Nancy Drew and the Missing Necklace

Any devoted reader of this here blog knows I love a good tale of mystery and suspense. I always have. I can recall being 8 or so on a family trip to Florida. My parents took us to a spring training baseball game and I spent the entire 9 (or is it 900?) innings laying on the bleachers, my face deep in the pages of a Nancy Drew novel. Next came Encyclopedia Brown, The Westing Game and soon I was ransacking the public library for any Mary Higgins Clark book I could get my freakishly long, bony mitts upon. To this day I can't scroll past a "13 Novels to Read if You Loved Gone Girl!" listicle without clicking through and buying at least one of the titles suggested, if not the full baker's dozen.

So it fills me with much glee to find myself in the middle of my very own crime caper! 

It all began this summer when I found a skeleton bured beneath the floorboards.  

Just kidding. That would be legitimately terrifying. And also probably more exciting than my actual mystery but you can't pick your hauntings, they pick YOU. 

It actually all began this summer when I decided to jazz up my wardrobe a bit vis a vis some cute artisan jewelery from the online retailer Etsy.com, specifically from a little shop out of Canada (eh!) called Vintage Acorn. My favorite in the bunch was a necklace with a wooden chevron on a long chain, a versatile piece that compliments everything, be it a professional dress at the office or jorts and a tank top at a music festival, as you can see pictured here in exhibit A: 

exhibit A

Photo shared as evidence that a) I owend and wore the necklace in question and b) after years of doubt, it turns off I can totally pull off a summer hat! 

I had this necklace on heavy rotation, sporting it a few days a week until one morning I went to toss it on and found the hook where it usually hangs was bare. I searched all of the usual spots - every single handbag, my gym bag, the pockets of all of my jeans. Nothing. I overturned the couch cushions, crawled under the kitchen table, pulled the dresser from the wall, turned my hamper upsidedown and vigourously shook it and nada! Well, I found dozens of pens, hundreds of bobby pins and enough loose change to put a down payment on a single family home in the suburbs but not the one thing I was looking for: my necklace. 

I was confounded! Where could it be? Our apartment is not that large, there was nowhere else to look. I swore the last place I'd worn it was to a Mets game (where once again, I watched zero seconds of the actual game, oh, how I've grown since childhood), and worried it must have broken on the commute home, lost forever, fated to become construction material for a new rat motel deep in the depths of the NYC subway system. 

A few days later I was meandering down my street when something caught my eye in a little clothes boutique across the way. Curious, I crossed over. And there I saw it, draped around the neck of a headless mannequin in the window: MY FLIMFLAMMIN' NECKLACE!!!

exhibit b

I couldn't believe my own eyes! It looked 100% exactly like my necklace, right down to the gold chain which I sometimes worried was too shiny, but HOW did it end up in that store? Did they break into our house and only walk away with one $15 artisan small batch Etsy necklace? SEEMS DUBIOUS. And yet...

Suddenly memories rushed back to me, like I was that guy in Memento getting over his amensia or whatever. IDK I've never actually seen that movie. I had completely forgotten that after the baseball game, in a low self-esteem frenzy, I had frantically swept through a few stores, on a hunt to find a new dress for a wedding the following weekend. I was going to be seeing a bunch of folks I hadn't seen in years, and thus decided I needed to fully reinvent myself sartiorially and otherwise by spending a lot of money on a new dress I didn't need. (Spoiler alert it did not work and I just wore a dress I already owned and was my usual wine-soaked, weird self, but also now with a $140 Anthropologie dress that I don't even like burning a hole in my bank account. Someone plz remind me to return that before the month is up!)

And then it all made sense. I must have taken off the necklace while in the dressing room and forgotten to put it back on when leaving. It could even have gotten tangled with one of the dresses I'd tried and been mistaken for merchandise. I'm not accusing this store of stealing, per se, but I'd swear on a dogeared copy of Moonlight Becomes Her that was my necklace.  

I sprinted home armed with cold, hard, grainy iPhone photo evidence that the greatest heist of all time was happening right under my very nose. And I was going to crack the case.

The next day I dressed myself in my cofidence outfit - jorts (natch) and a grey t-shirt (double natch) with the word "unapolagetic" emblazoned across the front in black script. The tee is made my a designer and blogger I admire, Jolie Ankrom, a mantra and a reminder to stop apologizing, to be more fearless. 

I took a deep breath and marched into the store and...immediately apolozied. 

"I'm SO sorry, I know this is going to sound crazy, but I can't find my necklace anywhere and I think it's here, in this store? Like, for sale? Over there? SORRY FOR BOTHERING YOU."

I yammered, I stammered. I finally got to my point. She politely (perhaps too politely, covering up her obvious criminal guilt???) opened the cash register to reveal a drawer full of lost jewelery. Was any of it mine?

NO but also all of it was ugly so of course you would hide it an not try to re-sell it. You think you're a criminal master mind? 

I'M ON TO YOU.

Finally I got her to take me over to the manequin and show me the necklace. It did not have a price tag (!) or anything identifying the designer (!!) but she assured me it was store stock - from a shipment that had arrived "Tuesday or Wednesday, I think?"

TUESDAY OR WEDNESAY! That is some pretttty conveninet timing, considering I'd been in on Sunday. 

Nothing was adding up but, what was I to do? I realized I had one card left to play, to demand to see their invoices, proving they'd actually purchased the necklace. Nancy Drew so would've done it, and probably uncovered some document forging in the process. But I folded.  Maybe if it was my wedding ring or some priceless family heirloom I would have pushed for it, but I decided that a $15 Etsy necklace, cute as it may be, was perhaps not worth launching a full-on slander attack and criminal investigation of a lovely local botique.

I apologized, again, for taking up her time and slunk out of the store, defeated. It was then that I realized my "confidence shirt," the one with the bold UNAPOLOGETIC slogan had been inside outthe whole time. GOOD GRIEF. I mean, what would you do if a deranged woman marched into your store with her clothes on the wrong way and started stuttering about stolen jewelry? I'm lucky she didn't call the cops on ME! 

When I got home, I did a little more searching and convinced myself that my life as a crimefighter was over, I'd just lost my necklace myself, case closed. 

BUT! The next day I couldn't help crossing by on that side of the street, just out of curiosity and when I came to the window, the necklace was gone! They still had the same outfit on display but they'd changed out the necklace. Every single other manequin was dressed exactly the same, accessories and all, the one and only thing amiss was a new necklace, in place of the one I suspected to be mine.

COINCIDENCE? Ok, probably yes. 

ORRRRR, I was right the whole time! They are running a largescale crime ring, re-selling the jewels left behind by flaky neighborhood ladies making frenzied shopping sprees after consuming a few too many gigantic beers at Mets Stadium. It's genius! Right under our noses like that, who would suspect a thing?? 

They were getting away with it but I got too close. They saw me sniffing around and knew the product was hot and they needed to get rid of the evidence, and fast. 

But I'll get the last laugh. If I've learned anything from a lifetime of consuming mysteries it is that no crime can stay buried forever. I can wait. I live right across the street and have no hobbies and plenty of time on my hands and soon enough they'll slip up and oh, the case will be finally closed. 

In the meantime, I'll be keeping my detective skillz polished by hiring out my investigative services. Any takers? If interested, email me anytime, no case is too big, too small,  or too clearly imaginary for me! 

Sincerely Yours,

Liz HottSauce, P.I. 

 

 

 

Thumbs Up Time Machine

Notice anything...deeply creepy about this photo?? 

Notice anything...deeply creepy about this photo?? 

I've been thinking a lot lately about time travel. Not the science of it or anything (why waste precious brain space on science when you could fill it with useless Hollywood gossip) but just, you know, the theoretical idea of it. Like, would you do it, if you could?

The reason behind all this introspection is, of course, television. Brian's deep into 11.22.63, the Hulu adaptation of the Stephen King novel and I'm deep into reading internet think pieces about the new season of Outlander and attempting to find some kind of Starz hookup. Anyone out there want to help a sister out? I need my fix! 

Anyway, I'm very curious. If there was some kind of science that allowed you to travel backwards - or forwards! - in time, would you do it? Where would you go? And why? 

There often seems to be some kind of moral component to it, you know, go back and hug Jesus or kill Hitler or, in the case of 11.22.63, prevent the assassination of JFK. So much PRESSURE! Like, who wants to be responsible for the whole of humanity? Hard pass. Me, I think I lean more towards the Outlander school of time travel, just go back in time and bang hot Scottish farmers. I could be into that. Time travelling = the new Vegas! What happens in the past, stays in the past. 

Just kidding, you know Brian and I made a pact that we would only ever time travel together. 

Sitting here now, I know exactly where I'd go first. The time: Monday, April 11, 2016 - that's right, just two days ago - at about 5:12 PM. The place: my office. Moments from now a gal I work with, let's call her Veronica, will walk down the hall towards me. She has just received a promotion and I want to commemorate her achievement. 

"Hey, Veronica," I'll call out, while simultaneously pointing at her in the infamous "finger guns" position. And then, simply "congrats," as I transform from finger gun to a vigorous thumbs up. I'll stand there, staring at her, grinning weirdly, thumb way up like I'm the goddamn Fonz, saying nothing further.  I'll become fixated on by own weird hand motions, decide that too much time has now elapsed to keep this conversation going, that there is but one possible course of action: to flee the scene. 

This is how it really went down, but! Oh would that I could travel back in time I'd stop myself moments before. "Hey, Veronica," I'd call out, keeping my hands and arms in a casual, gun-free stance. "Congrats!", my thumb remaining firmly in a relaxed position. Maybe I'll have one hand jauntily cocked on a hip or my arms crossed or, I don't know, gang what do people do with their arms when they talk? Please tell me now because the moment I figure out some time travel technology,  I'm heading riigght back in time for a hot second and doing it right. 

That is all I want. I'm not slick enough to kill Hitler or save JFK or, let's be honest, seduce a Scottish farmer. I would just welcome the opportunity to re-do a few of my less socially graceful moments. Is that too much to ask? Also, those big things always seem to have ramifications, otherwise known as The Butterfly Effect, otherwise known as a masterpiece of a major motion picture starring future Oscar Winner Ashton Kutcher, where changes in the past affect the present and ... dun dun dunnnnnnn, never in a great way. Again: way too much pressure. All I want to do is slip back in time and create a world where I never gave anyone a thumbs up in public. I'll re-emerge in a present that is exactly the same, except everyone's just like "man, that Liz Ho is one cool cucumber who definitely knows how to handle herself in social situations." 

What a world! 

That or I'd go back to the moment they were casting James Franco in this 11.22.63 show because, no offense JF fans but homeboy can not act. 

Srsly, though - where would you go?

Thumbs Up!

Liz Ho 

 

Mo Money, No Problems

treat yo self hottsauce powerball

As basically anyone with eyes, ears and a facebook page is likely aware, the Powerball lottery is currently topping out at 1.5 billion dollars. I usually avoid these sorts of shenanigans - what are the chances, really?! - but gosh, that’s a lot and it’s kind of fun to get swept up in the madness, so I stopped at the newsstand in my office building on the way out of work and handed over $10 in exchange for five chances to win. Five out of how many, total? I’m not even going to venture to guess.

There are now about two hours to go until the lottery is drawn and Brian and I are trying to decide what we’ll do with our winnings.

First things first: pay off my student loans.

Ok, no. The VERY first thing we'll do is take out a whole bunch of cash, all in hundreds and throw it all over the bed and have sex on top of it. 

And thenI'll pay off my student loans. I am not beginning my ritzy new life with that albatross around my neck. I’d pay off my siblings’ loans too (even my brother’s law school!) and my mom’s mortgage. And then probably buy her a beach home and a new car and anything else she could ever want, so she can retire and just live a life of leisure. Honestly if anyone’s making out like a bandit from these winnings, it’s The Schmoops. She’ll be living like royalty without all the taxes and winner’s guilt and such.

So, then! A house of our own, here in New York. The West Village and Brooklyn Heights are utter dreams,  but we like to be close to the park so we can run. Maybe we’ll relocate to Manhattan, get one of those penthouses overlooking Central Park. But Manhattan’s like, over, right? So we’ll stay right here in Park Slope, just lightly upgrade to something bigger, brighter, maybe with a deck?

“And a washer/dryer of our very own!!!” I yelped with glee, before realizing I could hire a whole army of laundry minions to take pick up my soiled garments off the floor and hand wash them, piece by piece by piece before steaming and hanging perfectly in my closet.

MYcloset! MY OWN WALK IN closet that I don’t have to share with my husband!  I’ll be like one of those House Hunters wives, sweeping through massive closets and simpering “this will do for my shoes, at least...where will you store your things, honey?”

Oh, I’ll be insufferable.

But it’ll be fine because he will have a closet of his own where he can line up row after row after row of perfectly pressed Uniqlo button downs.

Or maybe even JCrew button downs! And not even JCrew Factory but real true JCrew, right out of the catalog. And me, I’ll start buying full price designer jeans that are actually long enough for my legs, instead of $19 pairs that stop mid-calf. I certainly won’t stop shopping at Old Navy, though, I could never leave them behind.

Maybe I’ll BUY Old Navy! I’ll become the new CEO of Old Navy, that’s what I’ll do. We couldn’t decide if we’d keep working or not - we both think we’d go mad just sitting around, doing nothing. Brian thinks he’ll start his own non profit education organization, helping low income kids get a leg up. If he really wants, he could still teach a math class or two. I figured I’d go like, mega Ann Patchett, buy up a string of indie bookstores all across America, while also running some kind of literacy non-profit. I think I could juggle all of that while still running Old Navy, yeah?

I mean, I’ll have plenty of staff. A personal assistant making my doctor’s appointments and things. The laundry minions. A cook! We won’t stop cooking all together, but think a part-time chef would be helpful. Think of the time I’d save on my meal prep. All the hours I waste messing up the kitchen trying to make weekday lunches, I could now pour into my various careers and charity endeavors. Oh and we'll be so healthy too. Maybe we’ll go vegan! Imagine all the green juices one could drink if one didn’t then have to clean up the goddamn juicer afterwards.

Obviously unspoken no duh expenditure: a personal trainer. Gwyneth will weep at the sight of my triceps. I’ll get my hair colored by a real professional stylist. Maybe get those eyelash extensions, too?

Also and I wish this was a joke but dead serious the first thing that came into my head when I was pondering absurd expenditures was laser hair removal, especially on the bikini zone. I’ll finally be rich enough to afford regular waxes but won’t even need ‘em because I’ll be so rich, I zapped it all off.

(Yes it’s a sad state of affairs for the modern woman that the first and best use I can dream up for my billions is pube management.)

Anyway, I’ll need to be all sleek and silky smooth for all the bikinis I’ll be rocking on various beaches. We considered buying a beach property somewhere, but we don’t want to feel tied down, so instead we’ll just vacation whenever we please, wherever we please. New cities every year. Every month! We’ll take our friends on extravagant getaways with us, rent out whole villas. Buy the best wines, the richest cheeses, the ripest fruits.

Oh and I’m never even looking at a coach seat on an airplane again. First class or bust, baby! With extra champagne.

We will NOT buy our own plane, because private jets seem to crash at an alarmingly higher rate than commercial and I did not win all this money just to meet some tragic John Denver fate.

RIP John Denver.

Maybe we’ll buy Denver! The city, I mean. Can someone own a city? Do we want to own a city? Brian briefly tossed around the idea of going full Bloomberg. You know, investing a lot, reviving a city and then running for Mayor of New York, but then we remembered that being the Mayor of New York carries a lot of, you know, responsibility, and we’re just not down for that.

I suppose in exchange for Mayorship, I might finally let Brian get a dog, now that we can afford someone to walk it while we’re at work or over in Tuscany, overseeing our vineyard.

Oh right, I forgot to mention: we’re buying a vineyard! Wine for life! What should we call it? Hott Wine sounds like garbage juice. BriLiz Vitners? Billion Dolla Grapes?

I kind of like that last one.

We will, of course, set up all sorts of scholarships and funds and donate to lots of charitable organizations and the like. And we’re considering becoming a two man Shark Tank Team, investing in lots of weird startups and inventions.

And we’re going to need to watch Shark Tank, you know for research, so we’re going FULL cable, bitches. HBO, Showtime, Starz, fuzzy local channels that only play Korean Christian music videos, we’re getting ‘em all.

Our kids will go to the finest schools in the city but somehow we’ll manage to keep them grounded and save them from turning into little Chuck Bass monsters. How? Who knows. We have plenty of time (and money!) to figure that out.

(Also, based on how quickly and dramatically our conversation veered from fun what-if daydreams into dramatic hand-wringing over the price of raising children - how much do diapers cost?? Where will our kids go to daycare? HOW WILL WE AFFORD ALL THESE SOCCER CLEATS!!! - it looks like we may need to actually win this lottery before procreating.)

We’ll have a country home too, somewhere nearby where we can escape the hustle and bustle of the city. We’ll get a car, I suppose, though I’m such a shit driver, I imagine we’d have to hire a chauffeur. A chauffeured car seems like the ultimate douche move but it’s either that or live with the constant risk of me running into a stone wall or guard rail or the Empire State Building or something so...full douche it is!

We’ll live like kings, but nice kings, whose subjects adore them. There will be no Marie Antoinette beheadings in our lottery life. We’ll keep it real, like JLo, not get fooled by the rocks that we’ve got. We used to have a little, now we have a lot, but no matter where we go, we’ll know where we came from.

(A perfectly fine upper-middle class yuppie life, TBH.)

And that’s what we’ll do, when we win! All we have left to decide is which brownstone we’ll buy and, of course, which AM TV program to visit first. I’m deciding between GMA (top ratings!) and CBS This Morning (luh that Gayle King) and Brian says, and I quote “I want no media attention” to which I replied, and again I quote “bitch, please.” You will see me - spray tanned and perfectly coiffed - all up on the cover of People Magazine, my friends.

All.

Up.

On.

Will I keep blogging, you ask, after I (erm, we) win my (OUR!!) billions? A fair question, but only time will tell. I mean, I barely blog now, as a regular old poor, and I can’t guarantee how much time running Old Navy will require (literally what does a CEO do?? Executively Officiate? What does that even mean?!) but I’ll do my best to continue to bless the internet with my wit and charm, even after I’m richer than god.

And by god I obviously mean Beyonce. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must dash off to Christie’s Auction House. Those Picassos are not going to bid on themselves!

Ciao, darlings!

xoxo Liz Hott

liz lemon make it rain hottsauce gif powerball






All I Want for Christmas...

Nsync Christmas YES

For Justin Bieber to come to my house and sing “Love Yourself” over and over and over until I get tired and kick him out

A wizard to tell me what my future looks like and assure me my choices are the right ones

The perfect pair of jeggings - not too short, not too long, not to high-rise, not too low-rise, on-sale for $12

An Instagram filter that makes my torso look like Adrianna Lima’s

A washer/dryer in my own home  

Fifteen minutes of no strings attached, no questions asked alone time with Idris Elba

Socks

A cameo role in the upcoming Gilmore Girls re-boot

And, of course, World Peace