Thursday, December 27, 2012

That Place Where They Keep the Books

You guys, I am beside myself with glee. I am downright giddy. Why? Why can’t I stop smiling? Why does my heart seem fuller and the daylight seem brighter? Why is my heart full of Jimmy Fallon-type joy?

Because I have rediscovered the public library. ….


You guys, there’s this place where you can go and pick out books and then take them home with you and read them. And then when you’re done, you bring them back so that other people who might enjoy that book can also take it home. And, you guys, this amazing bookly transaction…totally free. Okay, not exactly free. Technically, if you’re a U.S. citizen and you pay state and federal taxes, you have contributed monetarily to this venture. But seriously, you guys. The library.*

*Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen the inside of a library a lot in the last four years. It’s just been on the university campus and it’s been all about research and candidacy exams and grad school. I forgot about when the library was fun.  

As you can see, my expedition today was quite fruitful. Behold…BOOKS. Two on de-cluttering, one on re-falling in love with your wardrobe, a how-to on vintage hairstyles, and an old movie to help me cross something else off my 2012 bucket list. And spending more time at the public library has made it onto my bucket list for 2013.



I know that some of you are thinking, Gee, Elizabeth. I could have told you about the library a long time ago. And you’re right. You could have. What’s wrong with you?

love, elizabeth

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

12 Things

Today I am doing my usual post-Christmas cleaning fest. The day after Christmas, I like to get every last wreath and ornament packed and put away neatly for next year. Taking down the decorations is what my mother calls “a drag” and I agree. Which is why I like to treat the 26th of December like a band-aid. Rip it off quick so you can start the New Year fresh.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d share 12 of our favorite Christmas moments with you. I did this last year and it was so much fun, I thought I’d do it again. Looking forward to seeing everyone’s pictures and posts this week!

Merry Day After Christmas!

love, elizabeth

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sweetness and Peacefulness and Dreaming


My mom and I were talking about this on the phone yesterday. We both decided we like Christmas Eve better than Christmas Day. I don’t know why…but in my head, Jesus was born on Christmas Eve and then His parents got to sleep in on Christmas Day (#thelogicofchildhood). Growing up, Christmas Eve was rife with tradition. We would go to the candlelight service and sing my favorite Christmas carols like this one. We would drive home in the snowy cold (I feel like every Christmas in Colorado was a white Christmas). We’d unbundle ourselves from coats and scarves and boots. Dad would grab the snacks and the camera. Mom would heat up her cup of coffee and we’d head for the living room and the tree. Dad would read the Christmas story aloud and then we’d open presents in a circle, one at a time so that we could enjoy them with each other. My mother was the quiet conductor of all of this, sipping her coffee and nodding that it was someone else’s turn. Mom and Dad would open presents from each other last and have the annual Hunny Bunny argument (both would insist that the OTHER person was “Hunny Bunny #1” and so no packages were ever marked to “Hunny Bunny #2”).  I would sort and pile my gifts in a box and, when we had finished, I would take them to my room and set them where I could stare at them in the dark. They would stay in the box for days, maybe a week, shining up at me all new and special. I liked to horde them for a few days, to keep them new and bright and separate from my regular, everyday belongings. Christmas morning was the leisurely version of this and we’d take as long as possible to open our stockings, just to make them last to the very last toe of the very last stocking.

This Christmas Eve will be different than the ones I had as a little girl but that’s okay. It will be a day full of baking and singing and movie watching and snuggling and candle-lighting and praying and present-opening. It will mostly be just me and Kyle but I like that. Someday we’ll probably have babies and then the babies will grow up and be children and Christmases will be different. This year I am cherishing the peacefulness and sweetness and quietness. I have a growing feeling that this is a rare gift.

I hope whatever your celebration looks like, it’s wonderful and that it feeds your soul.

Merry Christmas Eve,

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas at Mirror Lake


Kyle and I have been busy crossing things off our Christmas bucket list and last night, we managed to sneak away with some hot chocolate and the camera to one of my favorite spots on the university campus, Mirror Lake. I love this place year-round but during the holidays, they light up the trees all around the water’s edge.  I’m so glad we did this. It was one of the things on the list that didn’t cost a thing and it was so peaceful and sweet to be just the two of us there in the dark and the cold. It will probably be my stand-out memory from this Christmas with Kyle.

Mirror4_zpse6bbac03 Mirror2_zps4abc8627 


As we head into the holiday, I hope you’re getting lots of quality time with the people you love.

love, love, love,


Friday, December 21, 2012

Madigan is a Snow Puppy

Whoever was dreaming of a white Christmas was obviously not inhabiting the two and a half feet directly above the ground. Seriously. Look at my fur. I was absolutely pristine this morning. Now I am wet and cold and angry. Is this fun for you?


Off to wipe my muddy snow-paws on Mom’s pillow,

The Madster

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seeking a blog for the end of the world

So if you're reading this, it means that the cell towers haven't gone down yet or that the internet hasn't developed consciousness and turned on us or the zombies haven't completely chewed through the power lines or you're just super dedicated to reading my blog and so you set aside a personal generator and wifi network for just such an occasion.

As I write this, I am sitting in our living room, staring at the Christmas tree. These may be our final hours on earth and, glibly, I think, well, at least I never have to finish paying off my student loans.


Less glibly, I wish that I spent more of my days with the urgency I (secretly) have been feeling today. If this is it, if tomorrow is it, if the next is it, if ten years from now is it, will I have loved to my heart's capacity? Will I have lived with generosity, with compassion, with the knowledge of the grace that has been extended to me by God, by my family, by my friends, by all of you? Will I have lived a life worthy of the years I am given? Will I have made a difference?

Tonight, I am thankful that I will (probably) get a chance to love people bigger, live longer, stretch farther, be kinder, be wiser, listen harder, pray more. But if I don't...

Mom and Dad, I love you. Thanks for teaching me and loving me and giving me life. I'll see you in heaven.

Madigan, you're the best, bravest, sweetest puppy a girl could ask for.

Kyle, you are my heart. I'm glad we're spending our last hours on earth together.


Night, guys.

love, elizabeth


Monday, December 17, 2012

Holding Things Loosely


Kyle and I have recently had to make the decision to move. We’re not leaving Columbus or anything but we do have to find another place to live when our lease is up in February. We’ve lived in this apartment for three years and, though we will miss our incredible maintenance staff and the great location, we’re ready for the new adventure.

As part of our move, we’ve decided to downsize from a two to one bedroom. Part of this is practical and financially motivated and part of this is about something that has been floating around my heart for awhile now. I find myself more and more in love with owning less, with making our life simpler, smaller. Some part of me feels like if I could make some room in my heart, the world might seem bigger, brighter, and even more full of possibility. I have often felt constrained by my things. So in the last few months, I have begun to give things away. And I am amazed at how different (differently?) I feel. It’s like a whole new kind of freedom that I didn’t even realize I was searching for.

The more I give, the more I want to give. The more I give, the less I want. The more I give, the more gifts I find to give. I am intrigued by the possibility that giving is not just better than receiving…giving might actually be receiving.

I’ve heard many people use the expression, “holding things with loose hands” but I think the quote can best be attributed to Holocaust survivor, Corrie Ten Boom. "Hold loosely to the things of this life,” she was often quoted as remarking, “so that if God requires them of you, it will be easy to let them go." I long for the ability to hold things loosely. It’s sort of scary to try and imagine what I might be asked to give up but it’s exciting, too.

I’m sure I’ll be writing about this again (and talking a lot more about house-hunting, too). If you have downsizing or house-hunting tips, please share!

love, elizabeth

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Let’s Talk About Happy Things

When things got too sad around the house growing up, my mom would break in with, “Let’s talk about something happy!” This used to drive me crazy, especially as a slightly morose, self-absorbed teenager. But with every year that passes, I get it a little more. The world is so full of sad things and the chances to dwell somewhere lighter, more peaceful, get rarer.

Here are a few happy things I’ve discovered recently. Click on one and take a smile break.

1. A newborn deer. I’m not sure there is anything sweeter or purer on the internet. Stay on this tumblr for a constant stream of good news updates. It’s pretty great.

2. This dog. I have seriously watched this video like 25 times in the last 2 days.

3. This song. “You got to hold on, hold on through the night. Hang on, hang on to the vine. Stay on, soon you’ll be divine. If you start to cry, look up to the sky, something’s coming up ahead to turn your tears to dew instead.”

4. “When your windshield wipers match the beat of the song you’re listening to” and other awesome things on this blog.


Has something on the internet made you smile recently? Share it below!

love, elizabeth

Friday, December 14, 2012

light in the darkness

I’m sure that in the next few days and weeks, we are going to be reminded often of the sadness and pain of today. The grief and tears that Kyle and I are experiencing tonight must be a very tiny, tiny shadow of what the parents and families of the victims and survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. Tonight I am heartbroken and it is difficult to think of Christmas in this context. I remembered tonight that the world Jesus was born into was dark like this one and frightening. He was born into oppression and poverty. There is this amazing image described in the book of Matthew of the Magi arriving in Bethlehem and seeing the star they’ve been following stop directly over the house where tiny Jesus has been waiting for them. Jesus was born into a dark and troubling world. He came as a helpless baby boy, a light, the light, in a dark, cruel place. And when Herod the king realizes the Magi are not going to return and disclose the baby’s location, he orders the murder of every male infant two years and younger. And Jesus’ parents get up in the middle of the night and flee to Egypt. I am not a mother yet and this is a kind of pain I cannot begin to fathom. The Gospel of Matthew echoes this pain: “Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.’” I can’t imagine the kind of terror and sorrow of parents that night, thousands of years ago, the terror Jesus’s mother must have been experiencing. I can’t imagine the terror and sorrow of parents tonight.

Tonight I am praying for comfort for families, for solace, for rest, for heavenly peace…because no earthly piece will do.

love, elizabeth

“Build magical gingerbread forest.” Check.

I gotta say that I am super proud that Kyle and I are actually doing stuff on our Christmas bucket list. I was really afraid I would totally fail at making a list of goals and then, you know, DOING THOSE THINGS (I mean, have you checked out my bucket list for this year? It’s not going so great.)

I was really taken by the December issue of Better Homes & Gardens (which I talk about on this blog so much, they should seriously start paying me). They had instructions for a gingerbread forest that were so inspiring that, despite my appalling baking skills, I actually went out and bought things like “meringue powder” and “molasses” and “eggs.” Okay, maybe I already had eggs. I took an absurd amount of pictures of this entire process from the mixing of ingredients to the rolling of dough and the baking and the cooling and the frosting. If you find this as fascinating as I did, you can check out my Instagram for a riveting play-by-play. You’re welcome, internet.


One of the best things about being married to Kyle (and there are a lot of best things) is his wonderful ability to play with me. He has zero qualms about becoming a kid again and that’s good news because he’s married to a super uptight crazy person who needs someone to balance her out.


This is obviously a very well-maintained magical gingerbread forest because they have licorice park benches where the Sour Patch Kids like to hang out and smoke gummy bears.


Or do magical licorice and snowcap mushrooms.


This is Francis. He is the love-child of Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He has a LOT of medical problems.



Behold, the forest. I have to point out that the cobblestone pathway is constructed entirely out of gum and gingerbread bricks with frosting grout. It was the most fun thing to make.


My magazine inspiration. I have no idea how they made their tree seams so un-seam-like. But I seriously love, love, love B&G. Love.


Are you a gingerbread-making type person? Have you made any this year?

love, elizabeth

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Music You Haven’t Heard

Or maybe you have. As previously discussed on this blog on multiple occasions…I really like to make playlists on Spotify. Thought you might enjoy some of my favorite music (some old, some new) while you’re decorating or baking or working or whatever it is you are doing this week.

Happy Holidays!


love, elizabeth

PS: Because it's Christmas and because I can, I decided to give 60 days of ad space to everyone who commented on the Free Ad Space post last week! YAY! Keep an eye out for an email from me in the next couple of weeks!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas around the house

My computer has another virus and so, until I can get it resolved (hopefully tomorrow), I thought I'd share a few pictures from around the house. It's been a slow-moving Christmas here and I guess I'm really okay with that.

I've loved the look of those big shiny ribbons wrapped around people's trees but since I didn't have any, I made paper chains out of recycled junk mail.

Kyle made that cozy little canopy over our bed with a metallic-colored shower curtain and some multi-colored lights. Isn't it sweet?

How are the decorations shaping up at your house?

love, elizabeth


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Five Best Christmas Movie Moments

Kyle and I have been having a Home Alone marathon this afternoon and it got me thinking about my favorite holiday movie moments…

1. Jamie proposes to Aurelia at the end of Love Actually.

2. Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel duet in Elf.

3. Virginia finally gets her answer from journalist Frank Church at the end of Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Clause.

4. When Kevin McAllister tricks the Plaza Hotel manager with the old gangster film recording in Home Alone 2.

5. George Bailey comes home to find Mary and the kids at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life.

What’s your favorite moment in a Christmas movie?

love, elizabeth

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Breakfast Tea

I got to spend this morning with one of my favorite people. I haven’t told her this but Chelsea is kinda my grad-school inspiration. She manages to be both totally accomplished as a scholar and dynamic as a teacher, but also fun and passionate and hilarious and she never makes you feel dumb for not knowing something. She just has this way of making the obscure and erudite completely cool and accessible. And I love her.

One of my bucket list items for 2012 was to visit at least five places featured in the book Breakfast with Nick, written by breakfast blogger, Nick Dekker, which is about all the amazing places to have breakfast in Columbus. So today we went to the Cambridge Tea House and it was just as lovely as I imagined it would be. The scones were perfect and the tea was just right. If you live in Columbus and haven’t been yet, I totally recommend it.


I also got to hear some of Chelsea’s dissertation research about 18th-century actresses that seriously had me on the edge of my seat. I will not be even a little shocked when all of this gets turned into an HBO mini-series.

Have you been anywhere new lately?

love, elizabeth

Friday, December 7, 2012

Free Ad Space



As part of my Christmas bucket list this year, I wanted to give something away. So with that in mind, I’d like to offer a free 60 days of medium-size ad space on the blog to two readers! All you need to do is comment on the post and tell me what you’re most excited about doing this holiday season. As part of this giveaway, I’ll be doing a spotlight post on each winner in January.

Two commenters will be chosen at random on Wednesday, the 12th.

love, elizabeth

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Treasure Hunt

The week of Thanksgiving, I got an invitation to do something I’ve dreamt about since I was a little girl. My friend Zoey lives in a very old neighborhood, near several recently leveled lots, and in the process of all of that digging and soil-turning, a lot of lost treasures began to surface. Zoey spotted a couple things – part of a tea cup, half a pocket watch, and other sundry bits of glass, pottery, and tile from decades (and more decades) ago. I was so interested to hear what she had found and when she invited me to come over and dig with her a little bit, I was thrilled. Zoey is one of those people who lives her life all the way to the edges of it, not interested in missing the weird, or the unusual, or the unexpected. She really inspires me to keep finding new things to love about Columbus and about life, in general.


Here are some snapshots from our hunt. Zoey totally has a knack for this kind of thing and she graciously shared some of her finds with me. I can’t even tell you how cool it was to dig in the dirt and uncover things that had been abandoned or thrown out or left behind years ago. (This is another reason I’m so excited to start my dissertation – I can spend hours poring through archives, touching history with my fingers. It’s crazy to me.)*


Some of my favorite finds: a handful of old bricks, some with writing on them, some pale green tiles, and five antique bottles. One of them is for Listerine (I think I can safely date it pre-1955 because the name of the original owner of the pharmaceutical company is on the glass, another one for Revlon (a company that has been around since the Depression), and at least one that looks like an old spice jar. A few of these things have found a permanent home in our living room and other things will probably be used for a mosaic project I’m hoping to start.

*DISCLAIMER: If you’re going to do any kind of treasure-hunting or digging like that, please know I am not advocating trespassing, theft, vandalism, or anything that might be dangerous to you or to property. If you are planning to do something like this, I encourage you to take someone else with you, go during daylight hours, to be careful not to harm any equipment or property, and to be mindful of any legalities specific to your circumstance. Safety is more important than any THING.

Are you a treasure hunter? A history buff? Have you done any projects with found objects?

love, elizabeth

PS: I have a Christmas present for you guys coming tomorrow…so check back tomorrow morning…

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