I love Halloween. And ever since I was little, I have chosen to dress up as women and characters I admire. I have 3 Halloween parties to go to this year, and I'm going as Audrey Hepburns' Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Most dress up as her in the opening scene, peering into Tiffany's with a scone in her hand. Always trying to be original, I opted for her apartment scene, right before she meets her love interest Paul "Fred" Varkjak (George Peppard).
Donning her Tiffany's blue sleep mask and trying to sleep off the party she threw the night before, Paul buzzes her apartment in attempts to get to his new place in the building. Her orange cat named Cat paws at her to awake, and finally she arises and dresses in the closest thing she can reach for: a men's formal white button down. Holly meets Paul at her door, slowly realizing her purple fringe ear plugs are in her ears as he asks her four times if he could use her phone. The phone is then found her suitcase as she tells him, "I'm crazy about Tiffany's."
I did a cute little shoot with Naomi Lynn Photography in my own apartment to capture this year's costume. All the details for my costume are below for you to either pull together last minute or plan for next year! It was SO easy for me and so much fun to collect these iconic pieces. (THB: I've been using the sleep mask every night since I got it in the mail.) Have a happy Halloween, friends! Xo
Holly Golightly Sleep Mask - SvetlanaCO's Etsy shop
Holly Golightly Ear Plugs - TarnishedPast's Etsy shop
Men's White Button Down, L - H&M
(I also wore some white denim shorts under mine, just to be safe. (; )
A year ago today, I met a 3 pound, red-head King Charles, Toy Poodle puppy, and we became instant best friends.
Regarding her warm waves, energetic personality, and sassy charm, I named her Ember.
I have an affinity for light and fire references and analogies. Fire comes to shed light, giving vision and perspective; it brings warmth, a rescue from the cold; and it purifies, a processing that leaves only what is of worth.
Ember became a part of my family during a particularly confusing, dark time of my life, a time of figuring out who I was, what I believed, and what I wanted. Having a myriad of questions yet to be answered can fabricate a foggy, lonely life. But I was determined NOT to live a foggy, lonely life. So I got a roommate, started my physical fitness certification, went to counseling, and got a puppy. (These are all the things they tell you to do while depressed. The only thing on the list "they" suggest that I chose to avoid was eating healthy. I really like french fries.)
According to this article from The Atlantic -- I know, I know, not the best source; but it was between reading this or an extensive essay from the CDC (you would have chosen this one, too) -- psychologists at Miami University and St. Louis University say, "'[the] emotional benefits pet owners receive from animal companions could be the equal of a human friendship." During studies, they found that people with pets tested healthier in areas such as loneliness, self-esteem, depression, and illness.
More than just an entertaining companion, my love for Ember courses so deeply throughout me because her presence made a time in my life that had a high probability of being threateningly dark so much lighter and easier to navigate.
This girl has moved into my first apartment with me...
She has road tripped all over central Florida with me... (She still tries to sit with me like this and then gets incredibly vexed when she doesn't fit.)
And she has cuddled up to me every single night. Her favorite places include, but are not limited to, in the angle of my bent knees, on my butt, or on my neck. We are both very lucky she is a cuddly dog. Otherwise, I would be very disappointed and our relationship, very strenuous.
Choosing her, and everything that comes with her, has been my most favorite life choice. For one whole year, this chick has been my sidekick. And in light of this, I am so jazzed that I wrote a whole freaking blog post about it.
(But can we just take a moment to celebrate me for keeping another living thing alive this long? Hello.)
This probably my favorite piece I've made. I really wanted to make a design for this month with paint and paper, off the computer. So I took a couple of hours to splash around with water + color, and it felt so good do create something without pixels. I have the original decorating my apartment + it brings me so much simple happiness.
The idea behind the piece is that the process of darkness fading to light is not linear; the process of bad fading into good is not had with steps solely forward. It is not a pattern, not a formula; the how is not promised. The only given is that it will happen + that process brings us to wholeness.
I have it on 3 FREE iPhone wallpapers + a FREE desktop wallpaper! Download them right here.
On top of that, I have this uploaded to my little store, so you can buy it printed on happy things to sprinkle around your day-to-day. You can find everything from prints, mugs, totes and cases (everything seen here + so much more!). I already ordered a travel mug + I keep reloading the tracking shipping info in anticipation.
Thank you guys so much for loving fun, pretty things as much as I do. Happy May! Xx
Everyone has a story that they would feel uncomfortable publicly writing about.
It’s uncomfortable, but I’m going to do it any way. Not because I'm under an illusion that people care more than they do, but because I only know a few things to be 100% truth. One of those truths? It’s important to share stories. The world needs less people who say, “It’s going to work out! You’ll be okay!” and more people who will settle into your pain with you and honestly, authentically say, “I have been in this ugly, ugly thing, stood where you are standing, and now I’m somehow on the other side. And that is how I know you will, too.”
I used to be so scared of the word single. I was scared because I had yet to realize this: You’re single. I'm single. Everyone is single. Maybe you’re married or dating, and you think you’re not single, but you are. Sure, you can feasibly plan a future with someone. And when the Chinese food delivery guy comes to the door, you don’t have to yell “Hey guys, get out the plates!” to an empty room so Delivery Guy won’t realize you’re sitting alone in your old band shirt, with no pants on and very, very hairy legs watching your favorite movie again. Again.
We are each individual human beings. Whole beings. Galaxies. Entireties within ourselves. It’s really not romantic. Not when the media pushes obsession as love and when Christians push the “becoming one” idea. But now, having been single, I am so thankful for it.
Not because I can flirt with whomever I want, hang out with my girlfriends whenever I want, or wear/think/do whatever I want without the input of another. I mean, I can do those things and I like those things, but those things don’t make a relationship-girl happy to be alone. (So, if you have a friend who is going through a break up, please, don’t use those as reasons for her/him to be happy about it.)
I am so thoroughly pleased with being single because I have lived through, experienced, embodied this truth:
With divine presence inside of me, I have the ability within myself to heal, regenerate, and renew myself when I’m wounded or anxious or scared. I have the ability to make my ambitions reality. I have the ability to determine what I need in any moment and give it to myself, especially when there’s no one else around to do so.
You have this ability, too.
You and I, we don’t need another person or outside party to do these things. Outside parties are good. Outside parties are healthy and fun. You can find companionship with an outside party, confide in an outside party, make out with an outside party. It’s great. But, except for community, you do, in fact, have everything you need within the galaxy that is you.
During the five years wherein I was always in a relationship, I would have hated reading this. I would have said that everything written above was heartless and cold and the author had obviously never been in love before. Because, back then, I was the permeable membrane. Permeable freaking membrane. Let my favorite author (and close, personal friend) Elizabeth Gilbert, explain. This was me:
“I have boundary issues with men. Or maybe that’s not fair to say. To have issues with boundaries, one must have boundaries in the first place, right? But I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog’s money, my dog’s time—everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else. I do not relay these facts about myself with pride, but this is how it’s always been.”
Remember when Chandler and Monica have their engagement pictures taken, and Chandler makes this cringing face the whole time? Yeah, that’s the face I make when I read that. Because when I read that, it feels like I’m slipping on an old skin; and even though it was shed and it doesn’t really fit tight or right any more, it still feels like an old dream. Dark, confusing, and familiar.
But of course I acted that way. (And if you feel like you have acted similarly, let me just say, of course you acted that way!) If being with someone is all you’ve ever known in your teenage and adult life, of course. If you haven’t had the experience to realize that you can stand on your own (and that you’re actually kind of bad ass at it), then of course you would lean too heavily on the person next to you.
Let me just take this time to say: forgive your past self. She/He was learning. She/He doesn’t know what you know now. Forgive your past self.
Hyperaware of this fact this fact even back then I thought, well, frick, Elisabeth, how are you going to stop doing this? An obvious answer was to try out being single; but that really wasn’t sounding like any fun so I didn’t, until that was no longer my decision.
My life suddenly looked nothing like I had envisioned it.
I suddenly looked nothing like I had envisioned me. Not only because I wasn’t dating anyone, but I just didn’t like myself, period. As much as people don’t want to date a permeable membrane, the permeable membrane doesn’t want to be the permeable membrane. And I had a hunch that being a permeable membrane with nothing/one to permeate would make me just loathe myself even more.
So, I decided to stop being the pellicle that holds cells together and, instead, be a woman. More specifically, I decided to be Elisabeth as a woman, and figuring out who she was has been my favorite part of my human experience.
That’s exactly what being single has been for me: absorbing me and my human experience and everything, good and bad, in which that entails.
After I got back from my time in Guatemala, I started reading books again; I spent all of my money traveling and then got it all back again; I got a dog; I got certified to teach yoga; I watched all the series on Netflix that I wanted. It’s amazing what you can get done when you’re alone. And I actually felt like a complete person for the first time.
I no longer lived in my fairy tale world. I was in the real world, baby; and out here you adapt or die. (There was a day last summer when I actually said, yes to myself because that’s what you do when you’re alone, “Elisabeth, if you stay in this sorrow and hopelessness, you might as well be dead.” I didn’t want to be dead.)
No one can die by emotional wounds inflicted by another human being. One can only die while forgetting that they are more than the pain.
So I adapted. Any time I felt lonely, I sat there and felt lonely. No running, no trying to escape it. I wanted to figure it out. Any time I felt pissed, I sat there pissed. But no matter how slighted I felt (and I felt freaking slighted), I always used my emotions as a vessel to carry me forward and eventually back into peace. Any time I got anxious, 100% sure I was going to die alone, I made a map of my feelings and talked to myself the way I would compassionately talk to a friend: “Wow, you some kind of big shot? You are in no way smart enough to know what your future will hold. You actually sound really dumb right now. Take a breath.” Any feeling that I used to ignore or try to put out, I felt. And I learned. And I welcomed into my human existence.
“Hi loneliness, anger. Oh hey, anxiety. So glad you guys could make it. Listen, you all obviously think your jobs are super important, so I won’t keep you from your tasks for long. I tried to shake you for years, but now I have no one to hide behind. So, I’m gonna let you tag a long on all of my adventures from now on, but let’s just get one thing crystal clear. You guys will not dictate who I am or how I behave. I have places to go, things to accomplish, people to see – and I intend to remain my truest, greatest self through all of it. This means, I’ll carefully consider your input, but I am the human and I will make the decisions. Alright? Solid.”
I don’t know what parts of my story are beneficial to others, if any are at all. But the purpose of my sharing is so that I can settle in with someone wherever they are, share in their vulnerability and say with credibility:
When you decide to choose yourself as one of your own soul mates, when you decide to never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings or fears, when you view the parts of you that are breaking as opportunity to let light into who you are– you step into your truest, greatest self.
What does it look like to share your story?
How much should you share on the Internet? Where billions upon billions of hearts have access to your words? Half of that billion is longing for someone to give them something to believe in and the other half is waiting, watching for someone to tear down.
Hearing people’s stories have become one of my most favorite things. I collect them like sacred treasures, burry them deep in my being so they can grow into something beautiful inside of me. Then, from that growth a sweet fragrance rises, touching the storyteller in gratitude and reaching for hearts who need what I once needed.
Some stories offered to me have changed my life and helped me become my truest, greatest self. I would go as far as to say that some stories offered to me have saved my life while in my darkest seasons.
Liz Gilbert’s story saved me as I was reading her book while living in a country that I had never been to before. Lindsey’s story saved me while she was yelling it over blaring Latin music, sitting next to a bar in an animated Mexican restaurant. Jocelyn’s story saved me while we sat on the roof, stars above us, laundry hung around us, Guatemala beneath us as a country we were about to explore.
On one of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic podcasts, Brene Brown, said, “The only stories I share with the public are stories I have already processed, and my healing is not contingent on your opinion of those stories… I don’t share any stories about myself that do not serve my work and that don’t serve my mission of my work.”
Writers, blogger, expressers – sharing any part of your story before taking these steps is abusive to yourself. It is not in service of the reader, and it is not in service of your own heart. It opens you up to shame, confusion, and the obstruction of healing. However, if your story is publically shared after your processing and is then countered, there is no need to defend it. You, somehow, become neutral. Because you have grown past what you have written, and you are now leaving it behind as a jewel for the next person to pick up.
So many people write publically with a deep yearning for healing, but that’s not the right, not the safe, not the possible place to find it. Write to process. Write to learn what you know. But don’t share those writings for the sake of healing, because that is not what you’ll reap.
I’m getting ready to share some parts of my story.
I think sharing stories means disclosing all the details: the big, sexy, flashy details and the small, contextual, seemingly insignificant details, too.
These parts of my story are ones I didn’t dream of, didn’t particularly enjoy, and not something I would exactly wish on another. But I will share it.
But by owning my story, I then get to choose how it ends. By owning my story, I poise myself for how I want to respond to it. By owning my story, I am transformed by my story and am able to help others own theirs.
So is it time?
I think it is. I think you share your story when your healing is not contingent on the response.
Hey friends! So, it's public knowledge that, as a co-founder of Trades of Hope, one of my favorite things in this world are pretty products that are made to beautifully impact this world. At Trades of Hope, our pieces are made by incredibly talented people around the world, with the focus of creating jobs + ending the cycle of poverty.
Half United's focus is to feed the hungry.
So when Half United contacted me to team up, I was honored. Each purchase of their products provides seven meals for children in need. Can you imagine how different this world would look if everyone shopped compassionately?
I'm teaming up with Half United to give you 20% OFF their products when you use my promo code: ELIS20.
Half United has a wide variety of products, some apparel but mostly jewelry. From jeweled high-end pieces (like the Hannah pictured above + below), to casually chained necklaces -- every piece sports at least one bullet casing to represent their fight against hunger. (Fun fact: their headquarters are in Wilmington, NC where One Tree Hill was filmed. This is completely unrelated but at least one other person on the Internet will find that exciting, too.)
Go to www.halfunited.com + use my promo code at check out. Have so much fun perusing pretty things + doing your part to make our planted a better place to live. All we have is each other. Xx
Hey guys! I've got five different April wallpapers for you! Four for your phone + one for your desktop. While daydreaming about what to make for this month, I booked a trip to Arizona for a few months out and had cacti on my heart. Also, I'm in Peru right now and there are like 10 foot tall cacti all over the place! It's so fun.
I started outlining these guys with my TomBow pens and decided to use some watercolor to fill. I honestly just used discounted watercolors from Hobby Lobby, nothing fancy there. I loved sitting at my desk playing with all the different color/water weights + mixtures. I hope you have as much fun with these guys as I did! Thank you for all your love + excitement! I hope this month is so sweet to you. Happy April!
If you need a refresher on how to slip these babies on, here's how...
- go to www.elisabethhuijskens.com on your phone
- hold your finger down on the wallpaper(s) you want
- select save image
- then go to your photos and set it as your wallpaper!
- while setting on your iPhone 6, be sure to select "still"
- go to www.elisabethhuijskens.com on your computer
- double or right click on the image
- save image
- set at desktop picture!
Last April, after waiting almost a decade, I saw Paramore live for the first time. And even though I'm no longer 13 years old, stopped wearing eyeliner like Darth Vader, and now have a myriad of genres, artists and albums that I wish to never live without -- throughout the whole show I screamed, laughed, and cried and I bought every single shirt at their merch table. After a decade of music, it was the least I could do.
I vividly remember the first time I heard "I Write Sins Not Tragedies." I was at a summer Bible Camp (which I loathed with every fiber of my being), and this girl a few years older than me was wearing an Abercrombie shirt and Darth Vader eyeliner and thought she was so cool skipping over the curse words while she was singing. But I thought she was so cool at the time too, and suddenly, maybe going to Bible Camp was miraculously worth it.
For a lot of my early 2000s memories, it feels like We the Kings, Dashboard, Boys Like Girls, and Weezer were hanging out in the room with us as much as my friends were present. "Dear Maria, Count Me In" and "The Middle" still lifts me out of crappy moods. And I know these will all be on oldie stations someday too soon (my husband and I will be freaking out excited while our kids are trying playing their crappy music on their iPhone 20s), so I'm remaining loyal to the songs that where so loyal to me while I was just beginning to figure out who I was. And today, they bring me back to a time when life was simpler and I felt a little closer to being on top of the world. Silly, kids.
Look forward to different playlists in the future. But for now, it's time for ALL the early 2000s guilty pleasures. Some are pictured here (I swear it's not all Paramore), but all can be found here or on the playlist below.
This playlist doesn't have to be finalized. It has my favorites and some that aren't truly my jam but added for the full cultural context. There were some I had to leave off (bye, Avril, don't know how I was so obsessed with you) because I just can't stand them. ("Dirty Little Secret"? That's just low -- not All Time Low. At least use a vague metaphor or innuendo like the other guys to make it less blatant.) Comment suggestions if there are songs/artists you think need to be on there! It was our music then, and it's our music now.
Jam like it's 2006 this weekend. Xx
Last week, a couple of my girlfriends and I jumped on planes to visit our fellow-college-roommate in Chicago where she is living while working on her Masters. We ate, drank, shopped, took photos, and were constantly in awe that we were far along enough in life where we could visit our college roommates in a pretty city like Chicago. It was such a gift, and I'm thankful 2016 delivered such an incredible one so early on in the year. I got tons of pretty pictures and some random thoughts for recent/almost college grads out there:
// ONE //
Whatever you're feeling right now - incredible fear, incredible rage, incredible loss, incredible joy, incredible contentment, incredible boredom, incredible confusion, incredible lack of fulfillment - it will fade away. Even though it is consuming your heart and lensing your vision and you can't believe it ever will, I promise it will fade away. You'll stop caring about the things you're enraged about, and you'll stop feeling that happy jump in your step so effortlessly. I don't know why it works that way, I guess it's a life thing; I've learned to trust the process. I started my post-undergrad life feeling the first three of that list above; and I don't fully know why or how (other than my concentrated efforts), but those feelings have faded into smooth, cleansing waters. The happy (unfortunately) and the hard (thank, God), it will fade. So soak up all the nutrients that whatever the currently feeling has to offer, really feel it; but do so with the intention of moving looking forward. Then whenever the next feeling comes you will be ready to face and learn and grow there.
I wrote this post in August about feeling like a plant underground, yet to be grown. What I feel now is much more acccute to a sprout; above the ground, sometimes wondering why I don't have abounding leaves and pedals like the plants taller than me, but often I'm `pretty freaking proud of my stem and of my green hue and of how far I've grown in such a small time. Like I said, I don't know why or how it happened, just that I chose to be intentional about who I was and what I did in that season.
// TWO //
You are so, completely not alone. What you're feeling, there are others (far more and far closer to you in proximity than you think) who have those same feelings beating in their chests. It's easy to be impersonal and lack vulnerability in this world. Sharing your heart, your true heart with wisdom and discernment, is the only way to discover that you are not alone. Just share little, honest, authentic pieces at a time. Sometimes people won't relate (or at least don't act like it). But most of the time that little, honest, authentic part of your heart will bring comfort and healing to other confused souls, and then in turn to your own.
// THREE //
I believe that believing you'll survive is what makes you survive. It's a scary thing to chose to believe, because what if you're wrong? But without it, without believing you will survive the pain at present, there is absolutely no chance that you will. It takes bravery, so much bravery. But I believe that believing you will survive is what makes you survive.
// FOUR //
The past's pain and the future's unknown are such small matters compared to what lies within us. Our strength to keep ourselves alive in every season, our ability to plant hope and healing in another's soul, our heart's emotional-cell-regeneration to make us feel like new again, our power to chose kindness when everything around us is screaming, "harden, harden, harden!" - it is miraculous what lies inside of us. And when we bring those miraculous things that are inside of us out into the world, it chases darkness away a little big more - for yourselves and others around you.