About Us

meet abby the puppy.

by lizzie & isaiah on September 8, 2011 · 26 comments

She is delighted, as you can see. Abby is the most recent addition to our always-growing family. She was six weeks old the day my mom packed Isaiah, my grandpa and I into a car to pick her up from Wichita Falls, Texas. She’s been hours of entertainment since. Her tiny little poops and puddles make it easier to just love her to pieces. She hasn’t offended any of us yet. It’s more like, “OH MY. Is that the cutest poopie in the whole world?! YESH IT IS!”

The facts: Abby is now 7.5 weeks old, weighing in at just more than 5 lbs. She’s a Golden Doodle (golden retriever and poodle mix). She has pitch black eyes, a salmon-pink tongue we see all the time and a gold soul patch under her chinny-chin-chin. (Can you resist baby talk around puppies? I can resist baby talk around babies easier than around puppies … and that’s not right).

Abby and Vinny get along like two peas. He picks her up by the scruff of her neck sometimes. Mostly, they fight like warriors and she instigates plenty of the fights against our 60 lb. Pumpkin-Head.

Just to clarify. Vinny is our dog. Abby is my mom’s dog. Along with Wishbone.

She fits right in with her combative cuteness.

{ 26 comments }

the windy path to marriage

by lizzie & isaiah on February 21, 2011 · 25 comments

In less than a month, Isaiah and I will have been engaged for two years. Although we originally set a date for 11/11/11 in case we had won a free photography contest (they tend to want to give free photography away to couples who are actually already planning their weddings…go figure), we don’t actually have a date, because we don’t actually have a venue.

At this point, we’re on hold with planning until we can plan a trip up to Chicago to see all of the venues one last time in person before we sign a contract. Recently, a friend of mine said our wedding was going to have to be pretty amazing for all of this build-up we’re going through, but do people really think we’ve been planning for two years?

No.

We have spent approximately 4 hours altogether so far planning this wedding. It’s not that it doesn’t matter or that we’re not eager to tie the knot, quite the opposite actually.

Lately, people have been coming out of the woodwork to offer unsolicited opinions and speculations as to why we’re not “ready” to get married. “Oh, he’s got cold feet?” “You’re not ready to give up your independence?” or, most offensively, “Trying to keep your cards open?” No.

This is the problem with the Wedding World and the stereotypes we’ve allowed ourselves to be constricted in. When a couple takes some time to get their lives together before they get married she’s clearly dragging an unready partner to the altar or he’s clearly trying to rope down a freebird female.

Some of it, I get. Being engaged for what will be three years is not our usual M.O. We’ve been known to be impulsive, rebellious and easily excitable.

Yet, we’re taking our time with this marriage thing.

For all of their speculations, no one can seem to understand why we’re taking it   t h i s  slow. Is it ridiculous, here in 2011, to want to have your proverbial ducks in a row? If we were to have rushed to the altar when we were ready to marry each other, our lives would have unnecessary obstacles: No health insurance, our finances wouldn’t be in order at all and we’d be just another married couple who got started too early and lived in a shoebox together for their first three years of marriage in the ghetto. It’s not all that much less depressing to be an engaged couple living in the ghetto, but you see what I mean.

To my rebellious roots, oddly enough, it feels like we’re being even more rebellious in taking it slow.

Couples have met, gotten engaged, split up or gotten married in the time that we have been engaged. We’re cool with our status right now, why does it seem like no one else is?

Let me be clear, I don’t, at all, believe like our path is right for everyone. There have been couples in my family who were engaged for a month or two and made it all the way ’til death did them part.

Relationships are complex. Geometrically intertwined and emotionally daunting at times. But that’s not what’s stopping us. The benefits of being on team don’t-force-a-square-life-situation-through-a-circle-rushed-marriage are that we have had time to have tougher discussions, people have gotten divorced around us and we’ve stayed together, not through the bonds of marriage, but because we choose to be with one another.

Sometimes writing and blogging can sound so projected and rigid. Sometimes I wish all of us could just get together for a cup of coffee. The real fact is that Isaiah and I are too laid back to get hung up on dates and what the world expects of us. If being engaged is like walking a path to the altar, Isaiah and I are stopping occasionally to wander (to a cheap motel room, I mean…), enjoy the walk and grab some G.D. flowers on the way.

This is what’s right for us. So cut us some effing slack, world. We have forever, what’s the rush?

Photo: “Paradigm Shift” by Jessica Snow – available for sale through the 20×200 project.

{ 25 comments }

mixtape masters: profound lack of sound

by lizzie & isaiah on February 11, 2011 · 13 comments

We stayed over at my mom’s house overnight to be closer to work for the last day of the week. We forgot that she doesn’t have anything even remotely close to the Adobe Creative Suite and after a moment of what will we do?!, we settled in and watched a movie.

We’ve come to depend quite a bit on Mixtape Masters every week – we sit together at the computer and put together our playlist and crack up at all of the memories we have for each song.

So instead of sharing some new music: A brief history of our band days and some of our music.

Isaiah was in a rock band for years called Radial Bloom. They were awesome. Someday, he wants to talk really in depth about the dynamics of guys in a band together, how there’s an unbreakable bond, almost, when it works. How he’s had the same friends for more than 10 years and most of them are once-upon-a-time bandmates of his.

Every time I ran into Isaiah at Ernie’s, he was passing out flyers for his band. I wasn’t 21, or even 18 yet, and I didn’t want to tell him that I couldn’t make it past the door to see him play. He sent me tracks online and I, kind of like a groupie, freaked out a bit that “Isaiah from Radial Bloom sent me some tracks from the cd!” Yeah. HUGE nerd.

They weren’t a nationwide known band, no. But they were well known around Aurora and he was always promoting. They toured. Bands that are famous now opened for them. They rocked. I dug it.

I was in a small music project at the time as well. I’ve played classical piano for 18 years, but wanted to venture out into jazz and indie music. I played around the Aurora-land area at coffee shops and bars until I landed at (what used to be) One East Wilson. I played an open mic night at One East once and the organizer, Dana, part out of potentially creepy attention paid to the only (yet underage) female in the bar at the time…offered me a weekly spot and eventually a showcase at the bar. It was becoming a hot spot in Batavia soon enough – not because of me, jeez, because of the music scene there in general. They got a new chef and people sucked down oysters and mussels in a city bar in the ‘burbs.

When I left for college 2 hours away, I played a few coffee shops and one wildly controversial night at a Christian coffee shop. Some friends from high school came down and we started jamming together and practicing. We only got to lay down two tracks together and I only semi-professionally recorded anything, but it was a blast while it lasted. Of course being two hours away from each other doesn’t make for awesome practice times.

Anyways, if you want to listen, use some serious discretion that these were recorded five years ago and with nothing but a Mac and Garage Band. My recordings are much messier than Isaiah’s and his band’s, which we still listen to together on a regular basis.

For my birthday this year, Isaiah got me a USB-powered keystation and I love it. We’ve been playing again, recording, playing with sound…I couldn’t be happier that we can play together and, moreso, that he wants to play with me. Him, Isaiah, of Radial Bloom. And then I feel like such a nerd.


For actual mixtape master madness, check out these peops: Hi-Fi WeddingsOne Cat Per PersonTylreMy SF Budget WeddingFashion Under 100Dead FlowersJo RootingCraft My LifeAnother Damn LifeCasa de KaloiBunnies’n BeaglesSomething DifferentSavoir WeddingsExisting Between Reality and Dreams and Fancy Notion.

Be a Mixtape Master. Email Angie or Ashley to get on the list.

{ 13 comments }

geek out: the city of lights

by lizzie & isaiah on February 9, 2011 · 35 comments

geek out - a collection of greats from around the web worth freaking out about.

Isaiah and I grew up a couple of streets away from each other. He was a bit older than I, but I remember the first time he showed me a photo of him as a kid I knew I had ridden bikes with him once upon our younger years. While we are die-hard Chicagoans at heart, we grew up in Aurora, the second largest city in Illinois.

Outsiders might say that Aurora is not a good place to raise a family. Our East-side is comparable in “scary-ness” to the Bronx, only a slight bit more depraved. The West-side is full of teenage gangs, but is typically known to be a little more affluent.

The train from Chicago through the ‘burbs dead ends at Aurora’s station, which is adjoined to The Roundhouse (formerly Walter Payton’s Roundhouse – and will forever be known). Once used as a station to turn the trains around for their return trips to Chicago, The Roundhouse is now a micro-brewery that makes a mean Summer Chocolate Blonde. Nowadays, The Roundhouse can be considered a hub of culture, where almost every Aurora-an has had a chunk of memorable experiences.

Isaiah’s prom was held there. My best friend and I were moderately harassed by a group of homeless men there. I got busted buying a pack of cigarettes at 12:40 in the afternoon on a school day on my 18th birthday. This may not sound like an incredible memory…but when you go to a conservative Christian school and are caught, simultaneously buying cigarettes from a bum cigarette machine, having fun, and skipping school in the back of the abandoned portion of The Roundhouse…it tends to be one you remember as one of your more badass moments. My friend with me at the time screamed “Rapture!” and snatched the cigarettes from my hand before the principal could take them from me directly. That’s friendship.

Also – what the hell was the principal of said Christian school doing in the back of The Roundhouse in the middle of a school day too? Questions for another life, I suppose.

Living in Aurora, we experienced your everyday Chicago fare – pizza, gyros, Italian beefs and hot dogs. Can’t you get pizza, gyros and hot dogs everywhere else? you might ask. I say yes, but they suck. If I have another mixed-what-is-this-meat-hot-dog or a “deep dish” pizza that claims to be “Chicago-style” or a gyro with a fucking pickle on it…I’ll croak. Where the hell are all of the poppy seeds? Do they just evaporate south of the Mason-Dixon? Is that what’s happening? I have had bare-naked hot dog buns, buns with sesame seeds…SESAME SEEDS. SESAME SEEDS. And none of them have celery salt…even available as an extra condiment.

One thing you cannot get anywhere but Illinois is the sweet, salty and juicy heaven of an Italian beef sandwich. You don’t think you’ll ever wake up in a world that doesn’t have Italian beefs…until you do. And it’s horrible.

While Denton is growing on us, and Texas in general a bit, we miss the stinky-toxic-river, the walking, the snow. A lot of my adolescent years were spent at Denny’s and IHOPs across Aurora with friends and too many packs of cigarettes. But it was home. This is me circa 2004 or 2005 at IHOP…with short, red hair, oh my!

Another favorite of mine is, technically, in Geneva, Illinois (nearby). My mom and I would take my dog, Wishbone, for long walks through Fabyan’s and the Windmill Park and once I grew up, it became my favorite spot to be with friends to get into…ahem…mischief.

Every Friday in the summer, the streets of Aurora close down completely for Downtown Alive – a concert/festival downtown with food and goods vendors. If not that, there is always some festival going on. Aurora has had a bit of a yo-yo flux over its lifetime. Once a thriving downtown area, Aurora looks a tad barren these days – more spread out, more cookie-cutter-Walgreens-type-stores cluttering the once beautiful cornfields.

We’re proud to see our hometown making a cultural comeback and adding new bars and local hotspots around town. Isaiah and I met in (what used to be) Ernie’s Pub, which held karaoke on Tuesdays and Thursdays…We lived together for the first time in the studio apartment above his mom’s salon, where he proposed for the first time without the ring…We ordered East China Inn every day and enjoyed the view of downtown from his bedroom window…

Chicago lays thick on our voices, decided our food preferences and sports affiliations early on…But Aurora is home.

Photo One: Found via talented Flickr user JMazich Photo Two: Found via Paddleway Photos Four, Five and Six: Jan Crites via Flickr

{ 35 comments }

christmahanakwanzika: the finale

December 24, 2010

Ah, Christmas. I have been trying to remember my favorite Christmas. All I can seem to find in the files of Christmas Past are embarrassing moments – like the time my mom gave me my first training bra wrapped in a gigantic coat box so I was embarrassingly ravenous in opening it…only to pull out [...]

10 comments you know you wanna read more..

on graduating

December 18, 2010

image via we heart it I’m graduating today. I haven’t even had a minute to slow down and soak it in. The only thing I have ready is my leather cons. Iron gown? Not until the last minute. Figure out what time to be there? Not until 12 hours before. Work out what building it’s [...]

19 comments you know you wanna read more..

on splitting the holidays

December 14, 2010

Our first date actually happened after we had been talking for more than three months. We already knew we were crazy about each other. We had been friends in Chicago, in case you haven’t heard the story. He flew from Vegas. We spent a whole weekend together. We talked that weekend about how we wanted [...]

15 comments you know you wanna read more..

on being hard of hearing

December 11, 2010

image via we heart it I sat in a soundproof booth while the woman behind the glass spoke words into a microphone. The headphones were far too big for my head. She got progressively quieter while I repeated what I heard, “Airplane…taco…puppy…” I was six. I didn’t want to fail this test. I closed my [...]

15 comments you know you wanna read more..

from her fridays: a journey of…everything

December 4, 2010

Image from Wide Open Spaces Before I tell you what I really want to tell you, a little backstory. My 2008 New Year’s resolution (and the only one I’ve ever actually completed) was to read a book every two weeks for the whole year. Gave me some time in between to read quickly or take something [...]

18 comments you know you wanna read more..

Geek Out: My Family Edition

December 1, 2010

In all honesty, as much as I lean toward optimism to a fault, sometimes I massively underestimate my family. I love them. I always love them. Some members of my family have this habit of saying what they’re thinking, even if it’s unnecessary and hurtful. As the most talkative one of the bunch, I’m often the target [...]

19 comments you know you wanna read more..