Monday, January 18, 2016


I try not to get too serious on here (because who wants to read about finances and doctor appointments when you just want to scroll through recipes and hat photos?), but there are times when I must put aside my own discomfort and try wearing a different hat.  So, meet PSA Eliza. 

This is a Public Service Announcement aimed at people with a uterus.  Sit down, have a cup of tea, and get your pencil ready.  It's story time.


Ten years ago, a young and newly pubescent me went to the gynecologist complaining of heavy periods, spotting, excruciating cramps, severe abdominal pain, and occasional nausea.  An ultrasound found a small lump, which was diagnosed as an ovarian cyst – not harmful, and likely to go away on its own.  It was recommended that I go on birth control pills to regulate my periods and help with the severe cramps, but given my age and the harsh side effects of the options available to me, I decided to treat them as naturally as I could.  For the ten years that followed the diagnosis, my periods became almost annoyingly reliable (“Can we switch it Wednesday?  My period is going to start at 3:15 on Thursday."), but the cramps were still excruciating.  There were times when getting out of bed was out of the question, and I was in so much pain that I would throw up.  Going to work, going to class, and having a social life proved difficult.  Like a broken record, the phrase “every period is different and everyone has a different threshold for pain” had been circulating my head for years, slowly brainwashing me into believing that I was weak.  I could see the weakness scale in my mind.  There it was, me on one end, lying on the bathroom floor and unable to move, and a marathon runner on the other end, pushing through the pain like an Olympian.

This image kept me thinking that the problem was in my head, not in my uterus.  And that’s a dangerous way to think.  But it all changed when I saw a post on Instagram by Mab Graves.  She bravely talked about her experiences with endometriosis – a big, scary word that I had heard once or twice before but had not paid any attention to.  One Mayo Clinic search later, and all those frozen layers of self-deprecating thoughts began to thaw.  Lower back pain?  Check.  Severe cramping?  Check.  Heavy periods?  Check.  Sharp abdominal pain?  Check, check, check, check, check.

To save you time, here is a portion of the Mayo Clinic's article on endometriosis, though I highly suggest reading the whole thing: 

Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus (endometrial implant). Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, bowel or the tissue lining your pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond your pelvic region.
In endometriosis, displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may form. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions — abnormal tissue that binds organs together.

Immediately after reading the above section, I thought of my experience ten years ago.  Was it a cyst?  Or was it endometriosis?  I was flooded with panic.  What if I have to have surgery?  What if I’ve had endometriosis for ten years and it’s done serious damage?  What if I can’t have kids?  Those are scary questions, but ones that need to be addressed rather than ignored.

I’m now embarking on what may prove to be a long and scary road.  I have a primary doctor appointment under my belt, a referral to the best gynecologist in town, and an ultrasound appointment slip in my wallet.  Wherever this road leads, I know I have options, and people who will walk beside me.

Thanks to Ms. Graves, I realized it was time I took my body seriously.  Our bodies know what we need, whether or not our brains choose to listen.

So, if you’ve been chocking your symptoms up to a weakness in character, or have spent way too many days crying from the pain, THIS IS YOUR SIGN FROM THE UNIVERSE.  Get it checked.  Your doctor won’t laugh at you, the people who love you will support you, and your body will thank you.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

a day at the museum

I find it fitting that my first post of this new year is all about my first trip to the Tallahassee Museum of 2016.  If you've never been to the museum, take this as an omen/sign from the universe/kick in the ass/etc, etc, that it's time to visit.  Now that we've cleared up what you're going to do on your next day off, let me tell you a little bit about the Tallahassee Museum.

Built partly in the swamp, ancient cypress trees jut out of the water with a blanket of Spanish moss dripping from every branch.  Beautiful winding trails take you through the sandy Florida wilderness, past a plantation house, school house, historic church, inactive sinkhole, and a fully functioning farm.


Part living history museum, part wild animal sanctuary, and absolute heaven for the children of North Florida. 


It's safe to say that I spent most of my childhood at the museum, either running around the playground and playing in the sink hole, or volunteering with the mom and sister at the farm house.  Most of my early memories are planting onions in the museum's garden, collecting acorns, visiting the owls, the panthers, and the otters, standing by the wood burning stove in the winter, and collecting cold water from the pump in the summertime.




Thank you for the memories, Tallahassee Museum.  I know we'll make lots more.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

~ holiday cheer ~

The leaves have fallen.  The cookies are baked.  The wrapping paper is down from the attic.

The Holidays are here.


And with the Holidays come holiday parties, holiday music on the record player, and a sudden desire to not wear what I slept in.  The fake eyelashes come out of their box, stockings out of their drawer, hair is put into pin curls, nailed are painted, and festive clothing rescued from the back of the closet.

 Perhaps it's the Publix commercials that never fail to bring me to tears, or seeing wreaths hung on doors, or stockings over fireplaces, but the holiday season seems especially merry this year.

2015 has done its best to knock me down - and it's going out with a bang - but despite the painful things in this world, the holiday season still comes around, presents are still given, and love is still shared.  There may be days when it's hard to get out of bed, and hard to face the things one must face, but these moments of happiness (however fleeting) make life worth while.
So, Happy Holidays.  Hold your loved-ones close, appreciate what you have, and eat lots of cookie dough.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

~ mid century modern ~

Growing up, I had a plan for everything.  My college life, my career, my wedding, my children, and every birthday party up until I was 35.  Knowing this, it will be no surprise that I also had a collection of house plans, loosely drawn with a ballpoint pen on notebook paper, with double lines indicating doors and windows, and x's indicting a mix of exotic trees and shrubbery.  Although I used pink more liberally than I would now and never seemed to have enough space for a washer and dryer, my house plans really haven't changed that much.


Sleek lines, cool hues, eye-catching details, contrasting textures.  If it's teak, I'm sold.

Join me for a tour of my dream house!
The Villanova - Main Line Homes: More Living For The 1960s by MidCentArc, via Flickr:  

Living room.

Mid century modern living room:  

Viko Furniture 1963:

1958:       :

Bassett Furniture MID CENTURY MODERN 1963 Magazine Ad:        :

 Vintage Furniture Ads of the 1950s . Heritage Design Furniture (1958):      Furniture ads from the 1950s:



 New Beauty for Basements and Basementless Houses with Armstrong Floors by Armstrong Cork Co, 1956.:

 Two Vintage Heywood Wakefield furniture print ads by Vividiom, $8.00:

Bedroom (1956)  Furniture ad:


 Bedroom (1953)  Cannon ad:


 What Belongs in a Beautiful Kitchen? YOU and Steel! Design: John and Earline Brice Jones & Laughlin Steel (1955):

 mcm kitchen:      1950s Kitchens. Repinned by Secret Design Studio, Melbourne.

1950s kitchens | 1950s Kitchen that's Pink:

 1950s steel kitchen:


Pendant lighting was used in homes in the 1950s and into the very early 1960s before fading out of style.  Pendant lighting would reappear in the 2000s.  Here are three national advertisements from 1960.:

 12 year old me would be pleased as punch if my dream home also came with my dream husband, Zac, and my dream children, Lucy and Frankie.

Now?  Forget the kids and the husband...I'll just take the house.

Spring Planting in Suburbia


Sunday, November 15, 2015

~ sur la plage ~

November in Florida is like playing the weather lottery machine.  Take, for example, last November the 15th - it was COLD, with highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s.  This November is having none of that. Today was 70 degrees, a few days ago I wore shorts, and a few days before that we had the AC on.  But despite the unreliable temperature, there is something you can always rely on.  It will always be breathtakingly beautiful.

After a good lunch, a breezy walk on the beach, and a tour of the Crooked River Lighthouse, we got back home in time for dinner.  A perfect day.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

~ the good, the bad, and the grey areas ~

In a world of YouTube comments and online dating, a lack of transparency is almost a given.  Photoshop can fix blemishes, affairs can be hidden, and 55 year old men in Indiana can pose as 23 year old women in online chat rooms.  So how can someone maintain a balance between sharing their personal experiences and keeping their doors shut and bolted?  How can one manage a personal crisis in the Digital Age?

 Illustration from Mode-Maker Metal Business Furniture catalog, circa 1960.:

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.  Smalltalk is expected, but oversharing is met with disapproval and links to articles about people whose houses were burgled and citizens who lost their retirement funds from sharing too much personal information online.  Weddings, babies, homemade pizza for dinner?  Fine.  Divorce, mental health, financial instability?  Discuss those struggles and you've started down the slippery slope to becoming "that person."

We're all guilty of of selective posting.  We share the good and hide the bad - it's natural human behavior.  But what do you do when life has dealt you a particularly difficult hand and you're struggling to conjure up the optimism you're usually bubbling over with?  What do you do when getting out of bed was your only accomplishment for the day?  What do you do when sides have been taken and weapons have been drawn?  How do you survive?  Cat videos and political satire seem inappropriate, daily accounts of your depression seem even more inappropriate, and digital silence is not ideal.  

Life has its ups and downs, so why doesn't social media?  The good things are celebrated, but the bad things are ignored.  But does it really have to be this way?  Can't we have a healthy variety?

I like to think that it doesn't have to be this way and we can have a healthy variety of high points and low points.  Social slickness is not only untrue but unrealistic.  Low points in one's life should not have to equal silence on social media in order to meet society's strict standards for constant perfection.  Don't the majority of problems in relationships, both digital and in person, stem from a lack of communication?  We cannot be free to be truthful about our happiness if we cannot also be free to be truthful about our sorrow.

So I'm done holding myself back.  I'm done with the voices in the back of my head that tell me "people don't want to hear about that."  Do we post what we post because we think other people want to hear it or because we want to say it?


Friday, September 25, 2015

~ fire and ice ~

As anyone who knows me well (or has seen the inside of my bathroom cabinet) will tell you, I have a bit of an obsession with  lipstick.  This would also be apparent if you took a peek inside of my purse, inside of my car, or inside of my bedroom.  I don't pretend to have a grasp on this obsession, and I frequently tell myself "it's not a problem unless you dream about Revlon," but let's call a spade a spade: I know my lipstick.

Coralberry, cherries in the snow, siren, etc., etc., so on and so forth.  Reds, pinks, oranges, orangey-reds, reddish-oranges, orangey-pinks, pinkish-oranges.  Each is totally different, and yes, totally necessary.  But my most-used and most-loved is Revlon's Fire and Ice.

The name really says it all - a name created by Bea Castle and Kay Daly.  A passionate, bright red shade with just a hint of orange.  Creamy and comfortable, and perfect for a night out or a quick trip to the grocery store. 
I lucked out a few years ago and managed to buy this shade in the sleek tube (a limited edition), seen above.  I've been hooked every since. 

The history of Fire and Ice is just as deep as the shade.  Two years before the introduction of Fire and Ice, Revlon introduced Where's the Fire to the public.  This shade was popular in its own right, but never reached the heights that Fire and Ice did.  Following its release in 1952 with the two page spread featuring Dorian Leigh seen above, Revlon saw 9,000 window displays dedicated to their newest shade, nationwide Fire and Ice beauty contests, and countless mentions in radio shows, television shows, and in the press.  American women were finally being given a shade of lipstick that wasn't submissive, tame, or easily ignorable.  The Fire and Ice woman was bold, elegant, glamorous, and not the least bit afraid of color.  As one ad stated "What is the American girl made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice? Not since the days of the Gibson Girl! There's a new American beauty . . . she's tease and temptress, siren and gamin, dynamic and demure. Men find her slightly, delightfully baffling. Sometimes a little maddening. Yet they admit she's easily the most exciting woman in the world! She's the 1952 American beauty, with a foolproof formula for melting a male! She's the 'Fire and Ice' girl. (Are You?)"

In a time when all eyes were on European beauty and fashion, Revlon wanted a shade that showed the world that American women had the same amount of sex-appeal and passion as the French and the Italian.  If a woman had any doubt about choosing such a daring shade, Revlon's quiz could help them decide.

Have you ever danced with your shoes off?
Did you ever wish on a new moon?
Do you blush when you find yourself flirting?
When a recipe calls for one dash of bitters, do you think it's better with two?

Do you secretly hope the next man you meet will be a psychiatrist?
Do you sometimes feel that other women resent you?
Have you ever wanted to wear an ankle bracelet?
Do sables excite you, even on other women?
Do you love to look up at a man?
Do you face crowded parties with panic -- then wind up having a wonderful time?
Does gypsy music make you sad?
Do you think any man really understands you?Would you streak your hair with platinum without consulting your husband?
If tourist flights were running, would you take a trip to Mars?
Do you close your eyes when you're kissed?

So, how do you fare?