The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator


Chief Copy Editor Elyse Braun gives a peek into her current favorite things
Photo by Elyse Braun
Elyse is obsessed with dark green, and if you can’t tell by her collage, loves filling empty space.

Editors note: Tastemakers is a new column we’re trying out here at The Spectator where we give you, the readers, a glimpse into what we at The Spectator are interested in (fashion, music, pop culture, etc.) It also takes heavy inspiration from Perfectly Imperfect, a paid Substack with content in a similar format. 

This week, Tastemakers introduces you to Chief Copy Editor Elyse Braun. Braun is a journalism and psychology student in her second of three years at UW-Eau Claire. She was tempted to use the entirety of her word limit to talk about books. Important pieces of herself not included in this story are her love for the show “American Horror Story,” her dog Nala and her admiration for her dear friends. Now, let’s hear a little bit about her current favorites.

“Crush” by Richard Siken: If I am being completely honest, I don’t remember how I discovered the wonder that is Richard Siken. Specifically, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know his collection of poetry entitled “Crush.” Siken submitted this collection of poetry to The Yale Series of Younger Poets in 2004 and won. 

The collection focuses on themes of panic and obsession. It has been said that the collection’s main inspiration was the death of Siken’s boyfriend in the early 1990s. Though the interpreted themes of the text can be a bit intense, I think the writing, more than anything, is what draws me in. Siken is so articulate, and his metaphors are picturesque and unlike anything I have ever read before. 

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My favorites from the collection, if I had to choose, are “Scheherezade,” “Boot Theory,” “Straw House, Straw Dog” and “Snow and Dirty Rain.” I am currently taking on the task of annotating my copy of the collection, and I learn more and more every time I read the pages.

A good pen: Speaking of annotating, in order to annotate “Crush” I needed a good pen. Most of the time the black ink pens I’ve used are decent at best, but recently my life changed. One of my best friends gave me one of her pens and, after seeing how amazed I was that it wasn’t terrible, let me keep it. The pen is by U Brands and is genuinely perfect. The ink is dark and the pen writes smoothly. Try it out and it will change your life.

“Blue” by Joni Mitchell: My journey within the world of Joni Mitchell has been a short one so far. I’ve been listening to her music for about three years and her album “Blue” has become one of my favorites of all time. Her lyricism is genuinely so wonderful and creative. When I listen to her music I can picture everything she is describing. 

Though I don’t listen to many other artists that fit into her genre of music, I’m so happy I found her. If you want to take a listen, my favorite songs are “All I Want,” “Little Green,” “River” and “A Case of You.”

“A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara: I feel the need to share that this book is not for the faint of heart (I learned that the hard way). It tells the story of four best friends named Jude, Willem, JB and Malcolm. They all come from different upbringings and wind up meeting in college. The story focuses specifically on Jude and how the other three men surround him each impact his life. It also details a number of sensitive topics that Jude endures. 

This book, in my opinion, is pain and sadness in physical form. I knew, going into starting this book, that it would be sad. But I never imagined that it would transform my life. I do believe that we as a society are used to happy endings. I was. Now, things have definitely changed.

Ladybugs: This one is specific to me, but I love ladybugs. Whenever I have enough financial stability — which is saying a lot coming from a college student — I want to get one tattooed on my arm. 

Growing up I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house. In their basement, a lamp sat atop a table. The lamp had a dish on the bottom, which held a small oval stone painted to look like a ladybug. On the belly of this ladybug are the words “Lucky Ladybug.” 

After my grandpa passed, my grandma sold their house. This stone was one of the things she gave me to keep in the packing process. I now carry it with me everywhere I go.

Tote bags: I think it’s safe to say that tote bags have become increasingly popular in the past few years. Not only are they beneficial to the environment in reducing the amount of plastic put out, but they are also genuinely so convenient. 

I used to be the type of person who only carried around a lanyard on my neck that had everything I needed. I’ve never really been a purse girl, but when I got my first tote bag everything changed. 

One of my favorites is from my time attending a Harry Styles concert. My friend Lizzy also made me one for Christmas last year, and to no one’s surprise, it’s book-themed. If you’ve been considering going the tote bag route, this is your sign.

Silly little shirts: Do I own what I’m about to describe? No. Do I still love them? Yes. Something that has been trending recently is t-shirts that have some sort of saying on the front. In my opinion, the more outlandish the saying the better. 

But I think that it’s so nice to be living in a culture where people are starting to feel more comfortable wearing whatever they feel comfortable in. Shirts with fun (and sometimes very stupid) sayings just happen to be my favorite form of this expression through clothing. 

Having said all this, it might be time for me to get one for myself.

Braun can be reached at [email protected].

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