She's Cheer Captain and I'm on the Bleachers

Oh HELLO there. And how are you? I know I've been absent from this blog for quite some time but I return to you a new woman! During my time away, I experienced a transcendent spiritual awakening. I traveled a great distance to join thousands of fellow acolytes in worship of a great and powerful figure, one with the strength and conviction to compel the masses and lead us into a brighter future. Joined together in spirit we stood, enraptured, some crying tears of joy, others screaming in exaltation, yet others rendered unable to speak for the glory of it all, humbled by the presence of this blessed being, known to some as The Holy One and others as simply Taylor Swift.

 Photo via USA Today

Photo via USA Today

What did you think I went to see the pope or something? Have we met? 

No, no I just packed up my cowboy boots and hot pants and, along with my BFF / FBW (Facebook wife, duh) Maureen, made the pilgrimage to Music City USA, Nashville, Tennessee to see our gal.  

If you ever get the opportunity to see Taylor in concert, I can not recommend it highly enough. Unless you don't like her in which case, yeah, no don't do that you'll hate it. The whole thing is just a complete love fest spectacle. Lasers! Photos of cats! Light up glow bracelets! Awkward stage sets that bring to mind the Rockette Christmas Show! AND MORE!!!!! In between sets, Taylor goes off on earnest, impassioned, long (maybe a little too long - love you girl but brevity is a virtue!) speeches about following your heart and love and haters and cynicism and friendship and the audience screams and screams and cries (no? just me?) and it's wild.

Lindsay Zoldaz wrote a great recap of one of Taylor's early shows in New Jersey that perfectly sums up the whole scene, deeming Taylor the Cheer Captain of the Universe

"Projecting a lifestyle that’s more aspirational than relatable, Swift has finally ascended to a level where she’s no longer believable as her fans’ imaginary best friend, even though she still wants the best for them. She’s transitioning into a role that’s something more like their fairy godmother, or — as she continues to shed the sparkly tulle of her adolescence and focus her shrewd eyes on dividing and conquering — maybe she’s on her way to becoming their Oprah."

Pretty much! 

At times it's really saccharine and kind of over the top but I'm all in. Even if you find Oprah to be pandering and schmaltzy you can't deny that she's helped a lot of fans find ways to empower themselves and the same for Taylor. Yes she's nuts but her particular brand of nuts has a lot of young women (and men!) (but mostly women!) to feel like it is OK to be earnest and enthusiastic and nice and just a little bit weird and those are all virtues I treasure dearly so if she's the Oprah of the next generation, I'm all in.

ALSO her music is amazing and she's really, really, REALLY pretty and I love her, guys. I love her. 

At the show, lots of fangirls wear elaborate costumes inspired by Taylor's songs or outfits - some even including LED lights so they glowed down at Taylor from the balcony. It was awesome! I had high intentions to put together something fuh-lawless but life got in the way and I never got my shit together. Oh well.  But OHH the winner of the night was dear Maureen, who wore the most A+ of ensembles, this spot on replica of one of Taylor's costumes from the show: 

FullSizeRender (5).jpg

Actual twinsies!!! People kept coming up to her all night gushing with compliments. 

(And yes, I look like a 14-year-old circa 2008 and I feel pretty great about it, thanks!)

So the show. The opening acts were Vance Joy (great!) and Haim (SUPER great!), which is either pronounced like "Hi, I'm" smushed together really fast or "hah-eem," depending on who you're asking. I'm still not sure! I am, however, very sure that they are RAD. Big fan!

And thennnnnnn and then. The hour of our lord was upon us!! The lights went down, the bass began to boom and the crowd lost their collective shit and THERE. SHE WAS. 

 Photo via Billboard.com

Photo via Billboard.com

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 

Our goddess! 

Taylor primarily performed songs from 1989 (if I need to clarify what that 1989 is...we may not get along) with a few greatest hits thrown in there, including her oh-so-classics "Love Story" and "You Belong to Me." Her stage is set like a runway and she struts up and down, up and down and dances a little and flips around and I swear to you, DOES NOT BREAK A SWEAT. 

Not a single drop!

And her hair, that perfect choppy, swishy bob that I covet OH I COVET (even though I think curly hair is the best hair and would never want straight hair, how boring!) stayed pristine. The whole time!!

Yes we were prettttttty far away, but they had cameras projecting her at close range onto big screens and you could tell she wasn't even lightly perspiring. Not even a dewy glow, much less the greasy, sweaty mess any mortal would be after that amount of strutting and singing. 

Is she an alien? 

MAYBE!

Take me to your home planet, Taylor!! 

It is Taylor's custom now to bring out surprise ("surprise") guests during every show (this video parody is a MUST WATCH) and we spent most of the last weeks speculating who she might have join her in Nashville. We assumed she'd go back to her country roots (and by "country roots" I mean "she's from Allentown fricking Pennsylvania" but her pretending to be southern is one of those things I find annoying about her so I have to ignore it to preserve our relationship) (and by "relationship" I mean "she has no idea who I am.")  (And by "could you use any more parenthesis?" I mean) (watch me go.) We had high hopes for the following: Faith Hill and-slash-or Tim McGraw,  Connie Britton, Lennon and Maisie or any of the cast of Nashville EXCEPT Hayden Pannetierre (no offense HP!), Ryan Adams (whose 1989 cover I adore, but do find troublesome in its reception, this is such a great criticism!), Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood or our dream of dreams, either Dolly Parton or Reba Mcentire. 

Any Reba fans out there?! Just us? Fancy

In the end she delighted us with a truly random smattering of treats. First, some up and coming CMT star named Kelsea Ballerini who seems like she's basically the Hayden P character from Nashville, total country pop nonsense.

AKA I love it.

And THEN, after a long introduction about his many awards and millions of albums sold and various hall of fame inductions she brings out a one Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame. Sure why not!! He played "Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" which was PERFECT for his audience of current and former teenyboppers who likely couldn't name any other Aerosmith songs (guilty as charged!) (No wait! "Dream On!") but DO have fond, fond memories of the hit film Armageddon in which this jam was featured. Fun fact: I saw that movie in the drive in for my 14th birthday party. 

Maureen and I basically clutched one another the entire time, scream-sang the lyrics and wept for the memories of poor Bruce Willis. He just wanted to make his daughter proud!!!!

Finally she welcomed to the stage actual bluegrass legend Alison Krauss and they did a truly gorgeous duet of "When You Say Nothing At All" with Alison on the fiddle and Taylor on the piano and it was (insert two thumbs-up emojis riiiiight here.)

The following morning, Taylor instagrammed a photo of herself and Alison on stage and I commented, saying "Taylor you and Alison were amazing together I love you!!!!" or something equally dorky and within moments someone replied to my comment, and I quote: "please do not compare Alison Krauss and Taylor Swift. Alison Krauss has an amazing voice with an incredible range. Taylor Swift is mediocre at best."

Mediocre at best!!!

Cool!

This is representative of a phenomenon I find utterly fascinating, well, two worlds: social media fandom and comment trolling. You see it all the time, people making really mean comments to celebrities (or reggos!) on their social media feeds, or getting into fights with one another in the comments sections of posts. I SORT OF get the concept of getting into heated internet discussions about politics or current events (I said sort of, do these ever result in minds changed?) but if you hate Taylor Swift so much, why are you creeping around in her instagram at 8 AM on a Saturday making insults and getting defensive with random other commenters? Do you really have nothing better to do with your life? It makes me laugh and also  makes me kind of scared for the future of the world. Get it together, world.

The following night, Taylor first "Welcomed to the Stage" Leona Lewis of "Bleeding Love" fame (what's she been up to since that song?) and then brought down the house with none other than Mick Jagger.

MICK JAGGER! What! What are you doing there?! 

 Photo via USA Today

Photo via USA Today

He's definitely a cooler person than anyone we got to see but I'm not that sad about it because those 4 minutes of belting the Armageddon theme song are 4 minutes I'll treasure forever.

Also if Mick Jagger had played the first night, this amazing grandma wouldn't have gotten a chance to see him and that would be the saddest! 

This story is SO LONG I have completely lost track of what I'm even talking about. Basically Taylor is amazing and this was the best night ever. After the concert, there were literal fireworks over Nashville, our collective post concert glow bursting in midair.

Sparks fly, you might even say!

 Photo via ME!&nbsp;

Photo via ME! 

And that was THAT. Again I say, if you get the chance to see Ms. Swift, I can't recommend it highly enough.

And also if you get the chance to go to Nashville, you should probably do that too. It's kind of a ridiculous place but in a very good way!

Nashville is full of acclaimed restaurants and interesting shops and quaint neighborhoods which is my usual go-to travel scene but wahoooops, we didn't really do any of that. We DID go to Hattie B's for famous Nashville Hot Chicken with my sweet friend Nikiand her sweet pup Mary Todd Lincoln (full name), who has her own instagram if you're into that kind of thing. Trust me, you are. Even if you are like me who is, at best, agnostic towards pets (like, they're there I guess, I just don't see the point of it all) you will be SMITTEN within seconds. 

And we dined at this sort of trendy restaurant and poked our heads into this park to see a large replica of the Parthenon (sure, Nashville, makes sense) but otherwise we mostly just wandered around the super touristy Broadway strip and drank and drank and drankkkkk. 

And it was really fun!!!

 very blurry photo via drunk strangers, thanks guys!!!!!

very blurry photo via drunk strangers, thanks guys!!!!!

You might not know this about me (LOL you totally do) but I'm kind of a huge snob sometimes and I'll admit when we first arrived I turned my nose way down on the Honkey Tonk scene, thinking it basic at best, trashy at worst. But THEN!!! Like a moth to a flame, I was drawn in and within a few minutes of sipping cheap beer and bopping my head to live country music I was HOOKED and now I'm all in. Maybe there's a little bit of a trashy basic B in all of us and we'd do well to stop being so uptight and embrace it, girl.

Pep talk to mah-self! 

Next time I go to Nashville I'll hit up the classy joints...mainly because I don't think my old body could withstand another night of Brodway Honkey Tonk hopping. I swear to Taylor, you guys, I'm STILL hungover ... 72+ hours later.

A world of woof! 

Soooo yeah, I guess I come back to you as mainly the same person, albeit one who is now even more obsessed with TSwizz than she was last week (a feat in and of itself!) and also, if the pattern of the last three days is to persist, one who now has a permanent hangover. Which is to say, a way worse version of myself!

Probz should have just stayed here and hung out with the pope.

NAH. 

roses are rad, etc

THE END. Roses ore rad, guys. And so ore YOU!!! 

xo Liz Hott 

 

 

BREAKING NEWS!!!!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this breaking public service announcement: In Season Two, Episode One of the prestige HBO drama True Detective, there is an eight second close-up of Tim Riggins' bare, beautiful behind.

ALERT

ALERT

ALERT

This man.

taylor kitsch butts naked hot

AHEM. 

hot hot hot

But minus those pesky jeans. 

Ladies, gays and enlightened straight men who can appreciate the wonder of the human form without getting all "no homo," you're going to want to get yourselves an HBO Go password on the double and fast-forward right to the 42:19 mark...though there's some solid shirtless Riggins in the minutes preceding, so for a real good time, go ahead and start tuning in around 41:30.

Trust me when I say, it's everything you've dreamed of. And maybe even more.

And yes I KNOW Tim Riggins isn't his real name, that's a fictional character he played on a tv show like 7 years ago but just let a girl live, OK. 

(You can also view some stills here, if you're a creep like that.) (By "that" I cuh-learly mean "me.") (NSFW obv obv obv.) 

OK PSA over. Carry on with your lives again. If you haven't died of sheer lust, that is. 

BYEEE. 

 

500,000 Candles in the Wind

Flags today are at half mast, as America bid farewell to a beloved icon last night.  

Leslie Knope

Ok they're not really...but they should be. Leslie Knope. We barely knew 'ye. 

It's been a devastating winter, guys. I am still reeling from Parenthood going off the air and now Parks and Recreation?! I just don't know what to do with myself anymore! I mean, get hobbies or volunteer or read books or whatever but come on: no. 

I was planning to celumourn (celebrate while mourning, duh) the P&R finale the same way I did 30 Rock (still not over that one), by gathering my nearest and dearest for a viewing party chock-o-block full of thematic foods, weird clip art and a mandatory costume requirement that NO ONE follows, so I'm the only nerd wearing fake glasses and a Liz Lemon blazer.

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I had a whole menu and invited people and errrythang but then it turned out that NBC was airing the finale at TEN in the PM so we all had to cancel, that's just not really a humane hour to socialize on a school night. Or ANY night. 

30 is the new 90, my friends. Live it up.

Brian and I did bring a taste of Pawnee to the Hott Homestead. For dinner we indulged in a little "fast casual Italian dining," with some homemade calzones inspired by my boy Ben Wyatt. Tom Haverford may get all the best lines and Ron Swanson is and will remain an American Hero and Leslie Knope is my role model in life (and her real- life human counterpart Amy Poehler is my actual human role model) but Ben Wyatt is the unsung hero of P&R and the throbbiest of heart throbs as far as I'm concerned. I knowwww he's not real but I LOVE him. 

I mean...slim. Mathematical. Big fan of plaid shirts. 

piday

One MAY go so far as to say I have a type.

And Ben and Leslie are totally my relationship idols, too. Again, I know they're fake but they're just so dang great. They genuinely care for each other and support each other and encourage one another to be the best they can be - even if their best is a little weird. Their wedding vows of "I like you and I love you" are perfect and I KNOW I am the dorkiest of the dorks but my favorite thing about this show was the importance they placed relationships - friendships, marriages, "work proximity associates" - and though it's just a fun TV comedy it is also, to me, a genuine inspiration to nurture and foster strong relationships in real life, too. So with no shame, WWLABD (What Would Leslie And Ben Do) is my marriage motto for lyfe. 

See also, this video. Replace Leslie with me and Ben with Brian and this is basically our whole life. (Our names even start with the same letters!!!!) 

I'm so embarrassing.

We rounded out our thematic meal with friendship waffles (organic, $5 a box, I love Brooklyn) and homemade whipped cream for dessert.

friendship waffled

If you're a fellow P&R nerd, check out #wafflesacrossamerica for some fellow superfans. If you're not a fellow P&R nerd, I can't even imagine why you're still reading this! Get a life!

Ok that's my story, RIP Parks and Recreation. Bye Bye, Lil' Sebastian...and everyone else. Thanks for all the laughs and the love and inspiration!! I miss you already. 

And as a fun treat for all of you, here is a heavily improvised, wildly delicious calzone recipe that is so easy even Gerry/Garry/Larry could make it.

BEN WYATT'S CALZONES OF LOVE

ben calzones

(Low Calzone Zone image via...I have this printed and hanging on my bulletin board at work, ha) 

Total cooking time...30 minutes ish?

Serves: We used approx one pound of dough, it made 4 small calzones which served us for one dinner with one 'zone leftover

Ingredients:

  • Bunch of pizza dough, ideally purchased from your local pizzeria. Did you know you can do this? $2! And delicious!! Or you could buy some from the grocery store orrrr you could make your own and normally I'd be all in on the homemade option but I just can not bake to save my life and really can't be trusted not to make a mess with that much flour and sometimes, why bother, you know? Just buy it from an expert. But if you want to make dough, make dough.  Just do you! 
  • Tub of ricotta cheese (to be pronounced RUH-COTTA-UHH unless you are fresh off the boat, you know how I feel about this
  • Bag of shredded mozzarella (again, pronounced MOTZARELLLLA, I don't allow any of that moootttzzzarelll shit i my kitchen) 
  • One egg
  • Dried basil & dried oregano 
  • Whatever you want for filling: We did peppers, onion and mushrooms. You could add some sausage, some broccoli, spinach, shredded chicken, cat food. GO NUTS. 
  • Lil bit of flour
  • Lil bit of olive oil

Directions: 

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine a big blob (approx 1/2 a cup) the ricotta and like half a bag of the mozz with JUST the yolk from the egg. This is probably the hardest part of this whole recipe so just google search "how to separate an egg" and you'll be fine. Toss in a hefty shake of dried oregano and a hefty shake of dried basil. Set aside. 
  3. Saute up your innards. If you're using meat, cook it so it's not raw anymore, if you're vegging totally your call how cooked or fresh to make the veggies. Follow your heart. 
  4. MEANWHILE....ha! I hate when recipes say "meanwhile." Like, I am only one human with two arms and a lot of ingredients happening, how am I simultaneously doing all these things at once. But here we are. Meanwhile...in that while your fillings are lightly sauteing on the stovetop... sprinkle a SMALL amount of flour onto the counter. If you are a disaster like me, you may need a supervisor for this part unless you want flour literally all over your whole house. Roll out the dough and then separate it into four parts and then smush/roll/pull on them until they're kind of flat. I think they're supposed to be round but ours were triangular and they were great. Don't overthink it.
  5. Put a scoop of cheese mixture on top of one half of one of your dough blobs, then a scoop of toppings mixture (or vice versa. Toppings and THEN cheese. Calzones are a relaxed, easygoing food. Continue to follow your heart!), fold the other half of the dough over the top, smush the edges together with a fork and cut a tiny slit in top. You may attempt to make the slits into pretty flower shapes but it won't work and you'll just end up with weird holes in the top. Stay chill. 
  6. Brush a thin coat of olive oil on the top of each calzone.
  7. Put the 'zones onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, stage for photos, upload to instagram and DIGG INNNN. 

Yum!!! Ok if you'll excuse me I have to go daydream about Ben's booty (and Brian's!), read some more P&R tributes and, oh yes...get to work.

Happy Wednesday, nerds! xoxoxo Liz Ho