Remembering This: Winter Storm Jonas (Brothers)

Over the summer I shared that I've been making a point to slow down and savor the now, to actively capture special moments that I want to hang onto. Little everyday things I hope will bring a smile to my face when they pop back into my head ten, twenty, fifty years into the future. 

This past weekend was one for the record books - both in terms of memories and in terms of nature, with Winter Storm Jonas (Brothers) dropping a whopping 26.8 inches of snow on New York City (just .01 short of the all-time high, aww, so close!). I wanted to jot down a few moments in an attempt to hang onto the goodness, for reasons of both sentimentality and pure psychological self-preservation. I know that by week's end, the snow will be pushed into dirty piles on the curbs and I'll be grouchily tramping to the office, grousing about the cold and it'll do me well to have a few fond snowy memories tucked away to get me through the rest of this godawful season.

I mean, this beautiful season! Oh it's happening already.

I don't think anyone really believed this storm would amount to anything, at least among my social circle. We've been burned in the past - notably last year when the city went on full lock-down only to get a light dusting - and didn't want to get our hopes up. Such jaded, cynical New Yorkers are we! So what a complete delight to wake up Saturday morning to a, and I'm really sorry, I know this phrase is absurd but I'm unashamedly going for it, winter wonderland. 

IMG_7092.JPG

The best thing about a snow day is how it takes a totally regular day and makes it into a holiday. Productivity be damned. To do lists, shredded. It's snowing! We'll have bloody marys at 10 am and read in our pajamas all morning and make a huge breakfast feast of cheesy eggs, bacon and french fries. 

breaking wild snowday hottsauce

Snow calories don't count.

After a lazy morning of treats and snoozin', snoozin' and treats, Brian and I bundled to the gills and set out into the storm on a probably ill-advised quest to meet our friends for beers.

hottsauce snowday jonas winter blog fun

The walk was surreal. The governor had issued a ban on non-essential vehicles so the roads were entirely clear of cars. We walked right down the middle of Seventh Avenue, one of the main streets in the neighborhood. Around us a few other brave (stupid?) souls trekked along, and kids had turned the side streets into blocks-long sledding trails. It was so windy, we couldn't see 100 feet ahead of us, though we couldn't see anything really, the pelting snowflakes forced us to squint our eyes tiny or sometimes walk backwards and hope for the best. Utterly ridiculous to be out and about but it was worth the pain as we burst into the warm bar and shed our wet layers, pulling on dry socks and sweaters that Brian had packed for us and hauled down in his backpack.

Pro tip: marry an Eagle Scout.

sharlenes hottsauce brooklyn blog

The bar was packed! One of the only places open in the neighborhood, it became a home away from home for locals with cabing fever - the old time regulars who I'm pretty sure might actually live there, parents with little babies strapped to their chests, loud groups of 30-somethings, everyone sporting ridiculous layers on layers of all the warmest clothes they own, fashion schmashion. We cuddled up in a back booth and guzzled IPAs and one friend found a nearby restaurant that was also open and brought in wings and fries and onion rings and another procured a set of Cards Against Humanity and we spent our afternoon getting drunk with Midgets Shitting into Buckets and Vigilante Justice and Former President George W. Bush and Oprah Sobbing Alone into a Lean Cuisine. Best overall round: Stuff White People Like (Morgan Freeman's Voice, Sassy Black Ladies, Pretending to Care About Third World Countries, The Oscars, Selfies.) 

After a few hours of building liquid corage, we packed up and trekked back home. The mile or so walk from the bar to our apartment was magical, and I mean that in the most earnest and sincere way. It was still snowing, but the wind had died down, so it gently fell in fat flakes around us. The city was absolutely silent and glowing in the streetlights.

hottsauce snowy day

We ran in the middle of the road and jumped into waist-high piles on the sidewalks and occaisionally passed other walkers but for many blocks we were the only two souls around. 

out in the snow at night

Back home we draped our wet hats and gloves on the radiator to dry, ate macaroni and cheese in our PJs. 

The snow stopped at some point while we were sleeping and when we woke this morning, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, the sun bouncing off of the drifts. We made eggs and french fries for breakfast (again!), pulled back on our layers, grabbed our sled and headed for the park.

hottsauce sledding snow brooklyn blog

A memory in a memory: a few years ago, when we were first living together on the other side of the park, there was another big weekend blizzard and while walking in the park after the snowfall stopped, Brian and I became jealous of the local youth whizzing by us on their sleds and decided we hadto join them. We searched the premesis for abandoned sleds (not technically stealing if some kid just left it there!) (Right?) but came up empty so we sprinted to the local hardware store and snagged the very last sled they had, a lime green plastic saucer, and sprinted back and spent the rest of the afternoon shredding the hills. It was the funnest. 

Another pro tip: marry someone who brings out your child-like enthusiasm for adventure. 

We hung onto that stupid sled and moved it with us from that apartment, which had not one but TWO spare bedrooms for us to stash our junk, to our current home which has one tiny closet to house our random nonsense, including the sled, and also a baseball bat, skateboard, old box fan, Christmas tree stand, two tool boxes, some curtains I'm never ever going to hang, four frisbees, etc. 

But I digress. 

The park was bumpin', with essentially every Brooklyn resident shaking out the wiggles after a day stuck inside. Brian steered us to a hill he'd discoved while running, a long steep slope winding through a wooded area off the main road, just wide enough for one person to sled at a time.

(LLimbs flailing, always.) 

(LLimbs flailing, always.) 

Alas, we weren't the only fans of this hill. A line had backed up at the top of the hill seven people deep, everyone waiting their turn on the slope, some more patiently than others.

"Why do we have to wait in line?? This isn't SCHOOL!" a kid in front of me griped.

Preach, sisterfriend.

We moved onto bigger and better, a favorite hill from our last sled outing, not as long but steeper and wider, allowing many sledders to go down at once. It was a wild mess. Everyone smashing into one another, sleds breaking, tweens stunting out by standing on their sleds or piling five bodies atop one another or holding hands and whipping one another down the hill. Brian and I took turns doing run after run and our friend Jeff, out for a jog, joined us for a few. Brian kept finding himself stuck in a divot at the bottom of the hill. Me, I kept crashing into small children. Every single run, without fail, I'd play it cautious at the top, wait until it seemed like I wouldn't crash into anyone and push off only to see out of the corner of my eye, a little kid scooting just ahead of me and I'd try to stop in time and fail and smash into the child, knocking them flat. And it was always a cute little one!! Never one of the nightmare twelve-year-olds doing backflips off his sno-tube, oh no. Always a tiny four-year-old who probably spent an hour gathering the courage to go on the big kids hill only to be crushed to death by a 31-year-old woman. 

Whoops?

A mom did tell me she thought it was "so fun" that Brian and I were "enjoying ourselves even though we don't have children." She SEEMED sincere but upon further reflection that feels a little bit back-handed.

(can you spot BriGuy?!)

(can you spot BriGuy?!)

Blessedly she missed the moment where Jeff literally took out a child at the knees. To be fair, it was totally her fault! She broke the cardial sledding rule, which is that one does not walk horizontally across the middle of the hill whilst others are sledding. However, it's hard to keep rules in mind when a 6-foot-plus man in his 30's crashes into a child's legs and sends her flipping into the snow.

jeff sledding

My only regret of the weekend is that I don't have this moment on tape.

After we'd had our fill of sledding we parted ways with Jeff and hiked around the park for a while, making friendly small talk with cross country skiiers and families out for a stroll and at one point we passed a friend's husband and young son, who I have met maybe once but recognize from instagram and said to Brian "I know that little boy!" and that wasn't creepy even a little tiny bit. We tramped back home and had soup and tea and laid on the couch for hours. I vaguely considered grocery shopping or yoga or laundry but then remembered, it was still a snow day. Productivity continue to be damned! 

Now Brian's off at a buddy's house watching football and I'm tucked up under a blanket, eating a big bowl of cacio e pepe (snow day calories, remember?!), drinking red wine and listening to the Modern Love podcast. The streets are mostly plowed, but traffic is still sparse, the usual noise of busses and taxis and delivery trucks replaced by the occaisional slushy whoosh of a car driving slowly by. 

Tomorrow reality will set back in and the snow will start to melt and winter will return again to being the worst so for now I'm going to sit here and sip my wine and soak up the silence and try my very best to remember this. 

hottsinwinterstormjonas





79 HOURS AND FIVE MINUTES IN PORTLAND, OR

Hello! Remember that time I went to Oregon? Yeah, I barely do either! It's taking me about twice as long to recap this vacation as it took the early settlers to haul across the continent with just a few sickly oxen to lead the way.

But like my pioneer heroes, I shall forge ahead in the face of great adversity (mild head cold.) 

To the Pacific or BUST! 

Without further ado, allow me to present the third and final installment of our Epic First Anniversary Romantical Adventure, a la NYT's 36 Hours Series. Parts Uno and Dos aqui! 

79 HOURS AND FIVE MINUTES IN PORTLAND, OR

TUESDAY

WELCOME PIONEERS | 10:55 p.m.  

Arrive at Portland International Airport, which you will later learn, thanks to a pack of Oregon trivia souvineir playing cards, was named the top domestic airport in a 2006 Conde Nast Traveller Magazine poll of business travellers. Very neat! 

Shuttle it to your chalet for the evening, the La Quinta Airport Inn where, thanks to a booking error, you're upgraded to a suite that is literally larger than the apartment you live in, with two queen sized beds, two couches, two very huge flat screen televisions ... and one very small bottle of 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner Blend. 

FINALLY shower and pass out face down in the closer of the two beds, marvelling over how much you've done in one long, sweaty, flustery, day - was it just this morning you were at the Native American Museum? What time zone are you in now? How good was that wedge salad???

Anddd ZZZZZ. 

WEDNESDAY

OH NUTS | 8 a.m. 

Wake with the sun, because you're insane, check out and call an Uber to take you into downtown. Whilst you wait, spot the first of TWO food-mobiles you'll see on this trip, a Planters Nut Wagon.

nutz!

Sure why not.

Have your Uber driver drop you in a random parking lot, pick up your waiting Zip Car and hit the town. This party's just getting started!

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS | 9:30 a.m.

Portland is known for its vast and plentiful food and drink options and you've rolled in with a list of about 78 "must visit" establishments. You know there's no way you can hit them all...but oh, you'll try! First up: Pine State Biscuits in the hip Alberta Arts District. Order The Reggie Sandwich (fried chicken, gravy & cheese on a biscuit) while your husband opts for The Moneyball: a biscuit, topped with a huge slab of fried chicken, smothered in gravy annnnnd topped with a fried egg.

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Clean your plates.

Wander up and down Alberta street, peeking into hip shops and marvelling at the amount of people aggressively brunching - cocktails and all! - on a Wednesday. Does no one in Portland work?! 

PORTLAND AF | 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. 

Cross the bridge into Portland's touristy Pearl District and visit PDX's two most recognizable hotspots....

Powell's City of Books: EVEN BETTER THAN YOU EVER COULD HAVE DREAMED!!!

POWELL"S!!!!!!!!
donuts suck

What's the deal with doughnuts? Why are they so trendy? They're not that great! 

BEER ME  | 3:00 p.m. 

Find yourself once again killing time before picking up keys to an Airbnb - reazing this might be the fatal flaw of the whole Airbnb situation. Spend an hour or so sampling local microbrews at The Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom. 

Imperial Bottle Shop

Then pop over to one of Portland's legit super duper cool "Food Pods," organized groupings of food trucks parked year-round to create adorable outdoor eating spaces. Order a salad (lame!) because you think your body needs some greens...instantly regret it when you get a glimpse of your hubz' loaded ramen. 

hot guy eating ramen

Fiyiyiynallly check into your Airbnb only to literally leap back in the car and head west, young men.

PACIFIC OR BUST | 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

YOU HAVE TO GET TO THE COAST FOR THE SUNSET!! Maniacally drive 1.5 hours due west to the town of Astoria, OR, home to the famous and oft-photographhed Haystack Rock. The scenery surrounding you is beautiful - tall, piney trees, gold-hued farmland...but there's NO TIME to take in scenery! The sun could set at any moment!! 

Begin to realize, for neither the first nor last time this vacation (and let's be real, your whole lives), that you two both need to learn how to fuckin' chill. 

(Frantic drive totally worth it tho!)

Haystack Rock beautiful view travel blogger

(And!)

#hotts at haystack rock

(And!)

cannon beach baby

And!

pirate man

I mean! If you' hadn't made the drive, you never would have seen this adult man dressed in FULL pirate regalia, standing in the freezing surf up to his waist, letting the waves crash upon his be-buccanneered torso. 

Did the Booze Cruise follow you to the Pacific?! 

Marvel in the majesty, hop back in the car, return to Portland, crash into bed.

WINGS -N- THINGS | 10 p.m.

JK y'all, the sun may set on the earth but it will never set on FUN! Your night is still young. Realize that A) it's been like, hours since you've eaten anything deep fried or consumed any liquor and B) the famed Thai hotspot Pok-Pok is literally across the street from your apartment so all signs are pointing towards late-night spicy wings and cocktails. 

Ok, NOW crash into bed. 

For real this time. 

THURSDAY

DO GO CHASING WATERFALLS | 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Sleep in. JK again!! Vacations are NOT the time to rest! Up, up, up and at 'em. It's hiking day! Grab coffees from Roman Candle Baking Co and several sandwiches from St. Honore Boulangerie and hit that road. 

Park your car at Multnomah Falls Lodge next to the second snack mobile of the trip, the Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile!!!!!!

If I were an Oscar Meyer Weiner...

Again, sure why not. 

Now into the woods! Follow the admittedly VERY poorly marked 8-mile Wahkeena Falls Trail Loop towards Angels Rest Overlook. Pass a family blasting "Who Let The Dogs Out" on a boombox (normal), a group of stoned teens (actually normal) and a cute older couple with matching windbreakers, until you are basically the only people on the trail. Totally don't panic about being lost! You're calm at all times! Achieve bonus Crushing It At Nature Points by getting stung by a bee in the back of your knee. 

Now you know where that phrase "Bees Knees" originated! (Ba dum, ping!) 

Push through the peril, the view will be worth it. 

Angels Rest View

Hike back down, passing half a dozen more waterfalls on your return, each one more gorgeous than the last. 

Do go chasing waterfalls

But none more gorgeous than your pale bod gleaming in the sunlight as you bravely wade out into the frigid waters of a glacial swimmin' hole in your undies and soon to be ruined running shoes. 

swimmin hole

Swimmin' Hole Pro-Tips: Bring water shoes, the rocky ground is painful. Don't sweat it if you chicken out before getting all the way to the falls. DO make sure to train your video camera on your wife as she's scampering out of the freezing pool because you "know she's going to fall and it will be hilarious." (SUCK IT HUSBAND I DIDN'T FALL!!) (Well, I mean, I feel earlier but not this particular time so ha! Not on camera. Boom.) 

Haul it back home for a much deserved nap. But only a short one! There's no crying in baseball and no relaxing EVER in your household. 

PAINT THE TOWN (PINOT) NOIR | 7:00 - 11:00 p.m. 

Bundle up (Portland gets legit breezy in the evenings, even in August!) and take in the best of the hip Clinton/Division neighborhood, where your rental is located. First up: a tasting of local wines (and some bacon wrapped, cheese stuffed dates, YOM) at the Southeast Wine Collective. Then pop over to newish hotspot Ava Gene's, put your name on the long wait list for dinner, and kill your wait on the front porch of the a-dorable Hedge House across the street. It's a former home turned into a restaurant, with the bar in the old dining room, booths in the living room and cozy rockers right on the front porch.

Hedge House

Portland, you charmer you. 

Then mosey back to Ava Gene's where, luck of luck, the only seat available is at the vibrant chef's counter. Spend the evening sipping yummy Oregon Pinot Noir, devouring locally sourced salads and home made pastas while watching the hustle and bustle of (v v cute) chefs turning out dinner orders. 

A true must-visit! 

FRIDAY

SLEEP IN! | Nighttime - like, 10:00 a.m.!

No for real, sleep in today! 

BLOODY GOOD | 11:00 a.m. 

Wander up to the nearby Hawthorne district, stopping for a brunch at Trinket along the way. Order the bloody mary. You will not be disappointed!

Bloody handsome!

(Hot babe not included.)

Meander around Hawthorne, popping into cute vintage shops, bookstores and boutiques. Stop into Blue Star Donuts, order a blueberry bourbon basil and a lemon poppyseed and proceed to question everything you thought you knew - and hated! - about donuts. Is it possible you actually...like doughnuts?! (Also proceed to question why you keep spelling it differently every time you type it. Do-nu-t-gh-tnuts!)

BUILT TO SPILL | 2:00 p.m. 

Journey back to the Pearl District to spend the rest of the afternoon doing what you do best, playing cards and sipping craft beers at 10 Barrel Brewery.

While there, enjoy a visit from an old pal who now calls PDX home.

Keely and Liz!

 (Hi, Keely!)

Catch up. Spill your beer on yourself. Leave. 

LARD-OHHHH | 5:00 p.m. 

Soak up that beer with a DELICIOUS pork meatball banh-mi from Lardo and a side of dirty fries, a dish that will blow all other fries - and possibly foods as a whole - out of the water forever. Crispy, salty hand-cut fries topped with zesty melted parmesean, bright fresh herbs, chewy bacon bits and tart, crunchy pickled peppers. Break your 36-hours writer character to say OH HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS THESE FRIES!!!!!!!!

LARDO FRIES!!!!!!!!!

Grab one more drink at a nearby bar, forget the name of the establishment but DO remember that the bartender spilled a drink on you bringing your tally to TWO drinks poured on yourself (and your Keely!) that day.

But only one that was your fault, so, win! 

THE BIG CHILL | 8:00 p.m  - 11:00 p.m. 

Go home. Take a nap. Uber up to the Alberta Arts district, wander around, stumble into a cute bar, play funny trivia games, eat vegan chick pea fries, guzzle moscow mules, learn a new two person card game, realize you're finally, at last, really, truly, totally relaxed...just in time for vacation to be over. 

Le sigh! 

SATURDAY

COAST TO COAST | 6:00 a.m. 

And back east you go. Watch the sun rise through the clouds as you fly over the Rockies, equal parts sad the adventure is over and happy to be headed home.

rocky mountain high

The end! 

This trip was truly fun and gorgeous and in many ways a grand adventure, but it was also exhausting and often stressful, due as much to our own neurosis as our packed schedule. We joked around a lot about marriage suddenly getting hard in the second year but I really do think we learned a surprising amount about ourselves and each other and what we need to successfully travel and co-exist as a unit. I won't get into that here because this post is long enough, for sure, but juuuust keeping it a little real. LIfe is not always all fried chicken and piney trees! Sometimes it's a bit of a mess. 

But I still love it all. 

Ok now the end for REAL. 

Thanks for reading along! I know this was longer than long but I DO hope it was more enjoyable than getting stuck in a mountain pass and having to eat all of your frozen loved ones, Donner Style. 

When you start making bad canabilism jokes, it's time to shut it down. 

Liz Hott, Over & Out. 

Bye! 

 

2 HOURS & 26 MINUTES IN THE DENVER AIRPORT

And thus continues this recap of our epic anniversary adventure / my awkward attempt to emulate the New York Times travel section. Catch up on part one right HERE and read part three whenever I get around to writing it. COOL!

2 HOURS & 26 MINUTES IN THE DENVER AIRPORT

TUESDAY

Get In The (Time) Zone | 6:59 p.m. (MST)

Land in Denver for your two-ish hour layover, realize you started your day in EST, are now in MST and will end up in PST and you have no idea what's going on. 

Say Cheese (times two!) | 7:01 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (MST)

good times in the Denver airport, y'all!

Indulge your narcissism at the airport's handy photo booth. Lookin' good, girl! It is definitely not apparent that you're unshowered and fully delirious! Not even a little. Try to convince your husband to pose for a photo too, express zero surprise when he declines. What a party pooper. Then pop over to the Denver Chophouse restaurant located right here in Terminal A to discover the magic that is the wedge salad...basically just a chunk of crispy (nutritionally void) iceberg lettuce serving as an edible vessel on which to transport heaps of blue cheese dressing and bacon into your gaping mouth hole. What a salad! What a delight! What a world we live in!!!  

Westward Ho! | 9:25 p.m. (Yes, still MST) 

Board that plane and reset those clocks, kids, you're headed to Oregon! 

mount hood from the air

And THIS was exciting now wasn't it. Portland recap coming right on UP, I swear. See you then! 

xoxo Liz Hott 

73 (ish) HOURS IN (and around) WASHINGTON, DC

In order to best recap our absolutely jam-packed, kind of hectic but still fun (I swear!) First Anniversary Romantic Adventure, I shall now attempt to pay homage to one of my very favorite series, the New York Times’ 36 Hours travel articles.

Won't you join me on this journey?! 

73 (ish) HOURS IN (and around) WASHINGTON, DC

SATURDAY

Smooth Criminal | all day

Spend the full day at the National Harbor Resort, just across the river from DC attending a delightful Indian wedding. Marvel for not the first time (and likely not the last) how much more fun Indian weddings are than white people weddings. Videotape your husband and his buddies doing a choreographed dance to a Michael Jackson song.

Gul + sandya indian wedding hottsauce

Save the video for later blackmail purposes.

SUNDAY

Undocumented Citizen | 11 a.m.

Awake hungover and give your wedding attire to your responsible friends who are driving back to Brooklyn so you don’t have to lug them on the rest of your trip. Go to buy a Diet Coke, only to realize that you’ve left your credit cards and government-issue ID in the pocket of your suit pants...which are now an hour and a half north, hurtling up the freeway back to NYC. Good thing you’re not due to take a cross-country flight in two days or anything. Oh no wait, you are. Panic. Call your friend. Craft half-baked recovery ideas. Panic some more. Eventually settle on a plan: your friend will mail the ID to a Fed-Ex storefront nearby where you are staying in DC for the next two days. Crisis hopefully averted.

The Two Year Itch | 1:30 p.m.

Hitch a ride into downtown DC with another couple and attempt to pleasantly kill time before your 2 p.m. Airbnb check-in, despite the fact that it is literally 98 degrees of solid humidity, one of you is still stressing over his forgotten ID situation and the other of you is pretty sure she might poop her pants. (As fun as Indian weddings are, they’re rough on the old digestive track. All you can eat curry + open bar do not a happy gut make. Woof.) (TMI? Never!) Try not to kill one another out of sheer frustration and exhaustion, realize you’re only 13.5 hours into your second year of marriage and already experiencing an unprecedented tension you never realized existed between the two of you.  Make lame jokes about the honeymoon being over. Take comfort in the fact that if you can joke your way through it, it’s probably not that bad.

(Right?? Just say right.)

Buccaneer Booze Cruise | 3:30 p.m.

happy birthday Mo!

Beware, the Boomerang Pirate Ship stresses aggressive ID checks.  Just to be prepared, at least try to have some kind of photo ID like a passport or a college ID or a color copy of an expired Cambodian tourist visa that you found deep in the recesses of your email and sent to a friend to print out because fuck the TSA, you ain’t worried about getting on that plane to Oregon...will you get on this pirate ship???

You will. They won’t even check!

boozy pirate ship hottsauce

Burgers, Beers, Bed | 7 - 11 p.m.

Pretty self explanatory.

MONDAY

Bernie Jr. | 7 a.m.

Wake with the sun, leap out of bed, dress in a breezy outfit + sensible shoes, shove some granola bars in your backpack and shake your beloved awake, ordering “Babe! Babe! You gotta wake up! It’s 7 AM and I’ve downloaded all of these self-guided walking tours!”

Realize, in a harsh, bright flash: you are your mother.

FEEL NO SHAME!! You’ve been raised well. There is no better way to spend a vacation than with an educational - yet fun! - death march through an historical city. If you don’t limp out of a vacation with 85 blisters and enough knowledge to write a humanities thesis, you’re doing it wrong

Monument Valley | 8 a.m.  

Lincoln Memorial with hot guy standing in front of it weirdly

Hit the town! Rack up 5 miles and a dozen monuments before 11 AM, at which point it will already be a crisp 99 degrees fahrenheit in the shade.

look how cute we are!!!

Froggy Bottom | 11 a.m.

Walk back to your Airbnb like a totally normal person. As you’re standing at a stoplight, a man will grab your husband’s arm and ask “Sir! Are you lost? Do you need help???”

What the WHAT. You’re not that touristy.

Realize that you’ve been calling the neighborhood where you’re staying “Froggy Bottom” when it is, in fact, “Foggy Bottom.”

Maybe you are that touristy.

Paddling into a New Decade | 3 p.m.

paddle boards and such and things

Meet your bestie in scenic Georgetown for an afternoon of 30th Birthday Stand-Up Paddle Boarding. It’s really not as hard as it looks, especially if you spend most of the time just laying on your board, frying in the sun like a lizard.

three's company too

Make your throuple really stand out by inadvertently wearing matching outfits.

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Drink | 8 p.m.

End the evening toasting your gal’s birthday among a gorgeous group of her buds at a Teddy Roosevelt themed restaurant because yes DC is that much of a cliche of itself and YES you love it.

Happy Birthday Maureen!!!!!!!

(Happy Birthday Maureeneyface!)

TUESDAY

Mall Madness | 9 a.m.

Don’t get your hopes up walking the National Mall anytime soon because whoops, it’s under construction until early 2017.

National Mall is so beautiful right now!

Do however, spend the rest of your morning visiting the National Museum of the American Indian. It’s incredibly well curated, accessible and doesn’t shy away from reminders on the historical and present realities of Native American tribes. Feel sad and a little guilty. This nation was founded by some reallll dicks, y’all.

The Citizen Becomes Documented! | 11:30 a.m.

Make a brief pit-stop into at the Fed-Ex store where praise be to Vai, your ID is ready and waiting. Enjoy a brief moment of angst when they ask to see ID in order for you to claim the package (oh, the irony!) and don’t really seem to find the Cambodian visa thing as cute as you do.

Rejoice when they accept your work ID as a valid backup and graciously return your driver’s license.

Readin’ & Eatin’ | 12 p.m.

Round out your visit by indulging in your two passions: literature and sandwiches. First up, a visit to Kramerbooks and Afterwords, where you snatch up this delightful novel (coming soon to a Hottreads near you!). Where better to shop for souvenirs than at the local independent bookseller?! (ANSWER: Nowhere!!) 

Then head a few blocks south for BOMB DOT COM hoagies at Bub and Pop’s.

Bub and Pops dc hoagies yum

I mean...can you even?!

You can’t.

You Can Checkout Anytime You Like… | 1:30 p.m.

Return to your Airbnb to shower and finish packing before leaving for the airport only to find there has been a mixup between the host and the cleaning staff. You’d discussed a late check-out...and put off bathing and packing as a result...but the cleaning woman never got the message and is already hard at work. Feel awkward. Stammer a lot. Frantically shove your belongings into your suitcases and flee into a waiting Uber.

(Realize, just this moment, how dependent you’ve become on the “sharing economy.”)

A New Frontier | 2 p.m.

Arrive at Reagan Airport three hours early for your 5 p.m. flight to Portland. Marvel at the fact that Reagan is apparently America’s pre-eminent airport for international diplomats, which is highly surprising because it doesn’t seem like it’s been updated since about 1904 and is smaller than your one bedroom apartment. Discover that, for some inexplicable reason, no Fronteir flights leave before 5 and the desk (even the automated kiosks!) does not open until two hours before.

good times at Reagan airport guys!!!

Find yourself back where your journey began, just days ago, sitting on the ground, frustrated with the world.

Finally check-in. Learn that Frontier charges $40 PER ITEM for carry on luggage (and only $30 for checked!), explaining why you got that good deal on tickets in the first place. Feel badly for not realizing this fact in the first place / try not to get mad at your husband for not realizing this fact in the first place, respectively. (You know it’s not his fault. You’re just tired!) Haul ass to security. Discover that the woman at the check-in desk has printed the wrong tickets. Haul ass back to get them fixed and then back again. Send your $80 worth of carry-on luggage through the x-rays. Have one bag flagged for additional search. Stand around trying not to panic that you’ve somehow ended up with a backpack full of hashish in some sort of horrific Locked Up Abroad situation. Unclench when it turns out to be a false alarm.

W(h)ine About It | 3 p.m.

Flop around the terminal. Call your mom and bitch about how traumatic your life is. Feel mad at your partner for unspecified reasons. Buy hand lotion from a drugstore kiosk. Wallow, wallow, wallow and THEN (!!) remind yourself that, no matter how stressful the past few hours have been (not actually that stressful, in the grand scheme) and how long (very!) a flight you have ahead, you’re still on friggin’ vacation, baby. And what better way to unwind than by ponying up to the airport bar for a cool, crisp ($13) glass of sauvy b.

Wheels Up | 5 p.m.

Wave farewell to the Great City of Magnificent Intentions. You’re airborne and headed to the West Coast!

Hotts Head West!

But that, dear readers, is another tale for another day. I hope you’ve enjoyed this installment of 36 (or more or less!) Hours in (or around or near!) A Great American (or wherever!) City. I know I sure have.

See you in the PDX, babes.

xx Liz Hott



 

 

Partners & Fart(...ners?): A Novice Chimes in on Love & Marriage

Still Life With Carrot Cake

 (In case you are curious, our wedding cake still tasted delicious a full year later. A metaphor for our marriage, perhaps? Also in case you're curious, Brian totally bought that candle for the express purpose of toasting our one year anniversary...just in case I don't brag enough on how sweet and wonderful he is.)

For weeks I've been sitting down, inking up my quill pen (I wish) and reflecting on our first year of marriage in the attempt to write something utterly profound and time after time I come up empty. I'm beginning to develop a sinking feeling that {whispers} I might not be very profound after all. Thank goodness for the experts

I was talking to a girlfriend of mine the other day who is getting married in just a few weeks (hey, Ashley!) and trying to explain how it feels to be married and the best I could come up with was "it's neat!" I really think in some ways I expected married life to feel like a huge change, for some kind of switch to flip August 16, 2014 but for the most part, it just feels so natural . Sure some things are a little different and I still have to suppress a grin every time I call Brian my husband (squee!), but at the same time it seems like he has always been my family. I can't remember what it felt like to not have him as my partner. 

I do remember the first time I felt really, truly married. Some friends of mine go to this music festival every year, the Newport Folk Fest in Rhode Island and I've always wanted to join. It's like, a yuppie thing where people drink craft beer and sleep in houses with showers and stuff, not one of those nightmare festivals where everyone camps and does Molly and wears like, daisy crowns and crop tops or what have you. The horror! That is like, my personal Guantanamo Bay. Oh I'm shuddering just thinking about it. ANYWAY Brian and I talked about this festival for about five seconds last fall and vaguely discussed that maybe I'd go but he didn't feel like it, and left it at that. When the tickets went on sale in January, I scooped one up immediately and only then realized that maybe I should, you know, talk it through with Brian. 

So that night I went home and we talked. We looked at the calendar for our upcoming year, what with various family obligations ($), weddings ($$), planned trips ($$$) and other looming expenses ($$$$), and I realized that my taking this trip might not be the wisest way to spend our time and our money. So I bowed out. 

To be sure, Brian in no way forbid me from attending - we don't roll like that. If I'd said 'hey, champ, this is important to me" he would have rushed out and bought me a Native American headdress, which I then wouldn't have worn because A) this isn't Burning Man and B) Cultural Appropriation, people, learn about it! and C) this is mostly just a metaphor, he wouldn't have really bought a headdress... but you get the picture. He would have supported me with zest. But I realized in that moment that I was no longer making decisions for just ME. I now have to choose what is best for our family as a whole.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this story but whenever I look back on the year, that pops out to me as the turning point moment when we were straight up MARRIED, full stop. It wasn't when we signed our marriage license or started farting with wild abandon in front of one another or spent Christmas together, but this one totally random weekday afternoon when we sat in the living room and talked and listened and compromised and then forged ahead as a unit. 

That's marriage, I do suppose! 

It surprises me, as someone who loves doing what *I* want to do, how much strength and joy I draw from working as a team. I suppose it doesn't hurt that I have THE BEST teammate like, ever. 

This year has been intense for me, personally, for a whole host of reasons I'm not ready to get into here, but there have been high highs and low, low, lows and a lot of moments of feeling uncertain and out of control, which normally would send me into a tailspin. I was talking with another girlfriend (I'm INSANELY popular) the other week, catching up on things, and she commented how surprisingly calm and level I've remained through it all. "I've seen you get more upset about a bad sandwich," she remarked.

To be fair, through all the ups and downs of this year, the sandwiches have been consistently good. But she was right. I haven't always been my best self this year but I certainly haven't been my worst and I really do think I have Brian to thank for that. Knowing he is in my corner and feeling like I have a partner helps make the tough things seem a little less tough and the fun things seem exponentially more fun. And it's my goal to always make sure he always feels the same. 

It's so cheesy but I really do feel lucky every single day - even the days like today when I'm crabby and snipping at him for leaving his pants on the floor (despite the fact that my pants are like, one foot away from his...also on the floor) - that we stumbled upon one another. He's my person! I wouldn't trade him for all the cheese in the world. 

Except maybe for a vat of endless burrata...

Nah. Not even burrata. 

This turned out to be semi profound after all. I'll lighten the mood by admitting that second only to the partnership thing, the best part about marriage is indeed farting with wild abandon. One gassy year down - a lifetime more to go. Toot toot! 



Don't Go To Bed Angry: Some Experts Chime in on Love & Marriage

Hi from Oregon! As I mentioned in last week’s post (and over and over and over again on social media, you know I can’t resist a plea for attention) Sunday marked one whole year of marriage for The Hotts. Time sure flies when you’re having fun / embarrassing your husband by talking about his butt on the internet all the time. (It’s so cute tho! I can’t help myself!) At some point I’ll be sharing a few thoughts on what I’ve learned about marriage and relationships over the last year...you’re dying with anticipation, I’m sure. For now, I’m too busy out living those lessons, such as: Take Romantic Adventures and Don’t Get Mad At Your Husband If He Loses His ID In The Midst Of A Romantic Adventure And Then That Becomes A Whole Thing and Love Your Wife’s Friends, Even If That Means You Spend Your First Anniversary Dressed Like A Pirate With Her BFF. You know, all the classics.

In all earnestness, though, one thing I realized while reflecting back on year uno, is that one year ain’t no time at all and we still have SO much ahead! We’re still total rookies. So I turned to a few women I love and admire and asked them if they might share any memories from their first year of marriage and/or tips for keeping things strong and spicy. And oh how they delivered!! I was so overwhelmed and honored by the words of advice and wisdom that poured in and so grateful these wonderful gals took the time to share their stories with me...and YOU GUYS!

Their warm, wise, funny and occasionally surprising and tips, tales and tricks are collected below and... I might just have to retire from blogging and hand the reins over to this crew - they good. I am a sentimental sappy sapster, we all know this, but the combo of love stories + friends opening their hearts to share had me all verklempt and I mayyy have even shed a tear or two. I hope you enjoy as much as I have!

And as always, I’d love to hear from YOU! Are you married? What memories do you have from your first year? What tips would YOU share with newlyweds? Are you dying over this photo of cute old lovers or is that just me?! xo Liz

L - Married 19 Years:

Year one of marriage? One specific story doesn't jump out in my memory - I just remember overall happiness and contentment. And 19 years later, I still feel that way! I think one of the best things we've done is make our anniversary a priority through the years. We don't buy each other any gifts. We just take a weekend away - just the two of us. In the last five years, this has meant a recurring visit to the same little town, in the same cozy apartment, and an anniversary dinner at the same little restaurant. It's a weekend I look forward to all year!

M - Married 11 Years:

1. Go to bed mad. Staying up and arguing when you're both tired and angry is just counter-productive. Sleep on it, and when you wake up most likely the argument will seem silly. If not, at least now you have slept on it and can move forward more rationally and calmly.

2. Never use powerful words like divorce unless you're willing to back it up. The word divorce is nothing to throw around lightly as a threat that you really don't mean (see: arguing while tired).

3. Always treat each other with respect; always, but particularly when you're in company. There is nothing more awkward than sitting with a couple who is bickering about something completely asinine in which one person is inevitably throwing their partner under the bus for something ridiculous, like why didn't they wear the shirt that you told them to wear.

4. Keep touching, cuddling, kissing, making out, etc. Be that embarrassing 30 year married couple who still can't keep their hands off one another.
 

A - Married 6 Years:

My husband and I were married in July, and we waited until December to go on our honeymoon to Vietnam.  At the very end of what had otherwise been a spectacular trip, we both came down with food poisoning.  Mat first.  He complained about a stomach ache in our hotel room, right before our Mekong Delta river cruise, and I basically told him to buck up.  “You’ll be fine,” I said.  

He toughed out the cruise (which was more of a rough boat ride in a river strewn with plastic bags that kept getting stuck in our motor than a relaxing cruise) and then, on the drive back to Saigon, I started feeling queasy.  

We spent our last night in Vietnam in agony.  We had the chills, so we took turns sitting under the showerhead (standing was too much effort).  Mat braved a trip to a Vietnamese pharmacy, where he came back with dubious-looking medicine that we took anyway.  (It didn’t help, but I don’t think it made matters worse.)  

We made it, somehow, to the airport, and onto the plane.  It occurred to me that we might die, and I didn’t even care.  I wanted to die, a few times—I’d never felt so sick in my entire life.  

And the whole time, I kept thinking that I hadn’t believed Mat when he’d told me he was sick.  I’d thought he was just wimping out.  Because I felt fine, so how could Mat feel sick?  And then I felt just as sick as he did, and the lesson felt cosmic:  believe your husband.  It’s something I remind myself of all the time.  Take what he says seriously.

L - Married 3 Years:

(1) The saying "never go to bed angry" is BS. Sometimes you need to time to cool off, think about the issue or catch some zzz's. If you guys love each other, which you presumably do since you got married, you'll be able to work through your issue even it you don't deal with it until the next day

(2) Compromise or come up with a good way to settle matters when you have differing opinions (on relatively unimportant issues). I know one couple who flips a coin when they can't agree on something like where to go out to eat, for example. We don't do that, but we definitely compromise a lot and agree on the fair way to proceed. Maybe I pick out a restaurant this time and he picks next time

(3) Waking up next to the love of your life never gets old...at least not so far :)

(4) Spend quality time together - maybe try something new, have a conversation over dinner at home instead of sitting in front of the tv or go out for "date nights"

(5) You don't stop learning new things about your partner. I've been with my husband for almost 7 years (married for 3 of those) and we recently went on a trip and I learned new things about him that I never knew before!

(6) This piece of advice came from my husband - Husbands like these things that start with the letter "B" and end with the 10th letter of the alphabet ;)

K - Married 25 Years:

How not to get through the first year of marriage:  never, ever attempt to wallpaper a tiny bathroom together.   We bought our first house and moved in right after we got married.  Actually, it was not completely done after our honeymoon, so I lived with mom and Chris lived with his mom for two weeks and we got by with conjugal visits until our new place was finished.  Anyway, I was obsessed with wallpapering the downstairs bathroom.  I knew the paper I wanted and how it needed to be done.   The bathroom was tiny, and under the stairs, so the ceiling had very awkward angles.  To put it lightly, wallpapering was a nightmare.   The room was cramped and hot and Chris had his ideas (which were probably correct) and I had mine (which we did ).  We had some spectacular fights wallpapering that bathroom and I think once it was done, we questioned why we even thought marriage was a good idea in the first place.  Luckily, Chris is quick to forgive and forget and besides the bathroom really did look amazing.  We decided to stick it out for a little longer.

In all seriousness, marriage is work.  It is not nearly as easy and carefree as I thought it would be.  Chris and I are two very opinionated people and don’t always agree.  As time has gone on, I value him being different.  I always said that if I married someone exactly like me, it would have driven me nuts and we would no longer be together.   For the really important things, the things that truly matter (and wallpaper is not included), we are rock solid.   Chris always uses the reference from my favorite movie “Rocky”.  When Rocky is in the meat freezer, Paulie asks Rocky what his attraction to his sister, Adrian, is.  Rocky replies “it fill gaps".  When asked what that means Rocky says “she’s got gaps, I got gaps; together we fill gaps". In the few areas that Chris has gaps, I fill them in  and, more importantly, Chris more than makes up for the areas in my life that I am lacking.  Yep, we beautifully fill gaps.

H - Married 5.5 Years:

I'd say that I think the whole "never go to bed angry" thing is a line of b.s. Because sometimes, getting the bed to myself is worth the fight.

Sometimes I daydream about being divorced, mostly as an escape from my in-laws, but then I remember he's my favorite. He's my team. He's my bff. He's the best dad there ever was (truly, I'd put him in any competition for that title with total faith he'd win). He's it.

M - Married 7 Years: 

M has been married for 7 years.  During their first year of marriage, she and her husband continued to enjoy all the activities they participated in while they were dating.  They also faced fertility challenges, but are now the proud parents of 4 year old identical twin boys.  Marriage is full of ups and down and requires a strong commitment to each other.

N - Married 6 Years :

1. Never share a bathroom sink.

2. Don't get anything smaller than a queen size bed.

3. Marriage is about comprises so if you  want him to make dinner you will have to give him "dessert" later. But trust me it will be your best meal.

4. Sex is always your wild card to fix a situation and/or get what u want.

5. Remember that he will be the one there with you through everything so don't be too hard on him but also don't be too easy. ;).


Another Awkward Week [8.14.15]

WOOOOO! Friday! I am having such a morning already. First I knocked over a cup of coffee in the kitchen just so that the spill ran all along the back of the sink, essentially creating like, a streaming river of Joe which ended in a water fall dripping behind the stove. COOL! Our paper towel roll was in that state where there was just like 1/2 of a towel clinging to the cardboard and I wasn't awake enough to like, get a dish towel or something else, so I just kind of swatted at the spill with the paper towel...still attached to the roll. It was pretty efficient. THENNNNNNN I walked all the way to the subway, only to realize I'd forgotten my wallet (again!) and had to walk allll the way back home and then alllllll the way back to the subway again, for a total of .9 miles before 8:30 AM and on zero coffee because I poured it all over the kitchen.

My life is the hardest. I've got 99 problems and 32 of them are spilling things, 26 are leaving my wallet behind, 1 is that I keep trotting out this trite Jay-Z lyric and the remaining ones are that I can't do mental math to get us back to 99.

But! A light shines at the end of the tunnel: ADVENTURE. Just as I was waxing rhapsodic about our own backyard, we're skippin' town. This Sunday is the one year anniversary of #hottwedding!!!

married lovers

Never Forget.

 We are taking a semi spontaneous trip to Portland (the Oregon one) to celebrate. WOO. We have a wedding in DC this weekend & were planning to spend a few extra days there to party with my other wifey, Maureen, because she's joining the Old Bitty 3-0 club on Monday (!!) and then we were going to like, rent a car and drive to the Eastern Shore or the mountains or something and we hadn't really figured out the plan and just a few weeks ago I came home from work and Brian greeted me at the door full of enthusiasm and said "screw it! If we're spending money and vacation days we're getting on a plane and having an adventure!!" and he'd found super affordable flights from DC to Portland, where we've been dying to visit (and will probably also die when we arrive - the day we had this convo was the day THIS hit the web and I was like UM HELL NO I will never go to the Pacific Northwest thanks bye but he managed to talk me into it. Can't resist that cute face.) and I think I'm still writing the same sentence? What a long sentence. Anyhoodle: We're off to Portland! We're usually super planny planners and worriers and not spontaneous adventurers and Brian in particular is usually so responsible, so it's EXTRA fun to have him tossing caution to the wind like this. He is so great. I am so happy I married him!!!! But you'll hear more of that barfsauce next week. 

So Portland!!! Have you been? Any tips? What should we see? Do? EAT? DRINK???? What books should I buy at Powell's?? Will you miss us if we're sucked into a landslide?? (It's totally not going to happen while we're there, right?!)

Just say right. 

Right!

So that's what's ahead! Before we hop that plane to the West Side, let's quickly look back at what was keeping it awkward this last week of my first year of marriage:

This Bus:

bus!

I use this app called BusTracker that's usually super duper up to date and correct, telling you down to the minute when the next bus is due to arrive at your stop and updating based on traffic and stuff. Saturday night I was going to meet a friend for dinner and I SWEAR BusTracker said the next bus was 17 minutes away so I just sort of noodled around the apartment for now more than like, 8 minutes, maybe 9, DEFINITELY not 16, and I checked again and it said the bus was coming in ONE MINUTE so I panicked and grabbed my purse and keys and sprinted out the front door only to see the bus pulling away from my stop. HALP.

But then I remembered I am a true athlete so I hiked up my super sporty maxi dress and straight sprinted to the next stop, purse flying, knocking babies and families out of the way and I TOTALLY made it just in time to burst through the bus door, where I then had to stand and catch my breath and rifle through my purse until I found my metro card and I was so sweaty and everyone was staring at me but I think they were proud of me, I really do.

Also this run was actually only two blocks so it's not nearly as impressive as I'm  making it sound. 

This Dress:

dress times

I bought this dress earlier this summer and wore it to an event and then .... did something with it and forgot I had it and then when I remembered again I could. not. find it! I searched high and low and low and high, all over our 600 square foot apartment (not that many hidey holes) and called my mom to see if I'd for some reason brought it to PA and left it there (spoiler alert: nope) and finally realized aha! I'd surely brought it to the dry cleaner, left it there and forgotten all about it.

So one night after work I popped into the dry cleaner six minutes before closing and approached the desk and was greeted by the young woman who works there and speaks very limited English (and, to be fair, I speak zero of her language so, you know) and super calmly and normally said "hello, I am here to pick up a black dress, here is my telephone number" and I was SO SO SOOOO proud of myself for not launching into some kind of long, insane overshare "Hi! Ok sooooooo I have this dress that I bought to wear to a memorial service, so sad, I know, thanks, but yeah anyway I have this dress and I can't find it and ... " and so on because that is my normal M.O. but this time I was calm and normal. 

UNTIL. She pulled up  my number which revealed that nope, the dress was not at the dry cleaner after all and I totally lost my normal and said "where oh where can that dress be?!" mostly just to myself but also out loud and the girl looked so sorry that she couldn't help me and started saying something about how she could try looking again and THEN I launched into my whole long overshare ramble and she just stared at me wide eyed until I yelled "OK THANKS BYE" and backed out of the store and sprinted the rest of the way home.

Anyway the dress was in my closet the whole time!!!! 

NEAT.

This Gloop:

gloop gloop gloopity gloop


This, my friends, is a bowl of slow cooked ribs c/o my pal Kamran and some coleslaw and YES I ate it for breakfast and no, I am not even remotely ashamed of that face. I am slightly ashamed that I then had to re-print a bunch of work documents because I got BBQ all over my desk but I will not apologize for eating whatever I feel like, regardless of the time of day.

If there is one thing I believe in, it is the importance of literacy and education for all. And if there's a second thing it is the declassification of particular foods being only appropriate for certain meals, breakfast in particular. WHO SAYS you can't eat ribs or brisket or ham sandwiches or mashed potatoes before 8 AM? Who? Is it in the Constitution? I feel like probably no. Why is bacon considered a morning food and chicken salad a lunch food and broiled salmon a dinner food? Just eat food! Why is it OK to eat maple sausage links with toast for breakfast but people would look at you weird if you ate italian sausage on a roll? IT'S THE SAME THING!! 

And most American breakfast foods are total crap nonsense. Cereal? WTF is the point of cereal. It tastes like nothing and keeps you full for 11 minutes and gets stuck to the bowl if you don't clean it fast enough. Pass.

And most other foods we consider breakfast approps are straight up dessert. French toast? That's cake. Pancakes? ACTUAL CAKE. Donuts??? Donut even get me started. Recently I was having a conversation with my sister wherein we were discussing muffins and I called them "sugar bombs" and she just gave me the snarkiest look and said "you're going to be a real fun mom."

Um duh. 

But seriously, guys, it is time for a breakfast revolution. We have made great strides as a progressive society - gay marriage! toys no longer labeled by gender! Caitlyn Jenner! - and yet we still live in a world where foods are lumped into meal specific categories and people are judged for eating outside of those limits. I say NO MORE! No more. Join me in this revolution. Breakfast Pork Chops for ALL! Eggs for dinner. Waffles for dessert where they belong and cereal for never because cereal sucks.

Someday our country can be great! Who's with me?

No one? That's fine. I'll be over here eating my turkey and pepper jack with spicy mustard and pickles on rye toast at 9:30 AM and don't even try to stop me.

Ok that spun wildly out of control. Quickly to work I must go so I can get that out of office UP and start putting a bird on it. What are you up to this weekend? Any big end of summer travel plans? More importantly: what did you eat for breakfast today????

xoxo Liz Hott 

Baby Fever!

Oh hey! How's everyone doing? Do you want to meet my new best friend? Of course you do!

lucy babyperfect

Hi! I'm Lucy Joan! I'm two months old and like, not to brag or anything but my doctor says I'm functioning at the level of a four month old. I'll be at Harvard by age 7 at the rate I'm going! My favorite things are sleeping, eating, snuggling, pooping through my cute overalls in public and my Cool Aunt Liz! 

BFF!!!!!!

That's right world, I'm an aunt. On April 29, 2015 my brother Michael and his girlfriend Kathleen welcomed Lucy Joan to the world, and another star sparkled in the heavens, she's so perfect. The only sad thing is that they live in Chicago so I don't get to see them every single day. 

IMG_3784.JPG

Lucy Goose has yet to make an appearance on le blog, I didn't want to violate her privacy without consulting her parents (even though like, 99.6% of the people who read this are related to me so I don't know why I thought it was time for some cyber security) but her parents have given me the green light to "fully exploit her" so exploit her I shall! Mommy bloggers get hella pageviews ... do you think there's a market for Auntie Blogs? Probably not? 

TOO BAD.

riverhead spokesbaby

I already have her working as a spokesbaby for Riverhead!  

The Goose is the best baby ever. Even Her Royal Highness Charlotte of Wales is jelly, she wishes she had half the class and charm as this American dame. Fun fact: Goose was born on Will and Kate's 4th wedding anniversary! Charlotte was born two days later. I was hoping they'd arrive on the same day and honestly, it's probably a good thing they didn't. If both my niece and the royal baby had been born on the same day AND it had been the anniversary of the royal wedding I probbbbably would have had an aneurysm. And now Lucy gets to be older and wiser and way, way cooler.

Also, you know what's a hard word to spell? Aneurysm. Yikes.

Here are some more gratuitous photos of The Goose because it's my blog and I'll baby spam if I want to. 

IMG_3486.JPG
goose and her daddy!!
IMG_3816.JPG

Also, I have a confession to make: I've got baby fever and I've got it BAD. I'd had some symptoms coming on lately - the yearning to speak in googoo talk, the pull towards the kids' clothing section in Target, the seeming magic ability suddenly be surrounded by babies or preggo ladies everywhere I look. I thought I was fighting it off but this visit to Goosie's house put me right into the Danger Zone.

I mean, how am I supposed to look at this cuteness and NOT want to get knocked up on the spot!?! 

OH MY GOD HELP ME

(Right before Lucy was born, Brian comes into the living room and says: "I've been thinking about it and I want to be called Tio Brian." What a weirdo. Impregnate me weirdo!!!!!) 

I have a fever and the only prescription is having or kidnapping a baby. 

Or more cowbell.

DON'T WORRY I have a Holiday Weekend intervention planned replete with therapies from a variety of schools, including the foolproof Kids Ruin This School (methods include sleeping in, having sex in the living room whenever we feel like it, looking at photos of exotic travel destinations on the internet), the FOMO Sciences (getting drunk with my childless friends) and the controversial Tiresome Toddlers Philosophy, wherein I'll hang out with a bunch of rambunctious 2 to 4 year-olds and be reminded that cooing sleepy two-month-old angels quickly turn into exhausting little human energy monsters. This method is risky in that I might find myself enjoying the toddler time, which will intensify my fever rather than quenching it.

Wish me luck, America.

In all seriousness though (I do occasionally get serious, you know) the whole parenting issue looms large and near in our lives. We're 30 (almost 31, yikes) and definitely want to start a family...someday. We know we're not ready yet, we have a few too many adventures we want to do together before unleashing a little Hott Baby into our lives, but when will we be ready? How can we possibly know?

Also we should probably not call our future child Hott Baby...that could get dicey. 

Because I'm a cool, calm, sane cucumber, I have our lives planned out for the next few years right up to the exact month and, if my cycle stays regular, day we'll begin trying for a baby. What a nutcase. I still haven't deduced the position we'll go for (think of all the fun new stuff Cosmopolitan can come up with between now and then!) but I've figured out pretty much everything else. We'll enjoy a few years of fun, travel and moneysaving and then we'll have one perfect babymaking session that is as productive as it is passionate resulting in mutual simultaneous orgasm, the likes of which are rarely seen outside of romance films and a baby on the very first try.  

And since life always, 100% of the time goes exactly just the way I want it, this will totally happen! How fun!

Except, of course, that's never how it happens at all. The more I think about the realities of life, the more I wonder if we might not need to move up our plan or change it altogether. Mainly the more I think about life, the more I worry in general. I have seen friends and family struggle with conception, miscarriage and other scary and heartbreaking fertility issues and I know how difficult it can sometimes be. We could get pregnant on the first try or the hundredth or never at all. How long am I willing to push it? What if we wait three years to start trying and then it takes two more to get knocked up. I'll be 35. I know that's not old but it's getting into a riskier zone. How risky am I willing to be? I know I want a few more years of child free fun, but I don't want to find myself looking back with regret. 

My friends and I talk often about this and we all wish there was some kind of test your gyno could do, so long as they're down there, draw some blood or scoop out an egg or something, that could get a sense of your fertility. That could tell you if you're a Fertile Myrtle who should keep her legs snapped shot or if you might have a harder go of it and should start trying or freezing your eggs like pronto

Wishful thinking, I know. But it sure would be nice! 

I read articles about this all the time and ask parents how they knew they were ready to have a baby and often there is no clear answer. No sign from on high or lightening bolt or twinge of the uterus saying "TIS TIME!" You just like, go for it and hope for the best. And we all know how good I am at just calmly going for things without knowing how they'll turn out. 

GAH!

B and I talked about this a bunch last night and for now, we're sticking to the plan with an addendum that we know it is flexible and we can revisit at any time and adjust as needed. I'm feeling good about it. So PROBABLY no Hott Baby for at least a little while longer. Don't get too fired up.

Until then, I'll just channel alllllll of my baby fever energy into spoiling my sweet Lucy Pants. 

BABY PERFECT ANGEL I LOVE YOU

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I MEAN HOW COULD YOU NOT WANT TO SPOIL THIS CHILD!!!!!!!! LOOK AT THAT FACE I'M DEAD BYE. 

Real talk for a hot sec: Are you a parent? How did you know when you were ready? I'm sincerely curious, I'd love to hear! 

XOXO and Happy Independence Day, America! 

Cool Aunt Liz 

Another Awkward Week [4.23.15]

Guten tag, friends! How was your week? How many hours did you spend watching Amy Schumer clips??? If the number is anywhere less than a grand...reevaluate. You can get started with a few of my faves here & here & here & here anddddddddd here

Oh and here

Basically just put up your out of office, type "A-m-y-s-c-h-u-m-e-r" into the YouTube search box thing, pour some vodka into your coffee and settle in. 

Susan. Boyle's. Toothbrush.

Anyyyway, what's up for the weekend? I'm suprem-o excited to be heading down to Pennsylvania tonight , my cousin Amelia is gettin' hitched tomorrow! I'm really looking forward to seeing family and tearing up the dance floor with all the Ho's. 

Butttt on the sad side, two friends are also getting married this weekend here in Brooklyn and, excited as I am for my sweet cousin, it's still a bit of a bummer to miss these other nuptials. This is actually one of two instances this year and four over the course of our relationship where we've had two weddings on one weekend and had to choose. 

It's so hard being so in demand! Basically my whole life be like: 

gretchen weiners bye

Preach, gurl. 

I know. So sad. HOW will anyone's wedding and life carry on without me there to drink all their champagne and flail around the dance floor? I hope they can find a way to cope. 

Enough about the future. Let's turn to the past and take a look at what was keeping it awkward this week. 

These Eggs:

egglesworth

You know what they say: if you want to make an omelet, you're going to have to break a few eggs. And you know what *I* say: the best way to do that is to ever-so-delicately pack them in their own grocery bag, so they don't get smushed by any of your other comestibles and then walk home wildly swinging said bag because god forbid you ever walk, like a normal human being and smash the bag into an errant tree-branch on the side of the road, effectively smushing all the eggs you worked so hard to keep unsmushed. 

Viola! Broken eggs = omelets and omelets = delicious.

YAY!

This Workout Ensemble:

work it and twerk it

Let's see what we have here. Sneakers? Check. Socks? Check. Sports Bra? Check! Top? Chec times two, apparently. Bottoms? Bottoms? Bueller? Anyone?

I hauled myself alllllll the way to the gym over lunch the other day (ok It's like on block away but still! It's the GYM! OVER LUNCH!), stripped down in the locker room andddd realized I had no bottoms.

Ugh.  Like basically anything else I could have just gotten away with, somehow and still squeezed in a workout but, much as I adore the pantsless life in the comforts of my own home, ain't nobody need to see that out in public.

I re-dressed and slunk out the same door I walked in just 2.4 minutes earlier. 

Maybe I'm just so fit, that's all I need!

There are so many times I slog over there hoping I'll find the gym has like, burned to the ground and I can just be like "too bad! At least I made an effort!" but this time I actually wanted to work it and twerk it and no dice.

My life remains the hardest.

These Peas:

peas!

The reason I'm so bajiggity on working out lately, aside from the sad but true fact that I'm super vain and concerned about looking "hot" in a bikini, is that I have committed myself to another half marathon. Why oh why do I do these things? I'll never know.

But I do. And so May 16th I'll be joining 8 million of my fellow New Yorkers for the Brooklyn Half Marathon. Woot. 

I'm horribly behind on training and not nearly as jazzed as I was the first time around, but I'm sure I'll still finish and not die. Meh. My bum bum has been totally fine until this weekend when it was just rocking with pain after a long run. I grabbed this bag of peas to sit on - as The Schmoops has taught me, there's no better way to heal a wound than chilling it with some frozen peas- and didn't realize the bag had been opened and then improperly closed and the next thing I knew, there were peas alllllllllllllllll over the kitchen and adjoining living room and probably also the bathroom and in our bed and everywhere. 

I thought I swept them all up but I keep finding effing thawed peas in every nook and cranny. They're like, the pine needle of the frozen veggie world. 

Also I have no one to blame but myself for this mess. One of our greatest disputes in our marriage is over food storage...I actively utilize chip clips and plasticware while someone else just throws uncovered food into the fridge all willy nilly. I'm not saying one of these methods is better than the other but, come one...my method is better.

And yet, last week I made pasta with peas and was too lazy to find a clip and just shrugged and shoved the bag back into the freezer and who paid for my poor decision? 

Me and only me. 

Again, my life? The hardest. 

Ok this was all kind of boring. I should have just stuck with the Amy Schumer links and shut 'er down. I just deleted a really long story about how I got drunk and sent Brian a bunch of texts that started racy and then devolved into me just begging him to make me a sandwich but then I remembered my readership is like 95% family and also he's a teacher and who knows how public this is and maaaaaybe I should stop talking about my sex life and get some boundaries (LOL boundaries? What??) soo I deleted it. But point of that story: I had a bit of an accidental Tuesday Boozeday the other night and Brian totally greeted me at the door with a homemade, piping hot, oooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich (with tomato!!) followed by, ahem, dessert (boundaries, Liz! BOUNDARIES!) and I know I'm going to cause spontaneous barfing here but sometimes I just grin and wonder how I got so lucky to land this guy. 

Vom, I know! 

sorry not sorry

Also sue me, I really love gifs. 

Theeee end. Have a splendid weekend, bitties! Don't drink and text! 

JK do, it's the funnest.

BYE! 

 

 

#HottsinVietnam Day Four: Sh*t Is About to Go Down...Literally

And we're back with the latest (and greatest?) installment in the Hott Honeymoon Adventures. Hold on tight because things are about to get explosive. 

And yes, I DO mean diarrhea. 

As we left off in the last post, we boldly feasted upon some tasty, if risky, street meat in Hanoi before drifting into the peaceful sleep of the innocent. Oh, if only we knew what lay ahead! 

The following morning we had an 8:40 AM flight from Hanoi to our next destination: Hue, Vietnam's old imperial capital city, about an hour flight away. (PS it's pronounced like Hway...like, you know that weird fancy accent some people put on their W's?) Brian woke around 4 feeling unwell, but reassured himself he was just imagining things...for about fifteen minutes, when he realized that nope, the pain was real. Then I began to feel the twinge. I thought it was my usual morning trots (yes, I have issues) but quickly realized we were in entirely new territory here, digestively speaking. Brian and I took turns in our hotel's tiny bathroom which, by the way, was about eight feet from the bed and oh yes, had GLASS DOORS.

glass case of emotion and poop

This here is the view we're working with, I texted this to my friend back home with just a whole bunch of poop emojis as the caption. Yes, OK there was a curtain you could pull and though that did obstruct the view it did little to protect from the sound. Our marriage crossed a whole new boundary that morning, guys. I don't think there's any going back. 

And this is just the beginning!

We managed to shove down some dry toast and water and made it to the airport without incident...well poop-related incident, that is - our driver may have taken us to the wrong terminal, leaving us scrambling around this foreign airport, light-headed and delirious, but that's neither here nor there. Brian had vommed, big-time, before leaving the hotel and was feeling pretty in the clear. Me, I was hanging by a thread. We boarded the plane and strapped in our seats and proceeded to sit in this stuffy tin can on the terminal for what seemed an eternity. All of a sudden I was cold and fuzzy and sweaty all at once and before I knew it, I was puking...all over the aisle floor. 

It was so bad, guys. Because of the language barrier I wasn't able to fully convey what was happening to the flight attendants and I was just mortified. I was also quite ill. I spent what seemed like an eternity crammed into a ball on the bathroom floor in the tiny space between the toilet and the the door, scared to venture too far from the john and lacking the energy to even try. Eventually I made it back to my seat and spent the rest of the trip asleep on Brian's lap.

Best part of this whole thing: across the aisle from us was a Vietnamese gentleman who looked like a business traveller and next to him was a youngish couple, the guy in the middle and his girlfriend at the window. I guess the girl was a nervous flyer because as we began our descent, SHE threw up! HA! The poor, poor, POOR man between us was just like, fuuuuuuuck my life. Just trying to do a little Thursday morning business travel and these idiots are literally vomiting all around him. 

Even in the midst of our food-poisoning-induced hazes, Brian and I managed a chuckle. 

We landed in Hue and were through the one-room airport in about 2 minutes flat, where a driver from our hotel met us in a gloriously air-conditioned van. I slept the entirety of the way into town and fell into bed the moment we arrived at our hotel. 

After an hour nap, showers and about 80 bottles of water, we were feeling somewhat refreshed, so we decided we'd venture out into town. Though the flight did add an extra layer of pain and complexity, this day really was the best of all days for us to be out of commish. We didn't have any activities planned, except a self-guided tour of Hue's Imperial City. My friend Anton had visited Hue and recommended we take a guided tour, as the City is huge and hard to navigate. I don't remember why we didn't take her up on her advice, it's so unlike us NOT to have something planned, but it turned out to be a weird blessing not to have any sort of schedule. 

We grabbed a picnic lunch of two  loaves of plain bread and yet more giant bottles of water and trekked from our hotel to the Imperial City, about a mile walk. The majority of the City was destroyed during the American War (which is what it's called in Vietnam, if you were curious!), but some parts still stand and have been renovated, so it's a strangely sad, beautiful mix of palaces and ruins. 

Imperial Palace in Hue

We did our best, I really think we did. We wandered a bit, taking frequent rests to guzzle water or pathetically nosh on bread and were OK while we were in the more restored section, with its benches and plentiful shade.

sad bread time
palace stuffs and things
pretty flowers
palace yo

But as we began to wander through the ruinous zones the situation verrry quickly deteriorated. It was one o'clock in the afternoon, 95 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. We were both dehydrated and ill. Brian had on long pants and I, wanting to be "modest" was wearing this ridiculous long, thick skirt. I once again began to feel as though I was just seconds away from vomiting, pooping my pants, passing out...or all three. We managed to find a bathroom in the back of the City grounds, next to an immaculately restored tennis court that was there for some inexplicable reason. The bathroom was pretty disgusting but did have a lovely shaded portico attached, so Brian and I spent the next half an hour sitting listlessly in the shade on the floor outside this smelly public lavatory, popping Target brand immodium like tic-tacs. 

immodium party!

Eventually we mustered enough energy to stumble back through the grounds to an exit, hail a taxi back to the hotel and slept the rest of the day. We awoke around dinner time and realized that some food might do us good - so far all either of us had in our systems was some dry bread and eight gallons of water - so we went out in search of something our bodies might not reject. The area we were staying in Hue was dubbed the "Backpacker Ghetto" by Lonely Planet and they were kind of right, all of the restaurants were clearly geared towards tourists with a strange mix of local delicacies and random Western foods: spaghetti, fish sticks, ice cream. We settled on a placed called Hot Tuna, grossest name ever, where Brian ate half of a steak sandwich and I ate one bite of a grilled cheese and then dry heaved in the bathroom. We went back to the hotel where I managed to keep down two small bananas and a cup of ginger tea and returned to our air-conditioned, comfy beds. 

All in all, an A+++ excellent, top-notch day!! Highly recommended, would do again!

Brian continues to claim he has no regrets about that fateful dinner but I don't know, man. I still can't even think about barbecued pork without getting the shakes. 

A friend of mine recently asked if our honeymoon was romantic and I came up kind of stumped. Thinking about it, don't know if that's the word I would use. It made me think back to a book I read while we were travelling (Ok, yes, it was Outlander again but let's all pretend it was something highbrow). Near the end of the book as the main character nurses her sick husband, there is the line "Not for the first time, I reflected that intimacy and romance are not synonymous." I came on this sentence a few days after Hue and had to laugh a bit to myself because we were fully in the mix of learning the difference.

So was this trip romantic? No not really! Our Fire Island mini-moon was romantic: sun, wine, sex, sleep, repeat, repeat, repeat. Romantic is not being jolted from sleep at 4:30 AM by the sound of your partner's loose stools cascading into the toilet five feet away from your head. But going through that while navigating stressful foreign situations and sleepless nights on cramped airplanes and heat rashes and bad moods and still wanting to jump each other's bones and spend every possible second together is its own beautiful thing - and I think that must be intimacy. And I'm OK with that! I'm glad we did all this together, I feel more and more like we're really and truly a team. 

Navigating the territory from romance towards intimacy is something that has scared me a bit about marriage. Movies and magazines will have you believe it's a treacherous, slippery slope from butterflies to boredom. That it's only a matter of time until the honeymoon is over and you're reading 50 Shades of Grey atop the spin cycle while your fat, lazy husband watches football in his man cave. And maybe that is how it goes and what lies ahead. Who knows. But I'm growing more and more OK with giving up a little bit of romance if it allows room for the intimacy. 

I mean, I still do want to jump Brian's bones like...all the time. 

Anddddd, my mom reads this. Hi mom! 

Anyway, that's some deep thoughts for your night! Long story long: we got the traveller's d and we got it bayd. We started our antibiotics as soon as we landed in Hue and were basically fine for the rest of the trip...if a little leery. Let this be a cautionary tale to any of you heading to parts unknown in the near future! Eat at your own risk. And locate the barf bag before you start to feel ill.

Just trust me. 

I was going to continue on to our second day in Hue but this is more than lengthy enough so I'll save that for next time. I promise this is the last time you'll have to read about diarrhea.

....until now: DIARRHEA!

Grow up, Liz. 

Bye! 

xoxoxo Liz Hott