reach great heights while lesser animals are earth-bound. Deal with it.

Leo: I’m cute. Pet me!

Pippin: Yes, thank you, Leo, for that riveting contribution. Next question, please.

Madigan: It seems like more and more pets are getting hip to the world wide web. We have Dogbook, Catbook, Dogster…even the vets are going virtual now! How do you two feel about this phenomenon?

Leo: I like to tweet.

Pippin: I used to tweet but I've forgotten my password. Twitter is so 2010.

Madigan: Well, it's certainly a great way to keep up with your fans.

Leo: I like to tweet.

Madigan: I think I’m just about out of blog space for the day. I’d like to remind readers that they can follow all three of us pets on twitter. To follow Pippin, go HERE. To follow Leo, click HERE. To follow me, Madigan, visit HERE.



In case anyone’s curious, Pippin and Leo are the pets of Sarah over at Saracastically. I myself am not open-minded enough yet to live with a cat and fortunately for me, Mom is allergic. Haha.
What about you? Like cats? Hate them? Are YOU a cat? If so, what are you doing on the computer? Share your thoughts below…

Love and kibble,

PS: If you've missed any of my other Mad for Madigan posts, check them out HERE.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Short North

While Columbus, Ohio is not my hometown, it is my home away from home home as long as I’m in graduate school. And after a couple years, I’m finally starting to feel like a part of the community. On my birthday weekend, Kyle and I had a chance to explore the downtown and Short North area a little bit. Thought I’d highlight a couple of my new favorite businesses today. And just so my readers know, this post is sponsor-free and totally sincere. I just happen to love these two places.


Saw this paper sitting here in some flower beds. The headline caught my eye…


Bakery Gingham is known in Columbus for its cupcakes. Which are, um, what’s the word, PERFECTION. I could seriously eat about ten Ultra-Violet White cupcakes in a day. I won’t. But I could.



My other new favorite spot is the floral shop, Rose Bredl. Go HERE to visit their blog and see gorgeous arrangements and inspiring ideas. My good friend, Meredith, works there and I recently stopped in and met the owner, Mary. What a sweet little place and what an awesome staff!




Just walking around the shop inspired me to go home and decorate. I will definitely be buying flowers here in the future…



What about you? What are some of your favorite spots in YOUR town?

love, elizabeth

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Apartment, Sweet Apartment

Okay, like I’ve been telling you, the last week I’ve been rearranging the apartment. Thought I’d share some pictures of a few favorite things…


Some of my favorite books on the nightstand. And a little copper alarm clock from Hungary that belonged to my mother as a teenager.



A charcoal sketch of Kyle from a drawing class he modeled for a few years ago…


An adorable little owl from a box my grandmother gave me full of my mother’s teenage keepsakes. I love this little guy.


The living room…I moved the books out of the office. I think they were getting lonely in there by themselves.



An elephant from my friend Emily…a present for my 22nd birthday. Elephants with their trunks raised are lucky.


What do you think? I’m still trying to figure out the office space.

What about you? Any projects around the house right now?

love, elizabeth

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