Friday, August 31, 2012

Look what Elizabeth learned today


When I was a little girl, my mom kept a magnet on the fridge that said, “Look what Elizabeth learned today!” Sitting in the office at school earlier today, staring at the magnets on my desk, and making a mental list of all the ways I failed this week, I remembered that suddenly. And I thought how nice it was that that magnet never said, “Look what Elizabeth was perfect at today!” and better…”Look what Elizabeth totally screwed up today!” 

So in honor of my mom and that magnet, here are some things I learned (or re-learned) this week:

1. Sometimes it feels like the only thing keeping me upright are the breaths I take between things. Sometimes the breaths need to be extra-deep.

2. It can be difficult to reserve judgment about new things and new people. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.

3. I can look up to someone without having to become them.

4. It’s really important to be authentically, completely me.

5. I don’t have anything to prove. My worth is inherent.

6. So I can be transparent and flawed and transparent about being flawed because it’s okay for other people to see that.

7. I can give myself away without giving myself away. Know what I mean?


So share with me. What are you learning, re-learning, knowing in a new way as this week draws to a close?

love, elizabeth

Monday, August 27, 2012

no one is tiny


The other day I had an encounter with a younger student in my department. When she realized that the group of people around her were all PhD students, she looked embarrassed and immediately blurted out, “I feel so tiny. I’m just an undergrad.” It was a little moment but it touched me and it’s been lodged in my brain ever since.

I immediately blurted something back that made my friends at the table laugh and start teasing me about sounding like a greeting card.

“No one is tiny,” I said. “We’re all on a journey.”


And okay…yeah…Hallmark should just start paying me now. But I totally meant it. I think back to a year ago, two years, five years, ten years and I wonder what would have happened to me if the people I looked up to then had treated me like I was tiny. What if they hadn’t been so patient with me? What if they hadn’t given me the opportunity to grow and to change in my own way, in my own time? Would I be here? I am just so grateful for all the teachers and mentors and friends who have never made me feel tiny. It’s a good reminder for me. No one is tiny.

We’re all on a journey.

That’ll be 3.95 plus tax but you get the envelope for free.



I was going to kill two birds with one stone and tell you where I got my outfit but then I realize it’s all thrifted or vintage. So…that would be unhelpful to you.

And hey, Michelle from Making Sense of Cents won the giveaway from Katie for Thought! Michelle, I will be sending you an email later today. Congratulations! Want to check out more of Katie for Thought’s hand-painted creations? Go check out her Etsy shop here. And for a limited time, she is offering Love is the Adventure readers a 10% discount. Just enter the coupon code ADVENTURE1 at check-out.

Wishing you a good-luck Monday. You are not tiny.

love, elizabeth

Friday, August 24, 2012

Computer says, cough, cough

Guys, it has not been a good week for my blog. Mostly, because I have ignored her for things like school and teaching and housework. And THEN my laptop caught a very bad virus because I didn’t listen to my dad and un-installed my anti-virus program for like three days because my firewall was causing problems. This has taught me three important things: 1) My dad is pretty much always right. 2) The people who invent internet viruses are you-know-what’s and they can you-know-what where the you-know-what don’t shine. 3) My computer will always freak out the second I really need it like…oh, I don’t know…two months before the biggest exams of my academic career. BAH.

So in honor of computer viruses, I am extending the deadline for the giveaway through until next Monday night at midnight which means you should totally enter to win one of the hand-painted pieces from Katie for Thought! It’s easy and you’ll make me feel better about my laptop…cough, cough.

love, elizabeth

Monday, August 20, 2012

Super awesome magical giveaway of greatness

Here it is. I’ve been talking about it all week…and here it is.

I am so excited to tell you that Katie from Katie for Thought is offering one of YOU a one-of-a-kind painting of your choice from her shop!

Here are a few of my personal favorites…




Want to win one of these or another one from Katie’s shop? Here’s how…

1. Be a GFC Follower of Love is the Adventure. Leave a comment telling me so. (only mandatory entry)

Extra entries:

2. Visit Katie’s shop. Leave a comment telling me which painting is your favorite.

3. Like Katie for Thought on Facebook.  Leave a comment letting me know that you did.

4. Tweet about the giveaway. Leave a comment with a link to your tweet.

With entries so easy, we’re practically GIVING a painting away! Oh, wait…

*Because of shipping costs, this giveaway is unfortunately only open to U.S. residents.

The giveaway will be open until Thursday at midnight and I will announce the winner on Friday morning. Stay tuned…

love, elizabeth

Vegetable Mondays


In the last five months or so, I have been toying with the idea of becoming a full-fledged vegetarian. I like meat but most days, I can totally do without it and I’ve noticed that when I eat less meat, the better I physically feel. One of my really good friends is a long-time vegetarian and she and I have had lots of conversations about it.

Kyle…on the other hand…is not so thrilled about the idea of cutting meat from our diet. He actually grew up vegan, because of his dad, and has some really strong feelings associated with that. So every time I bring up the whole eat vegetables, not meat, thing, I can see him mentally calculating how he’ll hide the Slim Jim’s and the bacon bits from me.

And while the idea of really committing to this is exciting to me, I’m not interested in creating conflict in my marriage and I’m not interested in trying to make separate dinners for the two of us every night. So when Kyle said, out of the blue, that he would really like to try including more fruits and vegetables in his daily intake, I took it as a sign.

Today at lunch, we came up with a compromise. We’re going to try make one day a week a meat-free day and see how it goes. We’re starting with Mondays. If we find that we can both live with that, we’ll try for two. The point isn’t necessarily to stop eating meat altogether but to find some tasty meat-alternatives that offer good protein and nutrition and see how it affects our health and well-being. I’m also interested in the possibility that eating LESS meat will mean we can afford higher quality meat when we do buy it.

I’ve been working on my list of vegetarian dinners to try…eggplant lasagna, summer vegetable frittatas, savory polenta, gallo pinto, and veggie shepherd’s pie.

So help me out…do you have experience as a vegetarian? Do you have a meat-alternative you love? Recipes I should check out?

love, elizabeth

Saturday, August 18, 2012

the formation of giant star clusters or how Elizabeth got a peaceful feeling

Source: via Elise on Pinterest


I was listening to National Public Radio yesterday, partly because it was Science Friday and partly because I am secretly ninety-years old.

And while I’m not the science-iest of ladies, I was fascinated by this report on this gigantic new star formation called the Phoenix Cluster that’s been discovered in a galaxy far, far away. When they first started talking, I thought, “Ew, astronomy, not my fave,” but as I reached my hand  up to the car radio dial, the MIT fellow they were interviewing said, “All that a star needs to form is some cold gasses and to be left alone for awhile.” Obviously he went on to explain that it’s actually way more complicated than that (there’s like some gasses that get super-heat from the sun and then when they cool really quickly, there are a lot of stars forming at a very rapid pace and basically, science-people are freaking out with science-joy because it’s so different and interesting). And just the way he said it, it just gave me this feeling of peace about the future that I really have not been feeling lately.

And for some reason, I just knew I wanted to blog about that. I kept thinking about it all of yesterday and today, trying to figure out what exactly kept it inside of my brain when so many other relatively important things slip out like so many greased pigs on a flagpole.

I guess it’s the whole idea that this beautiful, incredible thing happens in solitude. Or maybe that it’s the stars don’t work to form clusters or even come into being. They happen. They go from being hot gasses in outerspace to stars in the sky because of something bigger than them. Sometimes it’s nice to rest in the knowledge that someone bigger than me shapes the universe. So if I go on being heated by the sun and doing my whole heated-matter-thing to the best of my ability, eventually I too can be cooled quickly and turned into a gigantic star cluster, not because of me, but because it’s part of the bigger picture I don’t have control over. And then maybe scientists will rejoice over me, too, and go on Science Friday and say, “we have no idea how Elizabeth turned into a star cluster so quickly but we’re fascinated.”

It’s a rambly kind of Saturday, I guess.

Thanks, Phoenix Cluster, for being such a rad metaphor. In my head.

love, elizabeth

Friday, August 17, 2012

First Day of School Essentials

Today is my first official day back to school for the autumn semester. It’s a strange feeling because this is the first time since I started college back in 2003 that I will not be in actual classes. But I AM studying and teaching and very, VERY excited about that.


Let’s see…

Cute first-day-of-school outfit complete with adorable vintage necklace I found in a box of my mom’s old stuff…check.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into triangles plus plum…check.

New planner for all of my planning…check.

Book from my specialization list because downtime is the devil…check.

Point and shoot camera to capture the day…checkity-check.

Off to face the day! If/when you were in school, what’s your first day essential? Don’t forget…GIVEAWAY MONDAY!!!

love, elizabeth

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Photo shoot in the garden

I feel like my post titles are getting more and more creative, don’t you?

Kyle and I spent a good bit of my birthday exploring what may very well be the best kept secret acreage in the Columbus area, Inniswood Metro Gardens. I won’t spoil it for you, just in case you’re ever in Westerville, Ohio and you feel like spending the day outside but…there may or may not be an actual “secret garden” inside the park. I feel like nothing I say will live up to how beautiful this place actually is but we’re already planning a trip back after autumn settles in because I have this feeling that the leaves are going to be incredible.

One of these pictures may end up on our Christmas card…what do you think?


I married a handsome fella.







Super extra awesome giveaway just FOUR days away, people. O.M.G.

love, elizabeth

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Your New Best Blog

Guys, you need to meet Amy. Amy blogs over at Sweet Home Santa Barbara and I am so happy to be featuring her this month!


Elizabeth: What makes you feel brave?

Amy:  I feel brave when I think about the tough times and heart ache that I have overcome. Knowing that God has gotten me through the hard things that I have already faced, makes me feel brave enough to face whatever is in my future.

Elizabeth: What adventure can you not wait to have?

Amy: I cannot wait to meet my future husband, and experience the adventure of falling in love together.

Elizabeth: Amy, tell us a story about yourself in six words.

Amy: I am oddly good at Limbo.

She wasn’t kidding.


Go visit, follow, and be sure to read some of Amy’s amazing posts, like this one on the need for perfection. It totally spoke to me.

love, elizabeth

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Birthday Magic


I like to believe my birthday is magic. I tried to explain this to Kyle and if he didn’t get it, he at least did a really good job of smiling and nodding. But I’m totally serious. My birthday is magic. Maybe yours is, too. It’s not that the 14th of August is out of the ordinary exactly. It’s just that every ordinary thing is better on my birthday. The cup of coffee I drank yesterday might be the exact same size and brew today. But today it’s my birthday coffee. Food tastes better; it’s birthday food. Kisses seem sweeter; they’re birthday kisses. Clothes fit better…you get the idea.

And on the other hand, my birthday is a kind of melancholy thing. Every year I find myself wondering if being a year older should really mean something. Like, what is the great significance of this year that’s passed? I should feel different. I should be suddenly MORE or BETTER.  And maybe that’s why birthdays, even the magic ones, always secretly feel like a letdown.

The other two in the morning when I couldn’t sleep, I propped my laptop up on the end of the bed and Googled, “on turning 25,” scouring the internets for a pithy list of all the things I should now know that I am about to a non-24-year-old. I did read this very comforting article. There’s some good advice in there and it made me smile.

When I was little, I liked to play house with my friends. Probably like lots of you, for my friends and me, playing house mainly consisted of making up elaborate identities for ourselves and then putting on clothes and lipstick that reaffirmed our belief in those identities. In case you were wondering, my name was always Lisa and I was always 25. Lisa was a very glamorous 25 year-old and she really had life figured out. Lucky Lisa. 25 feels like a strange turning point somehow. Maybe because it’s the last milestone year (I can rent cars now…what’s left? Nothing but the senior menu at Denny’s, that’s what.) Maybe because it’s the first year I’ve understood the possibility of not being young. I guess the thing is, as a child, 25 was the pinnacle of a far-off adulthood I couldn’t wait to have as my very own. 25 was IT. And here it is. I want to go back, look little Elizabeth square in the face, and ask, “Now what, smarty pants?”

Every year on my birthday, I re-read one of my favorite poem/stories of all time, Eleven by Sandra Cisneros. In it, she writes.

What they don't understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you're eleven, you're also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don't. You open your eyes and everything's just like yesterday, only it's today. And you don't feel eleven at all. You feel like you're still ten. And you are--underneath the year that makes you eleven. Like some days you might say something stupid, and that's the part of you that's still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama's lap because you're scared, and that's the part of you that's five. And maybe one day when you're all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you're three, and that's okay. […] Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree trunk or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one.

Maybe you feel like this, too?

All of this rambling leads me to the thing I’m realizing about birthdays. I counted on my fingers and realized that today is the EIGHTH birthday I’ve spent with Kyle. We have this great day planned and I’ve spent weeks scoping out the places we’re going and the things we’ll do there. I’ve been saving this amazing bottle of wine for tonight and I’ve been internet-drooling over the cupcake menu at Blue Frost. But if everything goes wrong today, if the car won’t start, if the cupcakes are stale, if there’s a hailstorm, if the Redbox is all out of copies of The Artist, if the zombie apocalypse descends upon us, it’ll be a birthday zombie apocalypse. And it will be magic.

Here’s to another ring inside the tree trunk.

love, elizabeth

Monday, August 13, 2012

Big, exciting, awesome news!

Ooops, no. I’m not pregnant. But thank you for asking, Mom.
I have been hinting that something really cool is about to happen over here at Love is the Adventure and now I am going to tell you about it. A week from today, I will be partnering with someone special for a really unique giveaway! Let the countdown to giveaway day commence!

Here’s a little clue…



In other blog-type news, I recently had the chance to do a little mini blog makeover for Ashley over at A Recipe for Sanity and I thought you all might like to see it! I’m certainly not a professional but I had fun and she was nice enough to let me get creative. I’m always happy to help you in your space, too, as part of your sponsorship package.

Lastly, I am doing my darnedest to get around the internet and visit as many of you on your blogs as I can! Help me out and leave a comment sharing your blog address and something fun you’ve been writing/taking pictures of lately. I’d LOVE to stop by your space and check it out!

Just SEVEN WHOLE DAYS until giveaway magic! Get excited.

love, elizabeth

Saturday, August 11, 2012


History Channel, I wish I knew how to quit you. I am so completely head-over-heels addicted to American Pickers, I may need to start attending meetings. Because besides the whole finding amazing historical treasures in barns and attics thing, there’s Mike Wolfe. Seriously, how do pack that much handsome into a glorified antiquer?


Also, thanks to Mike, I have some key new phrases to work into my everyday conversations. Phrases like…

“That’s killer.”


“These vintage wall sconces are smokin’!”


“I’m like a one-eyed dog in a meat factory.”

and my personal favorite…

“It was hotter than a goat’s butt in a pepper patch!”

Here's a clip in case you haven't seen the show yet...(it's on Netflix, too).


Do you watch American Pickers or any other reality shows? Anything on the History Channel?

love, elizabeth

Friday, August 10, 2012

Help Me Pick!

First things first, I thought you all might like to see the letter I received from RAINN last week: Dear Elizabeth (and all of YOU because you voted/sponsored in June and July), Thank you for your recent contribution […] Your support makes it possible for RAINN to provide critical services to victims of sexual violence. Since 1994, RAINN has touched the lives of millions of Americans. The National Sexual Assault Hotline has provided free, confidential support to more than 1.4 million Americans, and we have experienced record increases in hotline usage in recent months. Your generosity also allows us to educate over 130 million Americans each year on sexual assault prevention, prosecution and recovery; and work with policy makers to improve the criminal justice system and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. […] Sincerely, Scott Berkowitz, President and Founder.

All sponsorship funds earned here at Love is the Adventure were donated to RAINN for the months of June and July.



This month, all sponsorship proceeds are going to a charity that helps and protects animals but you have to help me decide which one. Click on the links below to visit each organization’s website and decide who you think we should donate to!

- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

- World Wildlife Fund

- The Humane Society of the United States

I still have some sponsor spots open! For just $4 or $6, you can promote your blog or business through Love is the Adventure AND give to a worthy cause. Click here to find out how. All ad spots run for 30 days, regardless of when you begin sponsorship.

To vote, scroll right to the sidebar and check out the current poll!

love, elizabeth

PS: Stay tuned for exciting blog news on Monday…

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lunch Date





When you’ve seen another person through some of the best and worst days of their life, the conversation seems to move from the present to the past and back without much effort. When Beth and I were talking over coffee yesterday, we started reminiscing about college, some of the good stuff, and some of the painful stuff, too. We laughed about things and then were surprised that we could laugh.

"Wow,” Beth said and smiled that smile she remembers something, “That’s the gift of time, I guess.”

And that just really stayed with me for the rest of the day and for the drive of home. Time is a gift. It helps us let go and it helps us hold on. And it made me realize that, when it comes to my friendship with Beth, no one makes me laugh like Beth, no one is quiet with me like Beth, no one else can do Gossip Girl impressions with me like Beth, no one understands me like Beth, and the most important thing she has ever given me is her time.


Living hours away from my best friend who, like me, has been in graduate school for the last three years means that when we both find time to sneak away and hang out for a few hours, we leap. So yesterday, we met in Cincinnati for lunch at Findlay’s Market. Findlay’s is the oldest public market in Ohio and reminds me a lot of North Market in Columbus. There were so many amazing building murals and great doorways to photograph so Beth had to put up with a bajillion pictures (the perils of hanging around a blogger).



So talk to me about the gift of time in your life. What has time allowed you to do, overcome, or become?

love, elizabeth

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mad Face

Since Kyle has the day off, we’re spending the morning doing a little rearranging in our bedroom. I’m really excited to show you when it’s done. Meanwhile, Madigan felt like posing for all of you.



I never understood what irrepressible really meant until I met this dog. She just makes everything better.

love, elizabeth

PS: Big announcement coming soon…stay tuned!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Our state fair is a great state fair

Saturday was actually kind of a hard day as a hospital advocate so when Kyle brought home Ohio State Fair tickets, I was relieved to spend the evening out and about. It was closing weekend for the fair so it was pretty crowded but we enjoyed ourselves. One of my biggest passions/interests is in American popular entertainments and I especially love carnivals and sideshows so, naturally, I had to take pictures of the all classic midway spots.


Fair food is scrumptious which is a good thing since it’s also deep fried and overpriced. We saw the sign for the smorgasbord and all I could think of was this.



And as crowded as the fairgrounds were, up at the top of the Ferris wheel, the world felt very small and far away.


Speaking of which, did you know the first official Ferris wheel was constructed in 1893 in Chicago? Now you do.


I love that you can see the Columbus skyline behind Kyle in this picture.


We didn’t get a chance to see everything but we did spend some time in the sheep barn and met this fuzzy guy. I wanted to give him a hug but I’m not sure he felt the same.


Have you visited your state fair recently? What’s your favorite thing to do at the fair?

love, elizabeth

Friday, August 3, 2012

Office Makeover

If you’ve missed me on the internet, this is one of the things that has kept me away. I’ve been working in the office for days and have finally surfaced for air (and pictures)! This was a makeover on a serious budget so I tried to make the most cost-effective purchases I could and use almost exclusively things I already had. That’s my mom’s trunk from her days in the Navy. It’s full of pictures and scrapbooks now and I’ve repurposed it as a coffee table.


Here is one of the set of two matching glass lamps I found thrifting. They’re so beautiful and were a legitimate bargain at just $6.99 each. Kyle found shades at a big box store and I love the coppery warmth they add to the room.



I decided to brave the clearance paint aisle at a certain large store that sells things for a very low price and discovered a heatherish-gray color and a pinkish-tan for just $4.86 a pint. Kyle sanded down my grandmother’s old desk and I repainted it. I took some sand paper to the edges to make look a little more worn…I can’t decide it that was a good move or not but the color is a great improvement overall.


Oh, and yeah…hi, I’m Elizabeth and I’m a big ol’ copy cat. I no-apologies, straight-up stole this from Jenni over at Story of My Life. I justify it by saying simply that I have in my possession pictures from our childhood together that she may or may not want made public. Just kidding. ….or am I? No, I’m totally joking. I’m not. I am. No, not really. …..

I seriously love what she did to the wall in their master bedroom and will go ahead and admit that this is like one of those off-brand knock-off versions. The real thing is much, much better.

I used a combination of frames from my closet, my favorite thrift store, and the Dollar Tree. The prints are mostly clippings or postcards or photographs I’d saved, along with a couple prints from CAPow! Along the top left, you can see what my row of handsome daguerreotype boyfriends collected from flea markets and thrift stores. 


One of my favorite things I framed was a necktie-tying tutorial I had clipped out of Reader’s Digest years ago and stuck in a box. I smiled when I re-discovered it in a box of memorabilia.


I rescued the little loveseat from my neighbor Melissa who was going to throw it out when she moved. It has a couple muddy stains from where her dogs ran over it on a rainy day but other than that, it’s in great shape.


The wall-hanging is a bamboo shade that’s too small to fit any of our windows. Anyone who rents knows that leases don’t always allow you to paint a room so it’s great when I can find other ways to bring color and texture to the walls.



What do you think? And what summer project has kept you busy?

love, elizabeth

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