Elizabeth Enlightened Reboot...

I am rising out of the ashes, casting off the chains of complacency.  OK, that was a bit dramatic.

I have decided to reboot my site.  Since it is so popular in the movie industry I figured why can't I do it too?  So stay tuned as I make my blogging comeback.  My new focus is on living life instead of surviving it and what we all can do to achieve this.  There will be lots of random commentary on life, love, family, parenting, friendship, career, and everything in between!

Dreams Redefined

When I was younger, say 14 years old, I always dreamed of being the career woman in a big city with a corner office and ridiculously important title that went with it. I would have the six-figure salary, a name brand wardrobe that advertised my sense of style, a loft apartment with an airy floor plan and modern furnishings. At the time I thought this was the definition of having it all. This is what all people should strive for, right?

As I got older that dream changed. Instead of graduating from college in four years it took me nine making me 27 when I graduated. By then I had met a man and fallen in love, I had a good job and made a decent salary. Shortly after graduation I got married, bought a house, and had two children. Don’t think that these events held me back from my dream because you would be sadly mistaken.

What I realized in my journey is that it is not the things that you accumulate in your life that define who you are, but what you have to show for it. Even though I have a great job and a nice salary, my career is a very small part of who I am. For me, having a loving husband, good kids, a great home, and a happy life is more important then a fancy title and a corner office in a big city. Everyone is different and sees life in a unique way, and the world would be a boring place if we didn’t. When I think about that childhood dream I see that the things I thought would make me happy seem shallow in comparison to what I have now.

So my question is, what good is working hard for material things or a career if you have no one to share your life with?

Helping Hands

My girls love to help out with everything. They pull chairs up to the counter when any meal is being made so they can feel like they are a part of the process. About the only thing they don’t try to help with is vacuuming which actually causes them to run away screaming.

When the “I makin/helpin” mantra first started in our household, I admit that I found it more annoying then useful. Everything took longer to do because their “helping” created more of a mess then when we started. Now I view it differently. I began to notice that the simplest task, like throwing dishes in the sink at the end of breakfast, gave a huge sense of accomplishment. Even my little one can throw stuff in the trash, pick up her toys, or bring things to momma. They beam with pride when I tell them Thank You and what a big girl they are.

So here are the lessons I have learned from my children:

  1. I need to slow down and appreciate the process. I get so caught up in daily routine and am used to doing things myself that I don’t even realize I am on autopilot. Now I view it as teaching them how something is done and the fact that they want to learn is just a bonus.
  2. I don’t have to do everything myself. Take this with a grain of salt. They are both under the age of 4 but they can help with more then what you think. Simple things like finding shoes so we can get out the door, picking up toys, helping make beds, throwing diapers in the trash, handing me groceries to put away are all things they love and is one less thing I have to do.
  3. It teaches them responsibility. Everyone likes to feel useful, even children. If I can teach them early on to do things for themselves I am hoping it will foster their independence. I could be wrong though.
What have you learned from your children helping you?

Friday Feature: Waiting for Superman

Education is something that is extremely important to me. It was ingrained in me as a kid and I have carried that with me all my life. Now that I have children of my own I am even more conscious of the quality of education that they will receive when they enter the school system.

That is why Waiting for Superman is this Friday’s feature. It follows a handful of students through their school that does little to help them get to the academic achievement they deserve.

I think the trailer speaks for itself, so watch it here.

I believe everyone would benefit from seeing this movie regardless of if you are an educator or a parent.  What does this movie say to you?

Picture Perfect Home

I am an avid magazine purveyor. I love them. I love the articles, the pictures, fascinating people and places that grace each page. I also read my daily horoscope. I don’t live and die by it, but I like to read it everyday just to see if at the end of the day I can say, “Oh, now I see what it was saying.” I have a point, I promise.

The other day my horoscope said something about not comparing myself to the images in magazines because those pictures are staged, airbrushed, and held to almost impossible standards. To be flawed is to be a living, breathing person….or something to that effect. So it got me thinking. This same insight could be held to the home magazines that I like to daydream over. The pictures are always pristine.  Everything is always in place with matching colors schemes and flawlessly decorated. I would love it if all my rooms looked that way, but then who wouldn’t, right?

I recently received my copy of Do It Yourself magazine, and while flipping through the pages, that old feeling of “I wish my living room looked that way” began to wash over me. Then I came to a pretty profound realization: My living room will never look that way (at least in the foreseeable future).

Here is why. See this picture:

There are about a billion reasons why it will never look this way on a daily basis but I will narrow it down five:
  1.  I have little kids.  That's right, all of you out there who have kids are probably picking up on the same things I am in this picture.  My kids + light furniture + white rug = disaster.  I try to be conscious of where my kids set down their drink cups but inevitably one gets past me and it results in juice stains.
  2. Accessible shelves.  Again, kids will see this as an open invitation to explore the contents of everyone of those baskets to see what they can find. 
  3. We have toys....lots of them.  We have separated the toys and make an effort to have our kids pick up what they are playing with before they get out something new.  However, when you have had a long day and everyone is crabby, sometimes it is just easier to leave them out and walk around them.  I know, please try not to judge.
  4. I have stuff.  We have clutter in the house which admittedly most of it is mine.  I try my hardest to operate under the "everything has a place rule" but it doesn't always work.
  5. No matter what I do it just never stays that way.  About the only time my living room remotely looks similar to this is after I have cleaned because I am getting ready for a holiday/birthday/get together.  You know what I'm talking about. 
Someday, when the kids are older, my rooms will look this way.  Until then, I will continue to daydream and remind myself that I am only human and my space isn't a picture, it's home.

When Life has Other Plans...

....you rearrange your time the best you can.  This week's Friday Feature will have to be postponed due to time constraints.  My deepest apologies and I will come up with something ultra fabulous for next week!

Lessons in writing 2...

Here is another lesson that I took in my writing course.  The class was given several partial statements and we were to choose one and write somethign that would hook the reader.  I chose "According to the oldtimers....".  As you can see the writing prompt could take you in just about any direction that you wanted.  This is what I came up with:


You will never forget the day you die. That is what I had always been told anyway. According to the old timers we would have many deaths to look forward to, or forget about depending on how you looked at it. I have come to believe it is a little bit of both. Sinking now to the bottom of this murky lake it was definitely the latter of the two.

“Are you ready?” I heard faintly echoing in my mind.

“Nearly,” I thought back.

I wanted to take it all in, the confines of the darkness, the weight of the water, the unbearable panic that besieged my body. I looked at the small pinpoint of light that could vaguely be seen high above me. My chest was on the verge of exploding.

“I’m ready,” I cried silently water rushing into my lungs.

I felt myself dragged from the darkness and I gasped for air sitting upright on the table. The light in the stark white room was almost too bright but it was always that way when you returned.

“That was a close one Keira,” she said pulling the IV from my arm.

“They always are,” I replied.

What Does Change Mean to You?

About 6 months ago I took an online writing class because I needed to poke the writing bug who has been hibernating for way too long.  This class centered around tools every writer needs as well as getting over the fear setting your work loose for public consumption.  Getting over the fear is what I am struggling with the most at this particular juncture.  So, in and effort to get things rolling I decided to publish some of the exercises that I completed in class for everyone to read.

In this first exercise we were asked to pick a word and write about what that word meant to us personally.  I picked change.  Here is what I came up with:

Change inevitably happens in everyone’s life. It happens to some people more than others, yet is always available for those who actively seek it. Change can take the form of a residence, employment, relationship, friendship, health; the list is endless. I have seen significant changes in my life. At times I am overwhelmed and left reeling in its wake. This simple word evokes two responses: fear and exhilaration. Change is scary for anyone. There is fear of not knowing what to expect, moving in a new direction, that it will cause failure or heartache. But at the same time change can be exhilarating. It is the mark of a new beginning, a fresh perspective, and a clean slate. Change is the sign that you are breaking a mold, broadening your horizons, or shaking up a routine. For a while now I have been on the precipice of a pretty important change in my life. I have physically craved it although I am not sure what it is. Now I have a choice: do I let fear hold me back from making a change or do I ride the winds of exhilaration and let it carry me forward?

That is what change means to me, what does it mean to you?

Mother's Day...

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and for me it was a weekend celebration. Festivities included shopping, lunch, my husband’s incredible french toast, sleeping in, watching movies, snuggling, singing, and much, much more. It was a time of family togetherness, sharing love, and celebrating each other. I had a chance to see my family with fresh eyes and this is what I saw:

Brandon, my husband is an incredible father, and my soul mate. He knows the simple things that make all of us happy without even asking. We work together seamlessly to provide a healthy and happy life for our girls. He makes me happy every day and I am thankful we found each other.

Bella is my beautiful, energetic, and independent toddler. She teeters between doing everything on her own and wanting mom to do it for her. She loves her movies, Mo, and bossing her little sister around. She enjoys snuggle time, just the two of us, watching a movie, reading books, or playing games. She is brilliant, creative, and kind. At the tender age of 3 she is already making me very proud.

Maya is my adorable sweet baby girl. She is often in her own little world, singing, playing, oblivious to what is going on around her. She has a fire in her, defiant, and brave. She wants everything done on her terms and lets everybody know if it isn’t. She is serious, contemplative, and curious. It hardly seems possible she is already 1 ½ years old.

This is my family, the people who make it all worth while.  My celebration of being a mother means nothing without them. 

Feature Friday: Jennifer Lynn Jewelry

What do you get when you mix gemstones with inspired creativity? Truly spectacular jewelry and that is exactly what you will find at Jennifer Lynn Jewelry on Etsy. I ran across Jennifer’s store at the beginning of the year when I was searching for a necklace to showcase my femininity. Instantly I was drawn to her collection of bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. Although it was a tough decision, I ultimately ended up purchasing Pool….Aqua Chalcedony and Sterling Silver pendant.

It’s perfect size, shape, and color reminds me of the smooth glass I used to find on the beach as a kid. It personifies cool water on a hot summer day which is why I connected to it. The subtle glow gives it life and a sense of energy. I wear it almost every day and have received numerous compliments from people.

So who is Jennifer Lynn Jewelry? Jennifer is a Minnesotan whose love of jewelry manifested at an early age. The first pieces she ever sold were seed bead daisy chains and woven bracelets. Look how far she has come. Jennifer has a knack of interpreting what each gemstone she works with is destined to be. The pictures alone speak to the nature of each piece and the superior craftsmanship that goes into it.

Recently I had the pleasure of asking Jennifer about her craft and here is what she had to say:

Me: What inspires the designs that you come up with?                  

Jennifer: Inspiration, for me, comes from anywhere and everywhere: flowers, nature, the stones themselves, a picture, and colors. Sometimes, just the color of a stone will invoke a feeling or a memory and I just have to make something with that stone right then and there.

Me: What do you like most about designing jewelry? What is most challenging?                      

Jennifer: I find creating jewelry very therapeutic. It is my 'me' time. I can get lost in my bead laboratory (as my husband calls it) for hours and block everything else out. Personally, the best part of designing/selling is knowing that someone across town, the state, or the globe is enjoying a piece of jewelry I made with my own two hands. The most challenging would have to be pictures!

Me: Do you have plans to turn your hobby into a career?                              

Jennifer: I would love to turn my hobby into a career. I love the idea of being my own boss, setting my own hours, and being an entrepreneur. But, for now, I am happy with it just being a hobby. A hobby that has earned me a few bucks, made me some lifelong friendships, and ultimately makes me happy!

Thank you, Jennifer, for taking the time to visit with us, sharing your work, and adorning women with beauty and style. I encourage you to swing by Jennifer Lynn Jewelry to find something that speaks to you.

Feature Fridays!

I have decided that consistency is king and in the spirit of my new mantra I am implementing Feature Friday for my blog.  Think of Oprah's Favorite Things Elizabeth style.  I am perfecting the first installment and should have it out for you soon.  Stay tuned!


Technorati is the search engine for blogs.  It allows people to search for individual blogs and posts.  Pretty cool, huh?  I am in the process of getting set up so throngs of people will flock to my blog.  Alright, well at least to make it easier for people to find it.  Please bear with me as I get verified with this fancy little code MZSYDMM8W5FK  .

Building a dream...

How many times have you heard people say, “Someday I would like to ____________” or “I wish I could ____________”, and even “I have always dreamed of _____________”.  I hear it all the time and perhaps I am more in tune to hearing it because I have always been one of “those people”.

I watch a lot of movies with my kids and they all carry a message of go after your dreams, don’t let anyone say you can’t do something, and dreams really do come true. Why is it this message gets lost when you become an adult? Recently I asked a friend where they saw themselves in the next 2 to 3 years and the answer was “ I really don’t know”. It got me thinking, can I answer that question? I have said before how it is easy to get into a routine and the “I will get to it someday” ideas fall to the wayside. I don’t want my someday to be when my kids are grown and I finally feel like I have time for myself.

So my someday starts today…. well, actually about 2 weeks ago. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but the spirit has never led me down a defined path. I have always wanted to have a voice but didn’t feel anything I had to say was important enough. Now that I am reflecting on my own wants and dreams, I come back to these same two things over and over again. That would be why this blog was born, because even though what I have to say might not be important to everyone, it could make an impact on someone. I also am working on some toys and accessories for children because I like to make things and my kids are great guinea pigs. Is this the start of my dream? I think it is, and if baby steps it what it takes to get there then I am definitely on my way.


I am a big fan of all things homemade. I love to cook fantastic meals from scratch, I love to craft, and I love finding people who are making new and innovative products by hand. This is why I am an Etsy junkie. I visit this site daily, multiple times, probably more then I should be. I am blown away by the thousands of incredibly talented people that are out there doing what they love and sharing it with the rest of us.

If you are not familiar with Etsy, think Ebay for homemade goods, vintage items, and crafting supplies. This is a community of artists, crafters, stay-at-home moms, and people from just about every walk of life. They make jewelry, clothing, soap, accessories, homegoods, art, and just about every other fun thing you can imagine.

I personally have purchased many supplies and a couple of items as well.  I have always been pleased with the friendly atmosphere, quick shipping, and overall way transactions are handled so smoothly.  Sometime soon I will have my own store up and running, but that is a conversation for another post.  In the coming weeks I am hoping to feature some sellers so you can get to know them and the products they have to offer.  So, if you have some time and feel like shopping, hop on over to Etsy and see the multitude of treasures that are waiting for you.

Today's Lessons...

I believe that I learn a lesson everyday. It might not always be profound or life changing, but it is a lesson none-the-less. Today I feel I have learned several:

  1. I am a good listener. I have many people who are comfortable talking to me not only because I listen, but because I can help them see the different sides of their given situation. I am not tooting my own horn by any means, but it makes me feel good that I can do this for others.
  2. My 3 year old is smart as a whip. You hear how children are sponges and they emulate what you do? My daughter is a shining example of this times 100. It makes me realize that I need to be more conscious of what she is absorbing from me.
  3. I am capable of handling more then I think I can. This has been an on-going lesson for me. I admit this isn’t always an easy one to take, in fact there have been several times it was down right soul crushing. Today however it was a refreshing realization that things are never as bad as they seem.
Not bad for one day, right? No two days are ever exactly the same and it makes me anxious to see what tomorrow is going to bring.


Making time...

On any given day I have a list of projects running through my head that I would like to accomplish. Writing stories, working on blog entries, craft projects, and reading are just a few of them. Coming up with the ideas is the easy part, finding the time to work on them can be challenging.

My daily routine consists of getting the girls up, eating breakfast, going downstairs to work, coming back up for lunch with the family, and then trying to work until 5:00 while the girls nap. Then it is playing with kids, making dinner, baths, some cleaning (if I can manage it), more playing, and putting the girls to bed. If I’m lucky this all gets done by 9:00 pm. By this time I am tired, feel guilty because I should exercise when I really want to watch reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, and figure by the time I get into doing anything I want to it will be time for me to go to sleep. See the rut?

So I am making some minor changes in the routine to make time for the things I want to do. Here is a small list I came up with that should make my life easier and give me some breathing room:

  1. Taking breaks during work hours.  I can’t really do anything about work since it is a fact of life. However, I am taking designated, guilt free breaks to read personal emails, blogs, catch up on the ever growing piles of magazines, or something to have a little time for myself.
  2. Exercising as soon as I am done with work. This might sound difficult with a 3 and 1 ½ year old running around but that is why gates were invented and I happen to have one that fits nicely around our treadmill.
  3. Multitasking. While I am fixing dinner I start a load of dishes to soak and do them as I go. It saves time with less scrubbing. This same concept works for bathrooms. While the girls are romping in the tub I keep an eye on them while I scrub down everything else.
  4. Cleaning one room a day. I figure by picking one room of the house a day to focus on, the whole cleaning process will be less overwhelming. I will let you know how that works.
  5. Breaking projects into chunks.  I know I will never write a novel in a night or finish a craft project from beginning to end in the couple of hours of free time I have. So I am seeing how I can make an idea manageable by working on them in pieces. Seeing a little progress at the end of the night is better then continuing to dream about ideas that never come to fruition.
So this is where I am. Is this a fool proof formula? Probably not, but any plan is open for tweaks along the way. That is the only way to make it better, right?


Welcome to Elizabeth Enlightened! I am a working mother of two beautiful crazy little girls who show me everyday how the littlest things matter. Life is constantly teaching me to expect the unexpected, and that is what keeps it interesting. I have many people ask me how I manage to do everything (work full time, take care of kids, keep a household, etc) in any given day, well this is where you will learn how it is done or not done depending on how I feel. I will share tips that work for me, review products that make my life easier, and anything else that escapes from my head. Hopefully you find what I have to say interesting, identifiable, helpful, or at the very least comical….if not, thanks for stopping by anyway!