Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Inspiration of the Month: Sarah

Recently, I was thinking about how many wonderful people I have the privilege of knowing. Really interesting people with amazing abilities and interests. People that inspire me to be a better person. I was wishing there was a way for me to publicly recognize the influence they’ve had in my life and to acknowledge the wonderful ways they share themselves with the world. And then I remembered…I have a blog. So this is my new segment – Inspiration of the Month!


Without further adieu, I’d like you to meet Sarah. I’ve known Sarah a long time (going on 11 years!) and there is so much I could say about her. She’s incredibly witty, well-read, artistic, and talented. She is especially being featured for the month of March for two big reasons:

The other night, she and I were chatting online and she mentioned that she was in the process of trying to switch to all cruelty-free cosmetics and beauty products. Knowing how much Sarah loves animals, I’m sure she would have thrown every animal-tested product out immediately, if she could. But Sarah is a recent college graduate and still in that fun early twenties part of your life where you eat a lot of ramen noodles and shop clearance. sarahHer realistic goal? Every time she uses something up, she seeks to find a more animal-friendly alternative product.

Inspired by this, I decided to do the same. I’ve only replaced my deodorant so far but my goal is to be beautifying cruelty-free ASAP! If this is something you’re interested in doing, you can CLICK HERE to see a list of cruelty-free brands or to search for particular products.


The second inspirational thing about Sarah has to do with the new life adventure she’s about to embark on! With a degree in Film and Digital Media from Baylor University, Sarah has a passion and gift for screenwriting. After working for a year as a script-writer for an advertising firm in Colorado, she is preparing to relocate to Los Angeles this summer to pursue writing for television full-time. She has been accepted into a highly competitive screen-writing program in LA and will be writing, taking classes with working TV and film professionals, and still working during the day! I imagine it’s going to be an immensely challenging workload but she is bravely stepping out on her own, moving across the country, and preparing to do whatever she has to do to follow her dream. Sarah’s determination makes me want to be braver about pursuing the things I love but am sometimes too scared to try.


Five Fast Sarah Facts

- Sarah has a tattoo of Dr. Who’s time machine, the TARDIS, on her ankle.

- Her cat’s full name is Leonidas Leonardo Sprinkles Da Vinci Nimoy. Leo for short.

- She hates anything carbonated.

- Sarah is a rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth hockey fan and cheers herself hoarse for the Colorado Avalanche.

- She’s started a blog to chronicle her new life in LA. CLICK HERE to visit and read her updates from Hollywood!

Monday, March 28, 2011

For My Brother

I don’t have the emotional wherewithal to say what I really am feeling right now. Instead, I thought I’d post a few pictures of my brother and ask that you keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he deploys to places unknown (to us, anyway). My heart is with him and with the loved ones of all marines, soldiers, sailors, and pilots.
May God send His angels to watch over them and keep them safely in His arms. Amen.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Adventures on the Road: Sunshine In My Shoes

As promised, here are some of the photos from our trip last week to the Carolinas!
There were so many I decided to break them up, thematically. So here are the best shots from our two afternoons on the beach with my brother, Ben, who ships out with his platoon this week.
It was wonderful to spend the day with two of my favorite guys in the whole world.
Oh, and I would like to point out, cough, that I myself did not take a sea shell and write “I LOVE ELIZABETH” in the sand. Okay? That wasn’t me.
Side note, it was Madigan’s first trip to the ocean. Not sure she’s sold on the shore line but she liked the sand (a little too much – we found her trying to eat a few mouthfuls early in the day)!

“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.”  - Isak Dinesen
“He that will learn to pray, let him go to sea.”  - George Herbert
“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It's always our self we find in the sea.” - e.e. cummings

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fresh From The Freeway: 5 Tips for the Best Road Trip Ever

These days, Kyle and I can’t afford to do much jet-setting but we still love to travel. Road trips are kind of our specialty and we’ve gone on quite a few in the six years we’ve been together. 
Beat road-trip burn out with some of the tips we’ve learned along the way!
Lunch at a rest area in West Virginia. Madigan made lots of friends!

1. Pack delicious picnics.
Everyone knows that eating on the road can be hard on the wallet and harder on the waistline. Packed with tons of sodium/preservatives, roadside fare can lead to serious bloating and fatigue (awful for all those vacation pictures we want to snap!). All the same, those smooshed ham sandwiches you made before you left look pretty unappetizing after six hours in a hot car and the truck-stop diner beckons. Instead, try packing things in a small cooler with plenty of ice. Tupperware is great for keeping things from getting soggy. Some of our favorite snacks: hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit (apples and bananas travel well), celery sticks and peanut butter, cheese and salami slices, homemade cookies, and pudding cups. Make picnic lunches an occasion by tucking in a tablecloth, some plastic champagne flutes and sparkling cider, and disposable dishware. Take advantage of the covered picnic areas at most public rest areas.

Madigan with her parking lot breakfast.

2. Plan short, fun stops.
Most trips are all about “getting somewhere” and certainly, most of us don’t want to spend days and days on the highway when the destination promises to be so much more relaxing. But learning to make the journey itself enjoyable is key. When planning your route, look for funny roadside attractions, scenic overlooks and parks, or unusual towns. These stops don’t have to be long – stop and read an historical marker, take a picture with a funny road sign, or buy a fresh snack from a fruit stand. You’ll be stretching your legs and making a memory in fifteen minutes or less!

3. Bring audio books and music playlists.
Who says driving has to be boring? Most public libraries have a large selection of audio books (many of which are now free to download on their websites!). Transfer a couple intriguing mystery novels or a funny autobiography directly to your i-pod or mP3 player (or go it old school with cassettes/cds). Kyle and I love listening to books read aloud and we love to take breaks to predict what will happen next or discuss the author’s point. If audio books make you sleepy, you can also stick to music. Build a fun driving playlist before you leave so  you can keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Our favorite game: Being the audiophiles we are, we can’t keep up with each other’s enormous music library so we like to play random songs and quiz each other on the artist. It’s fun to learn to recognize a band for its bass line or singer’s breath patterns and we continue to learn a lot about each other’s tastes!

4. Expect the best and plan for the worst.
I’m a timeline person. And the open road is no exception. I’m counting down hours, minutes, mile markers, state lines—anything to help measure the time until we finally get where we’re going! But road trips, like all travel, hit plenty of snags. On a road trip, you can almost always count on at least one of the following things happening: unexpected road work or traffic, a flat tire, bad weather, bathroom breaks (esp. when traveling with kids or pets), getting lost, or sleep-deprivation. Be kind to yourself on a road trip. If you’re too tired to drive, pull off at a rest area (be safe about it!) and take a twenty-minute power nap. Give yourself plenty of time to meet an arrival deadline – overestimate drive time and take plenty of breaks. Pack emergency items like a warm blanket, a good coat, a first aid kit, road flares, a spare tire, cable jumpers, change for toll roads or parking, phone/confirmation numbers for hotel reservations and a car charger for your cell phone.
 5. Enjoy the company.
This applies to group and solo travelers alike. If you’re driving with someone (a partner or spouse, significant other, family member, or friend), take advantage of the hours you’re spending together. Ask questions that prompt conversation: What’s the best road trip you’ve ever been on? If you could drive anywhere, where would you go? What’s something I don’t know about you? (Couples, it’s fun to think of a road trip as a twelve-hour date!) If you’re a lone wolf road trippin’ it, don’t take these hours of uninterrupted time for granted. We spend so much of our time wrapped up in the busyness of life and other people…what a gift to spend some real quality time with yourself – a great time for prayer or mediation. On my solo trips, I also like to put a really girly playlist on and rock out to all the music Kyle hates.
What about you? Share your favorite road trip tip with us below! And stay tuned for new post tomorrow with pictures from the Carolina coast!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Adventure on the Road: Playlist

Being the music freaks we are, Kyle and I always have a hard time narrowing down our playlists and this list of highlights from our Road Trip playlist is proof-positive that we can’t decide what kind of music we like! Check it out….

                                                    New Years 2010 012                              










Open Road Song – Eve 6

Hitchin’ A Ride – Green Day

Drive Away – All-American Rejects

Fly Away – Evan & Jaron

The Wanderlust – Flogging Molly

Co-Pilot – Letters to Cleo

Holiday from Real – Jack’s Mannequin

Going on the Road – Madcap

Life’s A Drink, Get Thirsty – Fake Problems

Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees

Let’s Get Out Of This Country – Camera Obscura

Drive My Car – The Beatles

Forever Young – Youthgroup

Go All the Way – Raspberries

Let’s Get Lost – Elliot Smith

Midnight Show – The Killers


Adventure on the Road 2011 officially begins in 14 hours! Packing now…


Share your favorite car jams below! What songs do I need to download tonight for the road? And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for updates from the road!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Adventure on the Road: Part One

"Why think about that when all the golden land's ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you're alive to see?"
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road
On Friday morning, Kyle, Madigan and I will be piling into the Subaru and driving to North Carolina to say good-bye to my brother who is deploying next week.

Since this happens to coincide with my last spring break as a master's student, we thought we would go ahead and make this a real vacation!

We've been plotting out some fun stops using one of my favorite websites: Roadside America. Check them out for all kinds of bizarre museums, landmarks, and strange sights along the highway!

Here's a map of our route from Columbus, Ohio to Wilmington, North Carolina… View Spring Road Trip 2011 in a larger map

We'll be tweeting from the road so be sure to follow us to get hourly updates on sights and sounds from the Appalachian Highway! Just click on the Follow Us link on the right top of the page. And keep checking back for trip updates.

What about you? Tell us about the last great road trip you took! Where did you go? Or tell us about your dream road trip!
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