Saturday, September 29, 2012

Five Books I Plan to Read The Second I Have Passed My Candidacy Exam...

Well, maybe not the exact second.


But I am fantasizing about how much I will enjoy reading when no one is requiring me to do so. I am going to read FICTION, you guys. Copious amounts of fiction.

Here are my top five Christmas break must-reads. I realize that it is pointless, and possibly dangerous, to be dreaming about the books I will read when I’m done reading the pile I have now. But what is a dream if not wrought with danger and mostly an exercise in futility?

A Prayer for Owen Meany

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Great Gatsby (I want to sneak in a re-read before I catch the Luhrmann remake on Christmas Day)

An Abundance of Katherines

A girl can dream. Back to dramatic theory.

What’s on your reading list?

love, elizabeth

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Woman With Facial Hair Is Beautiful


Photo credit

I was kind of having a self-hate day. It was one of those days where I could only notice the bumps and bruises on my skin, the seeming lumpiness of my thighs, the way my head and shoulders appear to connect without any kind of neck between them, the roundness of my cheeks, the planetary-size of my forehead, the shortness of my toes, the unevenness of my eyebrows, the number on the scale, the tiredness in my eyes. I was making a list like this one and I began brainstorming a list of physically transformative tasks I could complete to become less hideous. Lose weight, moisturize, take vitamins, go on a juice fast, run two miles a day, color my hair, re-think my wardrobe, dress for my body-type, work on confidence, take yoga, cut out carbohydrates and processed food, become a vegetarian, destroy all mirrors in the universe.

And then, this article popped up on my homepage and, suddenly, I felt this deep sense of security and peace. This is what Balpreet Kaur wrote about the importance of beauty and purpose in life after being targeted and attacked for her personal appearance: “Yes, I'm a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women….My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body… by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can."

I need to be friends with this woman. This is the kind of honest challenge I needed. Sometimes I look in the mirror or I compare myself with others and my values get jumbled. I am once again reminded that so much of our culture defines beauty by an external (and, in most cases, unrealistic) standard.

I titled this post provocatively in hopes that people might read it but the fact is, Balpreet’s life is not about being beautiful IN SPITE of her facial hair. I honestly believe that Balpreet redefines what it means to be beautiful, to be feminine, to be powerful and important and genuine. I am interested in that kind of beauty. I encourage you to make your own list of what makes you beautiful. Just imagine what might happen if we started defining ‘beautiful’ not as what we want to be, but by what we already are.*

love, elizabeth

*I am not the first person to say that, by the way, so if anyone remembers who said that best, let me know.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I’m not feeling so hot the last few days. My energy levels are at a record low and I feel like I’m slushing through my day, barely able to keep up with things. I take full responsibility for this. My eating habits are terrible. I’m barely sleeping. I’ve completely abandoned my work-outs and I can’t remember the last time I just poured myself a glass of water. To top it all off, days of sunshine left in Columbus are limited and I find myself dreading the onslaught of gloomy, gray Ohio winter.

I made myself a to-do list. Now I just need to do something.


This will be harder than it sounds.

love, elizabeth

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Girl Confessions

1. I have had “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies stuck in my head for days and on repeat for my drive home. But you know what really makes me love this song? Joseph Gordon-Levitt singing it in (500) Days of Summer.

2. I’m continuing in my move towards exclusive use of cruelty-free beauty products but still haven’t found a deodorant I like as much as the ones from P&G. I used Mitchum for awhile but wasn’t totally in love and now I’ve switched to Tom’s but I’m not so impressed. If anyone has a suggestion, I’d appreciate it.

3. We ordered our Green Day tickets for the Cleveland show in January and I. am. so. excited. This will be the third time Kyle and I have gone together to see them live (and Kyle’s fourth Green Day show) but the first time we’ve been able to get general admission tickets which means we’ll be on the floor! I intend to do much moshing and crowd-surfing and perhaps even some duet-singing with this guy:


Photo credit

Commencing fan-girl screaming.

4. Want to participate in an awesome blog scavenger hunt and connect with other bloggers?? Head over here:

LHH Scavenger Hunt


5. The weather report predicts that we won’t get out of the 50’s and 60’s all next week and I am so happy. Fall at last.

Alright, your turn. Confession of the day?

love, elizabeth

Monday, September 17, 2012

The note on my car

I came out to my car in the parking lot the other day and spotted this note tucked into the edge of my window. I think it was meant for my husband who often drives this car.
"Thank you," it says, "for having the bumper stickers that you do. It means the world to me and, I'm certain, other women."
I thought that was the sweetest thing. It makes me more grateful for Kyle and also grateful that that anonymous person took the time to say how something affected her (I'm assuming it was a her). It's encouraged me to find ways to thank strangers for the ways they make the world a better place. Maybe I can leave a note on someone's windshield or I can stop a manager and let them know what great service we received at such and such a restaurant. I am so inspired as I realize that I often let the little kindnesses in the world around me go unacknowledged and how easy it would be to let that person know they are appreciated!
love, elizabeth

Sunday, September 16, 2012

making with the adventure

This blog was always supposed to be about adventure. And lately, I’ve been feeling even less adventurous than usual.

But then I spotted this on my brother’s Instagram and smiled so big. Apparently, he and his friend noticed this place through a Google search and decided to go ghost hunting. I love when I see little glimpses of myself in my brother because most of the time, we seem so different. But this is totally something I would do.


So thanks, Ben, for renewing a sense of adventure in your sister. I’m going to make it a point to see something haunted this fall (it IS on my bucket list, after all).

AND I’m doing a little blog re-vamping…what do you think?

love, elizabeth

Friday, September 14, 2012

My office on campus

You guys, it's like the 21st century in here. Today I am blogging for the first time on my beautiful new iPad. I'm still waiting for the novelty of the touch screen to go away but I get it now. I totally get how someone could get sucked into the Internet by way of Apple technology. This is the view from my window. The theater looks out over the Olentangy River. I think we're pretty spoiled to have a window to the outside world and I'm looking forward to watching the seasons change from up here.

And thanks to Steve Jobs I can show you my office with the camera. The one built into my iPad! Dudes, my minds is blown right now.

So here's my office. I share it with other people but this is my little corner of solace at school. That's Gonga on the desk. He belonged to my mom when she was in the Navy and now he's my little reminder of home. He spends most of his time watching over my pencils.

It's Friday and that means my office hours are almost up and then I'll be heading out for a drink with some of my friends. What does Friday mean for you?

Love, Elizabeth

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Being Intentional


Here’s the thing about this semester. I feel so lost. Studying for this candidacy exam or comps or generals or whatever it is we call it…it’s completely confusing. I mean, it sounds straightforward when they explain it to you. “Read this list of books. Take a test. Defend your answers. Pass.” But right now I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of reading in four different disciplines within my field and I am petrified that I am screwing this up. I can’t read fast enough or smart enough or carefully enough. There’s the time frame, too. 18 hours of writing…18 hours??? Who thought THAT up? I don’t even know if I have 18 hours of knowledge inside of me. And no matter how many times people tell me that I don’t need to know everything in every book, I still keep trying to read every word of every sentence of every chapter and I just don’t have TIME for that. The exam is two months away and I feel like I know less than ever. All that being said…this too will pass. Like every other impossible academic thing I’ve done so far, it will happen.

I’ve been realizing that a good part of my discouragement is coming from a feeling of aimlessness. I have somehow lost my intentionality.

And it’s not just my study habits that are suffering right now. It’s my downtime. I am realizing that I need to be just as intentional about the time I’m NOT reading as the time I am. It’s not actually restful or helpful if I spend every moment away from my books feeling guilty about not reading, worrying, making lists, or watching hours of mindless television streaming on the internet. I need to be intentional about seeking real rest and real renewal. I need to be intentional about physical activity. I need to be intentional about eating balanced meals and getting enough sleep. I need to be intentional about blogging.

Blogging has been a real place of solace and peace for me in the last couple of years. I really don’t want to lose its place in my routine. But that requires intentional time. I am choosing to blog right now. I am not watching TV. I am not sleeping. And I am not studying. I am blogging.

I guess the thing I’m learning is that being intentional in any circumstance requires you to live, if only temporarily, in that present moment. I need to live inside of a moment instead of trying always to bypass it, rush through it, always planning for the next crisis. I need to be here. With you. For just this moment.

love, elizabeth

Tuesday, September 11, 2012



I think my husband is kind of like coffee. Kyle tells me that being a barista is like being a bartender with coffee and I totally get that. And I think he is the best barista anyone could ask for because he really loves his customers. He remembers their names and their favorite orders and he really wants to know about their days, about their families, and their lives. He loves to come home and tell me the craziest stories about the people he meets all day long. “People aren’t paying $4 for just a cup of coffee,” he tells me. “They can get that at home. People want to come to a coffee house to feel like someone cares about them, like they have a community, a place to go.” He’s right. I think people are really lonely for each other. And when he comes home at night and I get to bury my nose in the collar of his shirt, I can smell the coffee. So now whenever I smell coffee, I think about Kyle. Sometimes when he’s not home, I sniff his work shirts. (Do NOT tell him.) Kyle is kind of like coffee to me. He’s calm and wise but he’s also warm and gets my heart racing. He smells good and makes me feel safe and reminds me of home. You guys…I really love coffee.

love, elizabeth

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Five for Fall

The National Weather Service apparently doesn’t know this but…fall is officially just days away. I’m a big believer in the seasons and celebrating them but like a lot of you, I’m on a small budget so I’ve compiled a list of five free (or almost free) autumn-inspired things to get you in the mood for fall.

1. You can track fall foliage with The Weather Channel this autumn. Beginning in mid-September, you’ll be able to click on the U.S. map to find the best spots to see the changing leaves. Also check your state’s visitor or national park sites for fall foliage trackers. Some states even have apps for the smart phone crowd (you know you are). If you don’t live somewhere that gets a lot of fall color, be sure to check out some of these cool web-cams.

2. Mini candles at Bath and Body Works are just $3.50 or 2 for $5 right now and their fall scents are sooooo good. My favorites: Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin and Farm Stand Apple.

3. This recipe for Brown Butter and Ginger Ale Apple Dumplings from Alli ‘n Sons.

4. The Dollar Tree, people. The Dollar Tree. I have not previously given this store due credit. Right now, they have snazzy fall decorations like these adorable ceramic pumpkins. Oh, and did I mention it’s The Dollar Tree so everything is, in fact ONE DOLLAR?

5. Want to start gearing up for Halloween? You can stream lots of scary movies online for free on sites like Crackle or Hulu. Check out Dracula or The Ape Man or Dracula vs. Frankenstein.
Bonus: Kristin over at Vignettes is hosting her annual Fall Friendship Swap and YOU can be a part of it.


I’m sharing my fall-inspired playlist with you. You are sooooooooooo lucky.

How is the internet helping you get excited for another fall?
love, elizabeth

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Total Lush

I kind of dread the mail. It feels like most of the time it’s just junk and bad news and bills. But SOMETIMES…it’s stuff like this. *I realize that the following is going to sound like a paid advertisement but I assure you, it is not. I am sharing LUSH with you out of the goodness of my heart. You’re welcome, Internet.


I’ve talked about LUSH on here before because, you know, it’s pretty much amazing. Who is seriously NOT interested in handmade, organic products made with vegetarian, cruelty-free ingredients that, oh yeah, smells like heaven in the form of a soap bar? Bonus: everything has a cute name like “Honey I Washed the Kids” or “Turkish Delight” or “Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds” and comes specially wrapped and packaged and sealed with a kiss, apparently.


For my birthday this year, Sarah sent me a gift certificate and I definitely spent some serious time picking out my merch. That’s short for merchandise, in case you didn’t know.


I settled on The Buffy Bar, which is a LUSH best-seller for a good reason. It’s an exfoliating bar that you scrub on and rinse off and it literally makes your skin feel like butter and silk (except not as greasy or weird as that sounds).


I ALSO bought the It Started With a Kiss tinted lip balm. Which smells like cupcakes and berries and is so cute in its little itty bitty tin.


I am also happy to report that LUSH included a copy of their latest newsprint catalogue which I never feel bad about having because A) it’s so pretty and fun to read and B) I use every last scrap of it to wrap presents. So much cooler than wrapping paper. Want to get your own? You can subscribe free here by going to the top of the page and clicking on LUSH Catalogue. If you’re in a different country than me, like Canada (where LUSH is made) or somewhere else, you can find your country’s website by going here.


So there you have it. LUSH is awesome and no one paid me to say it. Unless, of course, someone from LUSH is reading this and wants to pay me to say it.

What about you? Have you fallen for a new product or beauty line lately?

love, elizabeth

Thursday, September 6, 2012

If you build it, fall will come?

Remember this scene from Field of Dreams? Maybe if I decorate my house for fall, fall will come. Yes?

I mean…get it together, September. You have 17 days until it’s actually autumn, officially, and it is going to be 90 degrees today. That is not okay.

So in an effort to bring on the fall, I did a little bit of homemaking. I baked some bread. I lit some candles. I made a playlist. You get the idea.






Aaaaand the blogging dry spell continues. I’m still figuring out how to balance my schedule with my home life and the blog. So thanks for bearing with me.

I think I’m going to go turn up the air conditioning and put on a sweater. Summer, I cease to acknowledge you. I answer only to autumn.

love, elizabeth

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Explorers Club

I’ve talked about Melissa on the blog before but I may have forgotten to mention how absolutely sad I am now that she has moved to South Carolina to be a big grown-up animal doctor (booooooooooooooooooo) instead of staying here in Columbus with me. So when she told me she was thinking about coming up for Labor Day weekend, I got super-joyous. And then she did. And now she’s here! Since our time together is limited…we are taking full advantage and doing every awesome thing we can think of. Starting with breakfast.



I had never been to the Explorers Club in Merion Village but I am so glad Melissa knew about it because it is the coolest, out-of-the-way little place. The service was wonderful and the food was perfect.



Their vegetarian menu is AWESOME and they were able to substitute tofu for scrambled eggs. So good.




This is Melissa’s I’m-Sad-I-Live-in-South-Carolina-And-Not-Here face.

I am not even going to think about how sad I’m going to be in two days when she has to go home.

Happy Labor Day weekend!

love, elizabeth

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