A Rant, A List, A Brand New Week

Hey everybody! How was your weekend?! Mine, although lovely, was not exactly what I had planned. Remember the Pittsburgh wedding I was oh-so-excited to attend? Well, that didn't happen. I mean...it happened, they are now happily married, yay, but I was not there so, you know. Trees falling in forests and all that. Just kidding! I know that life goes on even when I am not there, I'm not thaaaat vain. (Or am I?!!) Friday was a drab and rainy day all up and down the east coast, but it was by no means Hurricane Sandy Reincarnate so I was mildly frustrated but not super surprised when I received an email Friday afternoon telling me that my 8 PM flight had been pushed to 9:30. I then received a voice mail informing me it had been pushed back yet again, this time to 10:30, but don't you worry, we're still doing everything we can to get back on schedule! In one bit of actual levity for the evening, the voice mail was one of those automated services and I guess they had some confusion over the way my name was written on my ID. The message combined my first name (Elizabeth) and middle initial (M), announcing "Hello. This is a message for Alizabatham HoHENadell." HA!

I remained calm and unflustered, used the newfound free time to take public transportation to the airport instead of blowing $50 on a taxi, went through security, found my gate, bought a $400 Cesar salad, found a plug to charge my cell phone, which was at a precarious 8% battery life, and cracked open my book, when the phone rang once again.

"Hello Alizabatham HoHENadell, your flight is cancelled."

WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. WHAT.

I frantically ran around the airport to find the US Airways help desk, while dialing their customer support on my cell phone, now elevated to just 11% battery life. This flight was one of just many cancellations throughout LaGuardia, so the customer service line was, no joke, 75+ people deep. I managed to get an actually super nice and helpful customer service rep on the phone while I stood in line, who told me that the good news was they'd refund my full fare, the bad news being, of course, that they had no other available flights on my route that night or the following morning.  I got out of the US Airways line and went looking for Delta, only to find them also backed up by the dozens.

I found a spot on the floor next to an outlet, plugged in my cell phone, called my mom, cried, stress ate my Caesar salad (worth every penny!) (false), yelled the F word far too loud for a public setting, looked up alternate routes to PGH and finally came to the realization that it was not happening. I would not make it to Pittsburgh. I would not see Brigette get married. I felt mad and sad and guilty and disappointed and basically every emotion you might find on the negative end of a feelings chart. I took a sad taxi home to Crown Heights, the rain pouring nearly as hard as my tears.

HAHA just kidding for dramatic emphasis. I mean, yes I cried, but that's a tad heavy handed. Trying to spice up my writing with overuse of metaphor! What if I actually talked like that? Yikes!

Enn. Eee. Way. My mom & Margie sent me loads of photos from the wedding and it looked like a truly beautiful day. I'm so happy for the newlyweds! And I was able to see Brian's sister graduate, so the weekend still  managed to be special and full of family. And also sun. Wait until you get a load of the sunburn I acquired yesterday. It's one for the record books!

HOWEVER it has come to my attention that God or Mother Nature or SOMEONE is reading my blog and deliberately trying to sabotage me.While I do appreciate the attention, I am not amused. I mean, I had expressly stated on Friday morning just how VERY EXCITED I was to fly to Pittsburgh and my flight up and cancels on me? COME ON, dude. Do you think this is because I couldn't remember the timeline of Christ's resurrection? Am I being punished for supporting gay marriage???? Whatever the reason, it is pretttty clear that someone is out to get me, so below is a list of things I am super not excited for. If my logic is correct, which it totally always is, since I'm not excited for these things, that means these days will be bright and sunny and warm and perfect and amazing...right?! RIGHT.

  • My Own Wedding. August is hurricane season, right? Let's get a storm a brewin'!
  • Similarly: My Bridal Shower this coming weekend and my Bachelorette in June. Two separate weekends being feted by my most special ladies? HARD PASS. 
  • My Cousin Angie's visit to NYC. Angie is the WORST! 
  • The string of 30th Birthday parties we have this June. Rooftops and pool parties and Brooklyn day drinking? These are a few of my (least!) favorite things. (PS: read that to the tune of the song, please, I tried really hard to make it fit.) 
  • Summer Fridays. 12 PM closing? No thanks, I'll work til 6! 

And while we're at it, something I am so totally very super excited about is next week's big publishing annual conference, BEA. Schlepping to the far west side of Manhattan in what always manages to be the hottest weather of all time for long days of standing around and small talking...I can. not. wait. I will be SO VERY SAD if a lighting bolt just strikes right down into the middle of the Javits Center and burns it right down to the ground. Please oh please don't let that happen, I long for this week all year!

There. That should about cover it. Everything's looking up for old Alizabatham HoHENadell!!!

(Arbitrary image b/c photos make blogs better, according to other blogs.)

Here's to the start of a NEW week for all of us - hope it's nothing short of spectacular. xoxo

Some Unsolicited Running Advice from a Self-Appointed "Expert"

As I mentioned yesterday in my deeply empowering half marathon recap, I am all in on this running lifestyle. I have drunk (drank?) the kool-aid! Well, Gatorade, if we're being precise. I might go so far as to call myself a runner. Last week a friend of mine asked me how I got myself into running, saying that learning to love the sport is a goal of hers. I adore talking about myself and pretending to be an expert so I figured I'd share my tips for the whole WORLD to enjoy. For the record this is a real person, named Katie. I'm not just making this up so I can continue to brag about my physical fitness.

So! Just a few verbose (as always!) thought below, may they inspire you to love running as much as I have. And I knowwww this is getting boring, I swearity-swear this is my last running post for at least a week.

HOW TO BECOME A RUNNER:

ADVICE FROM SOMEONE WHO JUST RAN THEIR FIRST HALF MARATHON AND NOW THINKS SHE'S A TOTAL EXPERT 

1a) Sign up for a race. 

Having a goal to work towards gives you a light at the end of the tunnel, a reason to get up from the couch and pound the pavement. There are plenty of races for every level from beginner to pro. Pro races are also known as The Olympics and if you're qualified for those you probably don't need to be reading this blog.

1b) Then tell EVERYONE. 

This step is possibly the most vital step of all. The more people you tell about your race plans, the dopier you'll look if you drop out.  Registering for a race is a big step, but does it even count if no one knows? If a tree falls in a forest, etc? I suppose you could just rely on your own self for motivation but personally I am most moved by the admiration and acceptance of other people, so I made sure to tell literally the entire internet the moment I signed up for my half marathon and then when I trained, I visualized myself crossing the finish line to applause and then instantly uploading photos to multiple social media forums where my loved ones would heap praise upon me.

I am a) barely exaggerating and b) not ashamed and can't stress highly enough how important step 1b is to your success.

2) Dress the part.

Until very recently, I was completely unconvinced as to the necessity of quote-unquote workout clothes. Why would I spend my hard earned money on UnderArmor leggings and tank tops when I could wear a free t-shirt from some kind of college volunteer day and a pair of enormous Nike soccer shorts that I have had since literally 2008 when I purchased because they were part of the official uniform of the US Women's World Cup Team? Girls who wear cute workout clothes can't possibly be taking it seriously. They're just trying to look adorable, unlike me over here in my grungy apparel, holding my shorts up with a safety pin. A true athlete!

My attitude was entirely changed this Christmas, when Brian's parents sweetly gifted me with some warm weather running gear - a pair of black tights with jazzy hot pink pattern zipping up the calves and a matching hot pink zip-up jacket. It was unlike anything I would ever purchase for myself, but it instantly became my favorite outfit and somewhat of a motivational costume. Putting it on I transformed from casual jogger to Hot Running Girl! Fit and fashionable.

I've since purchased a few "running" outfits and they help keep me motivated. Putting on my sweat-wicking tank top and compression capris tells my brain: "NOW WE ARE RUNNING!" Silly? Maybe! But it works for me.

If you're in the market, Marshall's & TJ Maxx always have tons of name brands on supersale and Old Navy, my #1 favorite clothing retailer has a great line of workout attire at spectacular prices!

All this said, don't go too overboard, this is still a workout, not a fashion show. And NO ONE likes the girl who matches  her bellybutton ring to her neon crop-top. A little subtly goes a long way.

3) Make a Plan...and Keep Visual Track of your Progress 

The internet is chock FULL of free training plans for all sorts of races. I've heard rave reviews about the Couch to 5K program for beginners and Runners World has a series of training plans for every level.

I worked with a plan by some guy called Hal Higdon, with a few tweaks by my personal trainer, Brian. I loved this training plan - simple, adaptable and knowing exactly what was expected of me each week helped me to stay motivated and energized.

I made a series of calendars for myself for the duration of my training process, indicating what was on the lineup for each day and also leaving a space for me to write what I actually achieved that day. Most training plans are very general, just Week 1, Week 2, etc and for me, seeing the physical calendar dates was helpful.

For the first month I was diligent about updating with my actual mileage and though I sort of fell off that wagon by month 2, I still consulted the calendar regularly to remind myself what was upcoming. Seeing the long run distance inch up by one mile per week made me feel like such a badass.

4) Reward Yourself

Cheese burgers after long runs? DON'T MIND IF I DO.

5) Have a Buddy

I ran this race by myself, but had lots of buddies helping me prep for it. I had Brian running beside me on all of my long runs, encouraging me every day and standing on the sidelines cheering for me while I raced. My cousin Dani ran her first half marathon a few weeks before I did and we emailed back and forth about how much we loved it and another cousin, Kelly who took up running around the same time and has been slaying it in races all spring, shares inspirational quotes and photos on Facebook, encouraging me to keep it up too . And my friend Mary also ran her first half earlier this spring, so we'd compare training notes, run along the river together after work and bond over our new-found obsession with running. Weirdly enough, Mary and I got basically the exact same times on our first half marathons! How cool is that.

There are lots of local running clubs in my area, but I've been hesitant to join one, the huge group mentality kind of stresses me out and I wasn't quite ready to make that commitment. But maybe it'll work for you! Or find one pal to train with or just see who else in your group of friends/office is a runner and bond with them.  It is fun to have someone to comiserate with and, like my crazy mentality that if you tell everyone you'll be less likely to quit, it helps me to feel like I'm  not alone...I'm running for Brian and Mary and Kelly and Dani and everyone!

In the whole world!!!!!

Grandiose, much?!

7) Rock the Tunes

I never listened to music while running until very recently. I'd either run with Brian and talk to him or run on the treadmill and watch old episodes of How I Met Your Mother. I also didn't know how to play music on my phone because I am the worlds smartest modern human. Luckily, this spring I discovered both Songza and Google Play Music and with their help was able to put together a pretttty baller running playlist.

Running to Songza (or Pandora, I guess) is super fun because you don't know what song is coming next, so it's a fun surprise every time! This helped me to discover some awesome throwbacks from college (ain't no Hollaback Girl!) and then spend most of my run just reminiscing about listening to those songs on repeat with my pals. I then figured out how to create my own playlists, but still like to play on shuffle so I'm always on my toes. This is really boring...why don't I just stop talking and share what I'm jamming to lately: 

  • Lorde, Royals 
  • Pitbull & Ke$ha, Timber (I could basically listen to this song on repeat all day and night both while running and just while going about my day.) 
  • Rihanna, Don't Stop the Music 
  • Danity Kane, Damaged (cue memories of 2008 girls vacation to Miami!) 
  • Taylor Swift, We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together (LIKE I wasn't going to have some Swizz on here)
  • One Direction, Best Song Ever (I'm an adult!)
  • Katy Perry, Roar 
  • Katy Perry, Teenage Dream
  • Katy Perry, T.G.I.F (I just really like Katy Perry)
  • Nicki Minaj, Starships
  • Kanye West et. al, Monster (I always go extra hard during Nicki's verse. You can be the king now watch the queen conquer!) 
  • Icona Pop, I Don't Care 
  • Austin Mahone, Mmm Hmm Yeah (I have no idea who this person is and I'm pretty sure he might be 12 but it came on my songza one day and features Pitbull and I can't say no to Pitbull and now I love this song.) 
  • Anything Taio Cruz has ever done: Dynamaite, Break Your Heart and my personal favorite song Hangover, which introduces the genius term "shitfaceded" 
  • Flo Rida, Wild Ones
  • Nelly, Country Grammar 
  • Kelly Clarkson, Stronger
  • Sara Bareilles, Brave 
  • Destiny's Child, Bootylicious
  • Jackson Five, ABC 
  • Little Mix, Wings (again, I have no idea who these people are but this song is a jimmity jam)
  • Avicii, Wake Me Up (I don't really approve of Electronic Dance Music or "EDM" as the kids/cools are calling it but I do like this song!)
  • Bastille, Pompeii (heyyydey oh, hey-dey) 
  • Cobra Starship, Good Girls Gone Bad
  • Beyonce, Crazy in Love (obviously always and forever) 

6) Don't Be Afraid to look Dumb

I was talking to someone recently who didn't want to run in public because they were worried they'd look dumb. And as much as I want to pretend to be above that, I totally get it. Fear of looking stupid is one of the main reasons I quit trying yoga so I need to learn to practice what I preach. So for both me and all of you to keep in mind: who cares! Who cares if you stop and walk or run slow or think you swing your arms weird or if you air drum while running and dance at stoplights. Everybody looks weird doing everything and no one is paying attention to you, they're all busy worrying about what they look like.

8) Just. Keep. Running. 

This is a little hippie dippy and hard to quantify but at a certain point your brain is going to want to stop running and you're going to have to tell it to shut the eff up. One of the simultaneously most exciting and challenges for me while training was when I realized that my body could  keep running. That when I felt tired or bored or ready to quit it wasn't my body giving out but my brain giving up. I had to figure out how to shut off the part of me that wanted to quit, walk and go home and just. keep. running.

I don't know what to tell you to do this in your life. For me, it was turning up my music, staring right ahead and literally saying, out-loud (see what I said about looking weird?!): "you've got this, Liz. Keep going." And then I'd keep going.

In the time it took you to think about quitting, your legs probably went two, three, four more steps. You CAN do it.

9) Go Ahead and Brag! 

Proud of your training or your race time? Pat yourself on the back! Go ahead and upload that finish line photo to multiple social media feeds and watch the likes roll in.

10) Always End Lists with Even Numbers! 

And those are my tips!

I am obviously super clearly not an expert but people (one person) were begging for my advice (politely asking about my training routine) and I have to give the world what it wants! I hope this inspires at least one person to get out and start running both because it's super fun and also because I'm DYING to be considered a positive role model.

Now, let me ask you: How do YOU get motivated - to run or otherwise? Runners, anything you think I'm missing? Any workout songs you'd suggest?! 

Thanks for reading this! I have no idea how to end this post. OK BYE!  Smooches!

 

Another Awkward New Year: 2014!

Hey y'al! Remember me? No? Understandable! It's been about 1 million years since I last blogged (minus a few millennia which I added on for dramatic emphasis.) I barely remember how to type! Mmdfdyumme meep merp. So Happy New Year, guys! How late is too late to wish someone a HNY? A friend of mine says Martin Luther King Day, so I'm still in the game. Related: when did it become OK to use HNY as an abbreviation? I'm going to go with never and yet, here we are.  I'm having a little trouble gearing up for the New Year. I took some much needed time off from, well, life over the holidays - no wedding planning, no writing, no house cleaning, no work, no pantswearing, basically nothing productive, at all, whatsoever and it was good. Goo-ooo-OOD. But now I'm realizing I may have decompressed a scoonch too much because I'm having some difficulty um, recompressing. Is that a real word? Sure!

Exhibit A: Our Christmas Tree

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Photo taken yesterday, January 14. Maybe time to get rid of the old gal? Related...

Exhibit B: This Poinsettia

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Photo also taken yesterday, January 14. Don't worry, I pitched this. Lasted surprisingly long considering it hadn't been watered since like, Benedict was still pope.

Exhibit C: Our Kitchen Floor

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(Un)fortunately it doesn't come out suuuper clear in this photo but this floor is just COVERED in grime. It's disgusting. There is enough spilled food caked onto those tiles to end world hunger.

That was symbolism by the way, I wouldn't actually feed floor food to starving people, ok. I'm not a monster!

I am also not a mopper, apparently. GROSS.

Exhibit D: Our Wedding Website

Created over a month ago and never touched again. Zero helpful information and for some strange reason, listing that our wedding day was December 6, 2013. Congratulations, us! I hope it was fun.

Not pictured: PILES of work to do at the office, PILES of dirty laundry, PILES of money not in my bank account with nothing to show for it, PILES of wine and carbs in my mouth, PILES of tissues from the cold I can't seem to shake, PILES of me running this piles-of-stuff joke riiiiight on into the ground.

That said, I have been achieving some things. I tested out our new slow cooker. Veggie chili, in case anyone is interested, which you surely are not. I've been running a ton! For real this is one thing I'm proud of. And we're through one whole season of The Sopranos which is on my 30 Before 30 List so it counts as productive and don't you even dare try to convince me otherwise.

And that is what's going on over here. January's always kind of a rough month for me. I get sort of mopey and weird and blue.  I usually find a way to dig myself out come February and these past few weeks, I don't know. I just felt like I needed to sit back and wait and let the year start on without me. I'll catch up, I'm sure.

I chose not to make any set Resolutions for 2014 - what with the whole wedding scene (which my wedding day twin Sandra Di points out is just over 200 days away... SILENT SCREAM!) and a cool 27 items left on my 30 Before 30 List, I really don't need to take on any more goals or responsibilities.

I mean, see Exhibits A-D up there. I think I have plenty of things to deal with on the day to day.

That said, I do have two little goals I'm trying towards this year, which I guess technically means I did make resolutions after all but whatever. Semantics. I'd like to write more (LUCKY YOU!) and take some much needed care of my self in the mental health department. Anxiety, be gone! Both of these are equally noble goals - but then I had a near Tony Soprano level panic attack (it's not a spoiler if it's from the pilot...and it aired like 14 years ago) the other weekend because I felt guilty and anxious that I hadn't written in days, so I decided maybe the Write More business needed to take a little back seat (just for now!) until it came naturally.

And the lucky for everyone what came naturally was this word vomit. Go back in your cave and keep hibernating, Liz!

BASICALLY I just wanted to pop in and say hi. I'll be back with my reguarly scheduled programming this Friday but I felt like after I'd been gone for so long I needed some kind of intro? In case everyone forgot who I was? Allow me to reintroduce myself my name is Ho (bag). H to the izzo O to the baggo, I pledge allegiance to the American flaggo.

The end shut it down FOREVER.

So happy 2014, a quadrillion years late, my sweet friends. How are you all? What's new? How was your holiday? Any resolutions? Goals? Hopes? Dreams? DISASTERS?! Do tell. I may be in a (super) weird mood today but I'm so SO excited for this new year  - 2014 has so much in store for me. I'm getting married! And turning 30! And finishing The Sopranos! And, of course, dealing with that whole anxiety thing.

2014: The Year of Marriage, Milestones and Mental Health. Let's do this thing!

Step One: throw out the Christmas tree.

xoxo Liz Ho

One Lazy Halloween

Boo! Halloween is right around the corner, folks. Are you ready? I am...NOT. After so many years of dominating the scene in my nude suit, I just haven't been able to muster up a lot of enthusiasm for old Fright Night. I might end up staying in, eating candy and watching television, like I do most every other night, but if I do end up Trick or Treating I'm going to have to scramble, and fast, to come up with a sweet 'stume.

I figured I can't be the only last minute lazy bones out there, so wanted to offer up a few creative ideas for costumes that you can throw together at a moment's notice, with very little energy expended. Or if you're still looking for a way to get sexy without being dull, do consult last year's list of creatively slutty costume suggestions!

Feel free to borrow any of these fantastic ideas... or share your own! And if you're considering black face, might I suggest consulting this website first:  http://shouldidressinblackfacethishalloween.com/.

Let's do this!

LIZ HO'S GUIDE TO HALLOWEEN FOR LAZY PEOPLE

Skeleton:

(via Pinterest) 

This is a classic from the Maggie HoBags playbook. Black pants, black t-shirt, "skeleton" made of masking tape. Boom.

Yankee Candle:

(image via)

Wear a colored t-shirt, print out an image label via Google Images or just rip the sticker right off your favorite candle. Attach a pipe cleaner or piece of string to your head. People miiiight try to light you on fire, but that's a risk you'll need to be willing to take.

Junk Mail:

(via the wikipedia page for "junk mail" which is a fascinating read!)

Just tape all of your junk mail to your body. Easier than opening a New Pre-Approved VIP Credit Card!

Similarly, yet slightly more creatively....

Pinterest:

(image via)

Just print out pictures of stuff you love, intricate first birthday cakes, workout inspiration and other nonsense and stick to your bod. Extra points if you include the Pinterest logo.

Dogwalker:

(image via)

Pretty self explanatory: Kidnap a bunch of puppies and walk them on leashes. Return all but the very cutest one at the end of the night!

Miley Cyrus in Wrecking Ball:

(image via)

All sorts of idiots are apparently paying actual American dollars for this hideous monstrosity...take it one step further, for cheaper, by just stepping out in your underbusiness while carrying construction tools.  Easy AND "sexy." Good job!

Your Garbage Can:

(image via)

Cover your body in double sided tape, dump your garbage can over your head and see what sticks. Pee-yew.

Leftovers:

(image via)

Wrap yourself in tin foil. THE END.

Yard Sale:

(image via)

Take all of your unwanted belongings to a bar/party, set them on display with a sign reading Yard Sale. Then sell them to other party goers for money and/or candy.  Have a festive evening and make money while unloading unwanted items? Win and win.

Taylor Swift:

t swizz

I will sell you this wig and HAND MADE glittery pink guitar for $4 plus overnight shipping.

Office Tooth Brusher:

(image via)

The SCARIEST costume ever. Wear business casual and carry your tooth brush and toothpaste. I'm shuddering already just thinking about it!

Streaker:

(image via)

Literally streak around your neighborhood during trick-or-treat time. There is a 150 million percent chance you will get arrested but isn't Halloween the time for a new adventure?

Kim Kardashian's Engagement Ring:

(image via)

This one does take some time: darken the lights in your room, put on your sexiest white thong body suit and highest Louboutins, light one million candles and spritz the room with a liberal does of Glam, the Kim Kardashian eau de cologne. Then meditate on fame for three solid hours, taking breaks every 15 minutes to splash your face with Dom Perignon. If you do it right, you will then magically calcify into a 15-karat diamond. True fact!

It should wear off after about 24 hours but you might consider setting your affairs in order beforehand, just in case.

Liz Ho:

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Who doesn't want to dress as their favorite blogger for Halloween? Oh, everyone? Fair enough! If you change your mind, just toss on some jeggings, a cardigan and a v-neck shirt. Drink all the wine you see and spill 42% of it on yourself. Done and done.

Bonus: make it a couple's costume by having your partner dress in a JCrew checked button down and dress as Liz and Brian AKA the Will & Kate of Brooklyn.

Hahaha NO.

Annnnd I think that's enough ideas for now. I trust y'all can come up with more great ones on your own. Happy Halloween, friends! Send me all your Kit Kats!

xooxo Liz

 

Some Hump Day Musings

Goood morning, my fine friends. I don't know why I just allowed myself to use the phrase "Hump Day" in place of Wednesday. I hate that stupid term. Just call it Wednesday! It's not cute. Anyway, we're not even halfway to the weekend yet (holding out til the clock strikes noon!) and if you're anything like me, you're looking for some midweek distractions. Also, if you're anything like me: lord help you.

So, in the humpday spirit (ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh), here are just a few things boppin' around my brain lately that I felt the (unnecessary) need to share, complete with some prettttty solid random stock imagery. This post might change your life! Butttt it probably won't.

1. I know I'm always late to the kool tunez party and say what you will about Miley Cyrus as a human being (preferably say nothing, actually!) but I just heard Wrecking Ball (finally! I know!) and that song is a J-A-M: JAM.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My2FRPA3Gf8]

You do you, Miley! But maybe with a shirt on? Just a thought! xo

Other music I can't stop listening to: Katy Perry's Roar,  this song by that Avicii person who is apparently popular with the youths and Lady Antebellum's entire oeuvre, including their Christmas album because pop country holiday is my new favorite musical genre? Sure why not.

2. I've decided on what is the officially worst thing in the world. It is when you get all nice and snuggly in your bed...and then realize you kind of have to pee. And you must decide which is worse: getting out from under the covers and

braving the cold bathroom, or just peeing your bed and living with the consequences. Talk about a Sophie's Choice, am I right?

(I have never read that book.)

tooth brushing

3. How do you guys feel about toothbrushing in the office? I give it two thumbs way, way, WAY down. It disgusts me wholeheartedly. It is such an intimate and personal activity, to me - the scrubbing, the flying germ particles...THE SPITTING. Oh, the spitting is the worst part. I just do not condone spitting your grotesque mouth contents in a shared restroom, where other people can see you and then have to wash their hands over the same sink. I applaud the effort towards good oral hygiene but I think that 2 times a day, at your own home, is juuust fine. And if you have a halitosis issue, try tic tacs, gum, those weird strips you put on your tongue or even see a dentist. Please do not brush your teeth in the office.

Anyone with me?!

4. My friend Amy just shared this amazing quiz with me: Are You A Walking Disaster? 

The first time I took it I got "Yes, you are a walking disaster!" but think I may have exaggerated a bit, because Amy only came up as a moderate disaster and just last week I had the honor of watching her fall face-first into a field during a bonfire so I'm pretty sure I can't be that much more disastrous than she is. So I re-tried and came back just Moderate. PHEW.

What are you? This is really important stuff, you guys.

PS: while you're at Buzzfeed, might I suggest: This Post, or This One, Also THIS LIST and, if you're feeling brave: this one. 

PSS: love you, Amy!!!

5. And while we're on the subject of quizzes, I also took this one from Time.com: Which State Matches Your Personality? 

I got Illinois! Apparently The I-Nois (what?) is chock-full of extroverted, friendly neurotics. Sounds AMAZING! Also, my brother lives there! Hi, Mikey-boy, I'm movin' in!

What state are you? What a weird quiz!

PS: I can't link to any other articles at Time.com because I'm the worst and think pugs in Halloween costumes > world affairs, bigtime.

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6. And finally, because I know you were curious, the photo above is what my landlady is rocking this Hallowe'en. (Does anyone still spell it like that? It kind of weirds me out.)

Let the holiday season begin!

And that's that! Happy WEDNESDAY, pals!

xoxoxo Liz Ho

Welcome to The Dorkyard, Bitch

In this week's 'Holy Shit, I'm Getting Old' news, apparently the television masterpiece The O.C. premiered ten long years ago, making it a full decade since we first heard the phrase: "Welcome to the O.C, bitch!" This fact kind of blows my mind. Where does the time go?!

We already know I had a deep, abiding love for all things Newport Beach (fake engagement to Adam Brody, anyone?) and it turns out I'm not alone. The internet is abuzz with tributes to the show, from The Daily Beast to Grantland to HuffPo...Vulture is even running a full week of O.C. themed coverage. I try not to get too wrapped up in nostalgia, but I can't help getting caught up in the enthusiasm this time.

You see, this show actually holds a deep and special place in my memories. When The O.C. premiered in the summer of 2003 I was in their prime target audience: I'd just graduated from high school and had nothing but time on my hands and a deep interest in all things teen melodrama. The show aired just enough episodes before school started back up to get viewers hooked and upon arrival at college, it quickly became a sort of ice breaker with the girls on my dorm floor.

"Do you watch The O.C.?" someone shyly asked over getting-to-know-you games in the building lobby.

"Oh I do!" I chimed. "Me too!" said another pal. One of the gals invited us all into her room later that night to watch and et voila: a lifelong friendship was born.

We watched every episode together that year, crowding together on the tiny dorm beds or the floor with the neon pillows and blankets that were de rigeur of collegiate interior decor of the day.  I still maintain that the first half of the first season of The. O.C.  is one of the greatest pieces of art ever created. The rest of Season One and some of Season Two are still top notch, before shit really got cray (RIP Marissa!!) but oh, the beginning of that first season, before Oliver came onto the scene, and life was all bagels and Chrismukkah and Captain Oats and Ryan/Marissa sexual tension, damn, you guys, that was some great TV. And not even 'guilty pleasure' watching, either. Just solid, humorous, dramatic, just soapy enough, good TV. 

And whether it was trash or gold, it was a cornerstone of my friendship with my very first college girlfriends, a group which collectively came to be known as "The Dorkyard." Because, you guessed it, we were dorks. And prouddd of it. We were a group of A+ goodie two shoes who all voluntarily lived in the substance free dorms freshman year. We spent most of our weekend nights watching corny TV movies, eating junk food, going to the movies or Barnes & Noble together and loved every second of it. Time has passed and a lot of us have grown up, changed and moved on but I still hold these women in a special place in my heart and consider our years together in The Dorkyard to be some of the most formative and important in my life.

And The O.C. was there through it all.

Allow me to visually illustrate my story here.

After Freshman Year we all parted ways for the summer and came back the following September equally excited to see one another...and the new Season of The. O.C. To celebrate the premier of Season 2 we had a themed viewing party...complete with costumes and virgin cocktails because, well, we're the weirdest.

OC1

Here we are in all of our glory. Clockwise from top left we have Summer Roberts, Kirsten Cohen (me in my blonde days! woof!), Marissa Cooper, Julie Cooper and Anna Stern. You'll note that we're missing some very key characters, namely Seth and Sandy Cohen and Ryan Atwood but, well, it's just not that easy to convince boys to dress up like O.C. characters. Or so I'll have to assume. I'm sure it doesn't take a detective to realize that we didn't really hang out with a lot of boys at this period in our lives.

Who need's 'em! Let's look at more pictures!

OC4

Here we have frenemies Kirsten Cohen and deliciously evil Julie Cooper snarking it up. That drink in my hand is a foreshadowing of Kirsten's upcoming alcoholic spiral, one of the show's low points. Kirsten Cohen will forever be my role model and life hero. I love that women. That said, huge soft spot for old Julie Coops, too. Bad girls are so much more fun.

I just had a memory! I went to an LGBT support meeting in college one time and we all had to go around the room and say our favorite quote from a book or movie or TV and ALL I could think of was a recent episode of The O.C. when Julie seduced Marissa's ex boyfriend Luke and she shows up at his door and says, really dramatically: "Luke, this is a booty call." And so I said that as my favorite quote. WHY! I don't even remember why I thought that was funny AT ALL, I just did. And everyone looked at me like, why are you the weirdest person ON EARTH and proceeded to rattle off inspirational nonsense from like, Shakespeare and Toni Morrison and Shawshank Redemption and all I can come up with is some weird quote about booty calls from a teenage soap opera. Whyyyyyyy!

I never went to another meeting of that club again. I could have made such huge inroads in gay rights by now but I was too embarrassed by how weird I'd been and quit the club. Whomp.

Never not losing the point of the story, am I?

Moving along...

OC6

Romantic rivals Summer and Anna. Who will Seth Cohen pick? The comic book cutie or the unattainable girl of his dreams?!

OC7

And ONCE AGAIN, Marissa Cooper is passed out drunk on the lawn. Will Ryan come to her rescue? Will she finally get her act together and lay off the sauce? Or will she continue on a path of bad decisions (both chemical and romantic), shoot her boyfriend's ex-con brother and eventually die in a fiery car crash, hunky Ryan sobbing over her dead body, while 'Hallelujah' plays in the background?

Ummmmm spoiler alert:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKYuUzkPHLA]

Oh what a show.

Yes, it ran wildly off the rails and do not get me started on the whole final season where Summer is like, a trustafarian wierdo at Brown and Ryan's in a coma and hallucinating  and what have you, but those first few years, dang they were something special. As were the nights with my college pals -whether we were snuggled up in bed or prancing around dressed as our favorite characters. Memories of the two are linked in my mind as some of the best days of my life.

Did you nerds watch The O.C.? Or do you have any shows/movies/books/albums/etc that are inexorably linked with a particular time and place in your life? I'm always so fascinated by that sort of multi-pronged sensory memory, how for me, hearing a certain Joseph Arthur song (oh those hip soundtracks) or or the word Tijuana ("It's 'tia-huannnnna,' mom, god you are so white") can ship me right back to the early days of college, to the Dorkyard. I'd love to hear what works that way for you!

Aaaand thus concludes my contribution to The O.C.: Ten Years Later archives and, unsurprisingly, it turned out to be a lot less about the show than it was about ME. Shows may come and go but some things never change.

California, here we come!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9cCMr1nYcA]

One Awkward Hike

Monday! How was everyone’s weekend? Actually, I shouldn't mislead, it is Sunday, still, while I’m writing this. I’m on a bus back from DC and I keep coughing and sniffling and just ate a messy, enormous, smelly Italian hoagie, so I’m pretty much that disgusting person who gives public transportation a bad name. Sorrrrrry!  Also, my cellular tellular is dying and I really want to plug it in, but the plug is underneath my seat mate’s legs and she is giving off a REAL air of sour B and I already asked her once to plug in the cord to my laptop (all for this blog! For YOU!) and don’t want to bug her again because I’m a little chicken so I’m just praying she’ll get up and go to the BR or prop her legs out the window or something.

AAAAAnnnnd we just came to a complete standstill on the Jersey Turnpike. And the couple in front of me will not stop making out and petting each other’s faces. CURSE YOU, bus transport! You are ruining my life!!

Whew. What say you we cut down down on the histrionics and focus on happier times, eh? So, as I mentioned, I spent the weekend in America’s Capitol with my friend Maureen and we had a delightful visit, though we did not see either of the Obama girls, or any of the cast of Scandal. Next time!

Yesterday ...or, I guess today? I can’t keep up my own timeline. I’m going to post this on Monday, but as I’ve already established, I’m currently writing it on Sunday, so the hike was today. But when you read it will be yesterday. So confusing, this world we live in! So, let’s just say on Sunday we went for a gorgeous hike in Great Falls State Park along the Potomac River. Hiking is so fun right? I mean, it’s just walking. But with good scenery and occasional inclines, making it seem much more exciting than the average power stroll. I am a huge fan.

Not like you asked, but here are a few photos from our woodsy walk.

dc1 dc2

B-E-Yootiful!

I don’t get out into nature nearly as much as I would like, what with living in the concrete jungle and all. There are actually quite a few hiking or camping areas relatively close to NYC and some accessible by public transportation - in my five years living here, I've taken advantage of this situation exactly one time, a tale I've been meaning to share with y’all for months!

So. This past October, the 27th, to be exact, the significance of which will be explained in just a quick moment, my friend Kathleen (who is a different person that the Maureen I went to see this weekend...all my friends are named Kathleen or Maureen or Caitlin or somesuch, Irish Catholic problems) and I decided to take a day trip up to Harriman State Park, a nature area in New Jersey, just across the NY border, accessible by the Metro North Railroad. We’d had this plan in the works for several weeks, so we went ahead and hauled upstate, despite a number of ominous factors warning us against the trip, including:

  1. A grey, cloudy day, which was a possible signifier of things to come (see no. 2)

  2. As I mentioned, it was October 27, and the Weather Channel was abuzz with warnings of a little hurricane named Sandy making its way up to the NY/NJ area in a matter of hours, ready to slam us all to smithereens.

  3. There was a murderer on the loose in the woods. No, really!

Apparently, just about a month before our planned hike, a man named Eugene Palmer shot and killed his daughter-in-law and then hightailed it into the Harriman Woods behind his home. A grizzled former park ranger, it was suspected that Palmer could still be bunkered down in those same woods. The woods we were about to hike.

Did we let any of this stop us? Offff course not.

Did we take great care to plan and prepare for our trip? Of course not, again. Kathleen and I are similar in that we’re both somehow a mix of Type A bossy planners and laissez-faire free spirits. We’re both very strong at organizing steps like, A through E of a trip or event and then just leave the rest up to chance. This works just perfectly when in low pressure situations such as “Oh, let’s meet at the west side entrance of the park at 10 AM under the oak tree….annnnddd then we’ll just lay and maybe get ice cream and play the rest of the day by ear.” This works LESS perfectly in higher pressure situations, such as this one where we spent all of our vigilant planning effort on memorizing train times and stocking up on snacks, and then got laid back about key details like printing out maps and even confirming the exact train station where we should be disembarking.

We knew the hiking area was called Harriman State Park and saw that there was a stop on the train line called Harriman, so without doing any further investigation, we foolishly assumed that was our stop – we’d pull right up to a large, clean visitor center where staffers would greet us with maps and guide us on our way. There were plenty of other peeps in hiking apparel on our train and two stops before Harriman about half of that crew got off the train. “What morons!” we exclaimed. “They don’t know what they’re doing!” At the next stop the remainder of the hikers disembarked and we still thought we knew better than they did, even as we watched them join up with an official tour guide as we pulled away from the station.

“Now arriving in Harriman!” the conductor yelled, as we pulled into a completely abandoned, open station that consisted of literally nothing more than an empty parking lot and a plexiglass rain shelter.  No visitor station. No maps. No other hikers to be seen. PRAISE BE to the lord above, we were able to access cell service out in this vast wilderness, and quickly pulled up the train schedule to see when the next locomotion would be arriving to bring us back from the direction we came – we weren’t giving up, yet, but we knew we needed to go back at least one stop. The next train would be arriving in a cool two hours, so we did what any big city girls would do and called for a taxi. We should really lead some sort of Outward Bound trip with these amazing roughing it skillz.

While we were waiting for the taxi I had some SERIOUS business to attend to in the form of urination. I had to go the whole train ride up but decided to wait and pee at the imaginary ranger station as soon as we arrived, because of course it both existed and had impeccable bathrooms. Instead we were abandoned in a parking lot with nary even a portajohn as far as the eye could see, so I went into a grass field beside the train tracks and just as I was letting it flow, a car pulled into the parking lot and I thought they might see me and choked and peed all over my jeans.

 hike1

Exhibit A.

Finally about 45 minutes later our chariot arrived and drove us the five miles back to the previous town where we found ourselves out seventeen dollars and STILL without any maps or guides. Again, this town had no ranger station or signs pointing “This Way To The Woods!” or anything even remotely indicating that it was right up against a safe, happy hiking zone, but we had seen other passengers getting off here and knew we must be slightly closer. There was a farmers market set up next to the train station, so we found some firemen manning a cupcake booth and asked them if they could direct us to the woods.

“Sure thing,” they replied, jerking a thumb towards a nearby underpass/rape tunnel. “Just head on under that highway and take your first left and there you are.” Not seeming to show ANY care for the fact that we were two single women without a map or a clue, about to head into the woods where a known murderer was hiding.

We hadn’t come this far just to go home, so under the overpass we went. I snapped this shot of us just before we went on our way, noting that it might be the last photo ever taken of us alive.

hike2

Our “hike” brought us through a residential neighborhood where they had both amazing autumn décor:

 hike3

And punny political signs:

hike4

Zing!

And then fiiiiinally we found ourselves in the woods. It was grey and utterly silent and full of weird creepy things like this abandoned car:

 hike5

And this broken down woodshed:hike6

There was no real change in topography,  so we just sort of meandered around this very flat, winding trail by ourselves, using faded trail markers and Kathleen’s GPS to guide the way. Again, killing it with our girl guide skills here.

There were some helpful signs along the way like this one:

 hike7

In case you don’t know what a pole is. And this one:

 hike8

Which I’m pretty sure meant “K for Killer, hiding this way!”

And this one which literally said “Killer hiding in here enter at your own risk.”

 hike9

Yeah.

But there was also a lot of beautiful autumn foliage  and cool sticks for playing Lord of the Rings.

hike13

 "You Shall Not Pass!"

We made the most of our circumstances but it was kind of clear we were preoccupied – me with creating horrible scenarios wherein the killer would sneak out and attack us and bring us to a cave where he would kill us and eat us for sustenance and Kathleen with creating horrible scenarios wherein the skies opened up and swooped up our frail bodies into a hurricane windstorm and both of us with just figuring out where the H we were and how we were going to get out of these damn woods.

Finally our trail popped out onto a paved road and, per Kathleen’s phone, it looked like we were very close to the REAL ACTUAL visitor’s center, where we could, at the very least, get a map and a toilet and sit down to eat our lunch. Instead it turned out we were still quite far away, so we wandered through yet another residential neighborhood, sitting on someone’s front lawn to eat our packed sandwiches, narrowly avoiding being hit by passing cars. Eventually our trek brought us into a tiny town with a train station. The next train back to New York was OBVIOUSLY not coming for another three hours, so we killed some time popping into the cute local library, where they were having a dollar book sale (I bought five) and then spent the remainder of our “hike” sitting at a bar drinking beers and talking about boys. BUT it was a historical tavern AND we were on the patio, so it was still a more rustic experience than anything we would have gotten in the old Big Apple.

So basically, if this were an actual Girl Scout trip we probably would not have received our badges for Conquering The Great Outdoors or Reading The Signs of Nature but would definitely have badged in the areas of Savvy Cell Phone Use, Budget Book Buying and Inevitable  Day Drinking.

All in all, I’d call it a roaring success.

Also, out of sheer curiosity, I just looked to see if old Eugene Palmer had been found yet, and according to this Fox News article (my fave news outlet) from just one day ago, he is still believed to be alive and on the loose and is the subject of an international manhunt.

Wild stuff! Keep an eye out, friends. This guy could be anywhere. Be safe and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… which means you should find out exactly where he is hiding and head right into his lair without a map or a plan. Good luck!

One Awkward Fire Alarm

For today’s reading pleash, which is how you say ‘reading pleasure’ when you feel the need to unnecessarily and obnoxiously abbreviate random words, even though that craze probably went out like ten years ago, I’m going to dip back into the archives and share a tale from the days of yore. More specifically 2009. Or maybe 2010. Not great a record keeping but it’s not important when it happened. It’s just important that it did.

Wow, deep thoughts. Regular Deepak Chopra right here.

So this story, which involves firefighters, popped into my mind recently after chatting with a friend who had an amazing tale about how her husband sett their grill on fire and caused an (understandable) uproar in their building and the fire department was called and now they have the charred remains of their former grill still sitting on the deck, because they don’t want to be spotted carrying it to the dumpsters and have neighbors realize it was THEM who caused the commotion. Classic. She’s also the same friend who locked herself in the bathroom of our college apartment for several hours. Girl gets ALL the best stories!

So I will hijack it and tell one of my own. A few years ago I was living in this semi-gross, third-floor walk up in Hell’s Kitchen with two of my girlfriends. It was bizarrely laid out with a huge kitchen on one end and random rooms blocked off inside - including one tiny bedroom in the middle of the apartment with no windows to the outside world. It was pretty weird but affordable and in a cool location and had lots of exposed brick so it worked for us. The stairs were so narrow and steep I used to joke (hilariously) that I wasn’t at all worried about being robbed or raped or murdered. By the time a criminal hauled himself all the way up the stairs, he’d have no energy left for violence. Dark humor?

One summer night we were all sleeping peacefully when the fire alarm started making a strange beeping noise. It wasn’t a full on beepbeepbeepbeep indicating a fire, or the four beep repeating noise that the manual said would alert to carbon monoxide poisoning but a random yet steady pattern of noise. Beep....pause....pause....pause...beep! And so forth. I was not awakened by the noise, but rather by the sound of my roommates knocking on my door, yelling for me to get up. This would mark the second time in a few short months that I slept through impending disaster. Earlier that year, the toilet in the apartment above us cracked (our ever sensitive super informed us it was all the fault of the fat girl living up there, real nice), and caused our entire bathroom ceiling to collapse. I slept through the entire thing. Granted, my bedroom was the furthest from the bathroom, but apparently for several hours that night my roommates were running around yelling, making phone calls, letting maintenance men in to inspect and just causing a real riot and I slept through the entire thing.

What!

And now, on the night of the alarm, I have to be pulled out of bed. I usually have trouble falling asleep and never thought I was a heavy sleeper, but it seems that when I’m out, I’m out. This does not bode well for my safety or that of my future children. Probably someone will break into my home and kidnap my children and I’ll sleep through it but NO ONE will believe me, because why would you, and I’ll end up in some sort of horrible Madeleine McCann situation or like that sad Baby Lisa whose mom was drunk on Wal Mart wine on her porch and everyone will think I am a murderer when actually I’m just an innocent lady who sleeps too much. Oh, that will be horrible. On the plus side, it’s a pretty sure bet for a Lifetime Movie, so I guess I have that to look forward to?

Annnnyyyywaaaay...now that we’ve taken that detour into Insane Anxiety Town, where I am the mayor and Grand Poobah, let’s just get quickly back on track here. Where were we? Yes. At the very beginning of the story because I am a master storyteller who always sticks to the point.

I’m awakened by my panicked roommates, knocking on the door, worrying over the alarm. One thinks it means carbon monoxide, the other thinks it could mean general poison and me? I just want to go back to bed. For all of my usual unfounded paranoia, when faced with actual life or death situations I remain almost freakishly calm. My roommates were convinced we were going to be poisoned to death. “Let’s just all go back to sleep and see who’s alive in the morning,” was my helpful reply.

I still think it’s a pretty good strategy.

They (rightfully) ignored me and we decided that it was probably nothing, but we ought to call 9-1-1 just to get someone on the line for a quick lil chat, ask them if they could advise on what the beeps meant, and then tuck back into bed. Wa-helll, apparently when you call the fire department and say you have a mysterious beeping, it is their duty to not just sit there and gab with you about fire alarm noises, but to RUSH over and investigate.

“We’re sending someone over!” they said. “Right away.”

“Oh geez,” we replied. “Um, it might not actually be an emergency? I mean, it might be? But tell them to take their time. Please don’t have them use their sirens.”

Five minutes later, what do we hear? Sirens. Followed by the banging footsteps of four large men in full like, Iron Man style protective gear storming up our tiny staircase.. They burst into the apartment, armed with fire extinguishers and axes, and found the three of us clustered underneath the beeping fire alarm, just staring at it, like a bunch of lost goats or something. Also, now is as good a time as any to drop in the detail that it was mid-July and hot as Hades AND we didn’t have air conditioning, so we were wearing as little clothing as humanly possible.

Sweaty firemen, scantily clad damsels in distress and the sultry heat of New York City? Sounds like the start of an award-winning pornographic film, no?

Actually NO. The firefighters seemed not so much aroused as extremely annoyed that they just sprinted up our steep, terrifying staircase for, well, nothing. Because I bet you can guess how this story ends, can’t you?

It’s pretty simple. The beeping? Not a fire. Not carbon monoxide or dioxide or trioxide or any sort of poison. Just an auditory warning that we needed to change the battery.

I don’t know if there is just one word in the English language to sum up the emotion you feel when you realize that you just summoned a troop of heavily armed firefighters to rush to your home and tell you the battery on your smoke alarm is dead and oh, also, you’re in your UNDERPANTS but I feel like mortified might come close? Horrifically embarrassed? Shamed to the point of no return?

Nope, still not adequately portraying how awkward this moment was. I guessssss it was for the best that we called the authorities, better safe than sorry, plus now we have this great story, but none of this would have happened if everyone had just listened to me, gone back to bed, and hoped for the best come morning.

So basically best of luck to future housemates/children: I hope you’re light sleepers. Otherwise you will probably die tragically, while I’m off somewhere snoring away. My bad.

Aaand to illustrate this post, why not share this AMAZING YouTube video which reminds us "there is nothing sexier than a firefighter that knows how to use his hose."

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvnIukwSbt8]

(haha who made this?! Have any of you ever made a YouTube dedication to something you love and if so what and can I please see it?!)

And The Winner Is...!

Happy Hump Day, my fine friends. Just checking in right quick with a few matters of bizanss following last week's Friday Recap. First: a huge thanks to all who offered frozen banana tips. Apparently you peel, thennnn freeze. Who knew?! Well, apparently a whole lotta people but not me, so thanks,banana smarties. You make the world go round.

Secondably: I know everyone is just dyyyyyyying a million deaths to see the results of my big time major joke contest. In case you need a refresher, the challenge was thus: correctly answer the A+++ super sophisticated joke below and be entered to win a major prize.

THE JOKE:

April Showers Bring May Flowers but What do May Flowers Bring?

There were a lot of great answers, including June Bugs (solid guess), allergies (true, but miserable), Summer beers( no, but now I'm thirsty) and Sexy Back, which, I mean, look at me, it never left. All fine guesses but sadly, this is a cutthroat wold and fine just isn't good enough.

Thenreal answer is...drumroll please...Pilgrims. Just let that land.

Mayflowers bring pilgrims. Get it??? Because the pilgrims (Pilgrims? Proper noun?) sailed to America on a boat...named...The Mayflower! Best joke ever!!!

I'd like to take credit for crafting that fine piece of comedy on my own, but I'm pretttty sure I read it on like, a Popsicle stick or Laffy Taffy wrapper at some point. Never gets old, I'll tell ya.

I was going to randomly select one correct guesser to win the prize, but only two commenters got it right and it hardly feels fair to reward just one of these comic geniuses, so both are winners today! So let's give it up for Kamran and Abbe! You did it, guys! Congrats also for going through life with unusual spellings of common names. Must get complicated!

These two happen to be friends with me in real life, so they've already won the best prize ever, but as added reward for their hilarity and support of ye ol blog, a drink for each of you, on me! Cool prize, I know. Better luck next time, everyone!

And here is a picture of some dogs dressed up like Pilgrims & Indians because, sure.

 

That cuteness should get us through the rest of the week, no?

Thanks, everyone, for playing along in my joke game. Was it fun? Probably not. Contests & giveaways seem best when there are, you know, actual prizes attached. I need some corporate sponsors. Hello, Diet Coke? It's Liz! Call me.

xoxo Liz Ho

Some Awkward Housekeeping

Hello, hello! Notice a few changes? You never miss a beat, now do you?! Please bear with me as I take care of a few blog housekeeping (blog keeping?) / self promotional / organizational items:

Step One in my never ending Operation Good Blogger is to make the layout look a little more presentable so check aaaand check. I'm not 100% sold on this scene but until I can master the ways of web design, which at this rate will be like 2049 at which point we'll all be living on Mars and I won't be blogging anyway because I'll be a famous talk show host / princess / cheesemonger, well, this'll have to do.

New things to note: The incredible header image, About ME! & Say Hi! pages. (I overuse exclamation points, I am aware) & slightly cleaner layout. If something is in green font, it's a link, so click away!

Step Two: link this blog to a facebook page for easy self promotion. Donezo. It only took four months but I'm finally linked up. SO, if you would like to, and gee whiz, it sure would mean a lot to me, you can click the button to your right (the one that says "Like me, PLEASE!") (so subtle and not at all desperate) to 'like' One Awkward Year on facebook. The page will automatically update with every new post so you can always stay on top of Liz Ho.

FIGURATIVELY not literally, ya pervs.

Step Three: show off this painfully stunning photo of myself in my younger days, just straight killing it on the mean streets of Charleston, South Carolina.

young liz

I mean, if a more flattering pair of shorts have ever been made, I have yet to see them.

Step Four: Stop talking about all of this boring crap and write? I'm on it, I swear! You know what they say, Patience Is A Virtue!

(But, they also say "A bird in the hand is worth two in a bush" and "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" so you might not want to listen to them, whoever they are, they sound pretty weird and confusing.)

Ok, SO! That is the haps round these parts. Thank you for tuning in to the latest technological developments and, as I say every time I write a dumb placeholder post: stay tuned.

xo Liz Ho

PS: Please do like me on facebook, you know I'm desperate to be loved!

One Awkward Engagement

Before you get too excited allow me to clarify my link-bait headline up there, I am not currently engaged. Believe me, when it happens, you'll know.

A quick question: do you guys watch The Bachelor? I do not. Surprisingly! For as much TV as I consume, I generally don't get too sucked into reality programming, for whatever reason. From time to time I will find myself invested one season of a show - the Joey Fatone/Apollo Anton Ono season of Dancing With The Stars, the Boston Rob season of Survivor, Kelly vs Justin on American Idol, The Voltaggio Brothers on Top Chef - but then the next season I just miss all the contestants from the year before and get bored and move on to other nobler pursuits, like feeding the homeless and writing government petitions to stop animal abuse.

Just kidding, I just find other TV shows to fill my time. What a life.

Despite the fact that I'm not a big Bachelor fan, I am hooooooooked on this web series Burning Love. It is a comic send-up of The Bachelor and it. is. hilarious. Season One, featuring Ken Marino as the dimwitted firefighter bachelor (instead of offering a rose, he asks contestants if they will "accept his hose." Double Entendre: Never Not Funny),  is now playing on E!, so do what you need to do to watch that one, and Season 2, a Bachelorette edition is in-season RIGHT NOW at Yahoo TV. Go, go goooooo:

http://screen.yahoo.com/burning-love/

June Diane Raphael, who is srsly underrated IMO, is the adorable, self-absorbed, mildly unhinged Bachelorette who gets to choose from a wide variety of hotties including Michael  Cera, Ryan Hansen, Adam Scott, Jerry O'Connell, Colin Hanks and the real-life Seth Cohen himself: Adam Brody.

seth-cohen

Chrismukkah Comes Early!

This mashup of the Bachelor and the Brodester brought back a swarm of memories from an earlier time in my life, my first engagement.

Say WHAAT?

I know, totally out of left field, this fact, but it is true: I was engaged to...or at least planning a wedding with...none other than Adam Brody himself. No love was stronger than ours. Except maybe the love between Seth and Summer, but they're not real people, so, we win.

Our story: Freshman Year of college my girlfriends and I were all gathered in someone's dorm room watching the televised wedding of the first ever Bachelorette, Trista marry her hunky poet/firefighter fiance Ryan. It was a fairytale wedding of epic proportions and being the incredibly cool kids that we were, we had a whole night planned around it with snacks and crafts and mocktails and it was a delight. We decided that we wanted to look at wedding dresses & accessories & such online. This was before Style Me Pretty and A Practical Wedding and Once Wed and other big wedding blogs which I've only heard about like, in passing conversation, I totally don't read wedding blogs all day, what?!, so we found ourselves at the mothership of the Wedding Industrial Complex: TheKnot.com. We poked around a bit, but to really get to the good stuff on that site you need to be a registered bride.

Really, what's a gal to do in this situation but make up a fake engagement?

And so we did. I'll obviously do anything for a laugh, so I volunteered (probably demanded, let's be real) to be the bride. Who is your groom, they asked? I had no real life boyfriend in the picture (plus planning a fake wedding with a human I might actually come in contact crossed a bridge too far, even for me), so I picked the current man of my dreams, the Jon Hamm of my College Years: Adam Brody. This was back in the height of the OC Days, before Mischa Barton went off the rails, and Seth Cohen was every awkward girl's dream boyfriend: nerdy yet gorgeously handsome, hilarious, quick with a joke, sensitive, lover of holiday tradition. Whatta guy. I suppose I thought that saying I was engaged to a fictional character was extra lame, so I selected Adam Brody, real person, to be my Knot.com husband.

Sure why not. (or why KNOT?! BA DUM BUM, God I'm good.)

I filled out a whole profile with our names, addresses, wedding party (Benjamin McKenzie aka Ryan Atwood was obvz the Best Man), and after a long discussion about whether or not it was politically correct, we settled on a wedding date of September 11, 2004.

(Related: Do you think it is politically correct to get married on 9/11? I feel like yes, move forward, positivity, blah blah, but definitely a weird date to be writing on your anniversary cards every year.)

We goofed around on the site for a while before signing out, but TheKnot does not (knot!) forget. During the months between signing up and our One Special Day 9/11/04 I was barraged with an endless stream of emails promoting deals, reminding me of my wedding planning checklist, honeymoon tips, the works. It was funny at first, but after a while I just took to deleting them as soon as they came in. All good jokes must die at some point.

Then a few months later I went home to my mom's house and she handed me a gigantic manila envelope.

"You got some mail," she said, with a smirk in her eye.

I opened the envelope and out fell HUNDREDS of pamphlets and flyers and coupons from florists, jewelers, DJs, limo services, travel agencies, and other WIC related vendors.

"Getting married?" she asked, clearly having trouble containing her laughter.

"Yes." I said. " To Adam Brody. In a few months. Did I forget to tell you?"

I don't recall the exact details, but I do believe that at this time she just walked away, shaking her head, probably questioning the Lord Above on just what she did, exactly, to end up with me.

After our "wedding" the emails came to a stop, until September 11, 2005, when they sent me a beautiful note wishing me a Happy First Anniversary and urging me to sign up for TheBump.com, their site dedicated to all things mommy.

I politely declined. A fake wedding with a TV star is already pushing it, but I think registering an imaginary fetus might have just crossed the line a little too far.

And that's that. My first engagement. I just tried to log back into TheKnot but I can't remember any of my login info, boo. Probably best NOT to reopen that Pandora's  Box. Adam and I have been happily married for going on 8 years now!

love

Here is a beautiful candid photo of us taken this summer at our lake house. OH how we laugh!

We've had our ups and downs but, as Ben Affleck said, "It is work. But it is the best kind of work, and there's no one else I'd rather work with." (AAAND I just typed that from memory, I need to reevaluate how I use my brain cells.) I know it looks like he's been stepping out with Blair Waldorf lately but do not believe the paparazzi. They are JUST FRIENDS.

The End!

 

A Series of Awkward Auditions

Ok are we sick of post-Oscars coverage yet? Usually I could spend weeeeeks just devouring party pictures and detailed articles about handbag sequin application but this year I'm already feeling exhausted. Somehow, deserved or not, Sunday's ceremony has spawned endless, lengthy diatribes about misogyny and racism and whether or not it breaks comedy rules to apologize for a joke, even if that "joke" involved calling a 9-year-old (the world's most awesome 9-year-old) a see-you-next-Tuesday. And while yes, we probably do need to be having these conversations, sometimes, internet, maybe we could NOT have conversations and just look at pictures of pretty poofy party princess people? I've resorted to alliteration to attempt to express just how over it I truly am. I might need to stop reading Jezebel.

Well! Now that I've gone on an angry rant about angry rants, allow me to turn the conversation to the joys of the Academy Awards, way back in the days of yore when I was but a sweet young thang, dreaming about the future. In my youth, whenever people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I always answered that I wanted to be an Academy Award-Winning Actress. Not just actress. Academy Award-Winning Actress. Those first three words were most important. This was my dream career until I was about ... 16. I didn't do any plays or musicals or acting of any kind, because that was clearly unnecessary. I did, however, read an unhealthy amount of People Magazine. My goal never really had much to do with acting. It was all about fame.

Ohhhh how much I've changed!

I did, however, make a few pathetic attempts to get my foot in the door of that whole acting game. I knew that winning an Oscar was going to take some work. I ain't stupid. In 9th Grade I tried out for our high school's Spring Musical: Oliver! The ! is part of the name, just like that stupid band Fun. that I love/hate. But in this instance I was really excited to tell you about Oliver! so the ! is relevant. (Wasn't that sentence impossible to read? Oh Fun.! I love your catchy medleys but why must you punctuate?) I actually don't remember very much about this audition except that I was too tall to be one of the urchins, too terrible at singing to even be in the chorus and had a hard time keeping up with any of the dance steps.

Needless to say: I did not make the cast.

A pal of mine also did not make the list, so we came up with the genius idea to write our own musical that we could star in. It was a story about...wait for it...two awesome girls who try out for a musical and don't make it so they write their own musical...and star in it. Art drawn from life is always the most meaningful, no? We were in this photography class and we used our dark room time to compose our big musical number, which went like this:

We're writing our very own musical,

we hope you enjoy the show.

So sit back, relax, and take off your hats,

Cuz you're gonna like it we know!

At the third line we'd do this super cool move where we sort of dipped, like we were sitting down in a chair, and then took off our imaginary hats with a flourish.

Aaaaand that was it. The entire musical. AMAZING. Geniuses. We gave up after four lines, despite our obvious talent. A loss for the world of culture, to be sure.

But, after failing in 9th Grade, did I quit? Well, yes, I did just admit I abandoned my original musical project, so I guess I was a quitter in certain areas of life, but I did not quit auditioning. Yet. The following year our school did a production of The Wizard of Oz, everyone's favorite musical production starring midgets. I knew I lacked the talent to be Dorothy, or the Tin Man or either of the Witches or really any character whatsoever BUT I saw a way for me to get up on that stage. I would be a flying monkey! I could achieve stardom and attain the power to fly at the same time, killing the two proverbial birds with one star-making stone.

I imagined myself wearing a cute, fluffy outfit with one of those little fez caps, whizzing through the air on invisible strings, like Mary Martin in Peter Pan. Oh, how the audience would LOVE me! Unfortunately our musical theater suffered from a small budget and, perhaps a too large amount of creative vision, so our director decided that instead of flying from harnesses, our monkeys would skate around on rollerblades and convey flight via death-defying sk8r stunts.

Was I a talented roller blader? Um, no. In fact, I find roller blading terrifying. I don't like that you have to lean backwards to break and can't just put your foot down when you start going too fast. Yes, I am afraid of roller blading. I actually had that listed as one of my five personal facts on my OK Cupid profile. Another was that I don't know how fax machines work. It's really weird how that site never really worked out for me, huh? ANYWAY, I did not let this fear stop me. A friend and I foolishly assumed that no one else would really try out for this dumb role, surely the cool skater dudes were much too busy shopping for Vans and listening to Sublime and such to try out for a school musical. They'd be forced to cast us in these prime roles purely out of desperation!

We were mistaken. When we showed up to auditions that fateful afternoon the auditorium was filled, filled!, with skater boiz. Wall to wall, there they were, with their wallet chains and their wide leg pants and their regulation cool guy blades and there we were with our neon pink roller blades rescued from elementary school. Bonus to being an early developing, oversized child monster: shoes you fit into at age 9 still fit when you're 16!

The audition was simple. Start at the top of the main auditorium aisle, skate down the slight incline and when you reach the bottom, do a trick! Some boys did flips. Some jumped all the way up on to the stage. NONE of them were wearing their wrist guards. Did their mothers not lecture the on the dangers of roller blading? My friend and I contemplated just running for the hills, but we'd come too far to quit. Our names were on the sign up sheet! We would try out for this musical, and we would look great doing it.

We decided to do the audition together. We lined up at the top of the auditorium, skated warily down the aisle, and when we reached the bottom of the incline we did not jump or flip or leap up on the stage. We just slowly turned and skated out of the auditorium, and out of the school and never looked back.

I know this is going to come as a surprise to you but we were not cast as flying monkeys in that or any other musical performance. Probably for the best. If my memory serves, one of the monkey skaters broke his leg on stage on opening night. Ouch. I did help with set design that year which, so at least I got in one solid season of being a Theater Kid.

And thus, my acting dreams ended. I still secretly want to win an Academy Award, but now instead of for acting, it is for the revolutionary and amazing romantic comedy I always pretend I'm going to write. If it is anything like my attempt at musical theater, they will probably have to just cancel the Oscars all together and come up with a whole new award ceremony just for me and my greatness.

I promise I'll thank you all!

muppets of oz

Unfortch I do not have any photos from these special times, so here is a gratuitous stock photo of the Muppets Wizard of Oz which apparently starred the always great Ashanti in the role of Dorothy Gale. HOW have I never seen this production?!

Some Awkward Crafts

Good Day to you, my friends. Did everyone have a most excellent Presidents Day? I did indeed! Who is your favorite president? Mine is Grant! Not Ulysses, Fitzgerald. Who dat?

Oh just the fictional POTUS on the ABC television masterpiece Scandal. What you thought I’d pick a real person? Do you even know me? To be fair, Fitzy G seems like a pretty terrible president and generally awful person BUT he also has copious amounts of intercourse in and around the Oval Office and has a secret dark side and looks great in a navy blue suit. So 4 More Years Fitgzerald Grant!

Whatever. I'm just not a political gal. Know what else I'm not? Asian. Also: crafty.

Crafts are a realllll thing these days, especially in the blog world. Everyone's got a Pinterest board and knows how to screenprint and makes wreaths and table runners and hand stamped lunch boxes and just generally DIY's the hell out of life.  Me? I'm more D-I-Y-Do-It-Yourself-When-You-Can-Buy-Something-Better.

Ba dum bum, ping!

I mean, I want to be crafty. But  I also want blunt bangs. Some things just are not meant to be.

My pal Jamie is a crafty gal AND a crafty blogger, you can check out her scene over at 128 John St, where she shares lots of yummy recipes and DIY projects and general adorableness. What I think sets Jamie apart from other craft/cooking bloggers (aside from her clearly excellent taste in friends) is that she never ever takes herself too seriously or acts like she's Ms. Perfect and it's just the easypeasiest to whip up a homemade batch of pumpkin cheesecake on a Tuesday night. She makes giant messes and admits when something she tries turns into a disaster and I love her for it. But she's also actually talented, don't go thinking her blog is just a huge hot mess. Like, say, mine.

Jamie sweetly invited a group of girlfriends over a few Saturdays ago for a Valentines Themed Crafting Brunch complete with all sorts of cutesy stuff that I would normally scoff at (because I'm totes jeal) but in this instance, I approved:

vday sammiesYes, those are heart shaped chocolate and banana sandwiches on homemade pound cake. I ate about 37 million.

 approached the day with great enthusiasm (it might even have been my idea?) but quickly learned I was not cut out for this world. The night before brunch I met Jamie and our other equally craftastic friend Kathleen at Michael's Crafts to get some supplies. The two of them ran around the store like they were on goddamn Supermarket Sweep scooping up all the latest and greatest in crafting supplies and I just sort of followed Kathleen around and bought whatever she did and became increasingly despondent that I was in over my head, have no creative vision and will never have the DIY hipster wedding I dream of.  Finally we settled on our purchases and headed home, but not before I made a quick pit stop at the Whole Foods wine store which sells 365 Brand wine for $3.

This has nothing to do with the rest of this story, I just felt like I needed to pass on that information.

Ok, so! Crafterday! It was a beautiful Saturday morning in Brooklyn. The first project Kathleen decided to do was to spraypaint old tins to use for storage. Here she is getting started, isn't she pretty?

20130126_143559I decided to copy her and make tins for my tea since I keep pretending to give up coffee, maybe I'll stick to it if I have some cute tea tins. We set ourselves up on Jamie's balcony and I immediately ran into trouble. I was trying to open a can of spray paint and somehow managed to shoot the lid right off of the balcony and into the neighbor's backyard. Um, sorry, neighbors. I then quickly learned that I had a faulty can of spray paint - the only way it would spray was to press it down hard with both thumbs until my hands were numb from the pressure. Instead of smooth, easy painting, my tins were clumpy and streaky and blotchy and you can still sort of see the original paint underneath. They also continued to smell like spray paint for dayssss afterwards, so my tea is probably quite poisoned.

I did come up with the genius idea to apply some pretty stickers to label the tins:

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eeeeeh? I'll give them a 6 out of 10.

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But if you look from far away, they are actually pretty charming, no? Two for tea and one for "stuff" whatever that means. It would be the perfect size to hide my drugs, but sadly I'm a real DARE kind of gal. Maybe I'll just use it for bobby pins or pennies or something.

The tins were 99 cents each, the stickers $4 for a few sheets and the spray paint was $12, bringing this project to a total of $17.98. Could I have just purchased much more attractive, less toxic tins for a smaller sum? Probably. But it was fun! Ish. It was fun ish. I would not really recommend this project, in the end, I think it turned out to be pretty dumb.

So! After I finished up this mess I turned to my next project which was making little clothespin magnets. I bought teensy clothes pins and some magnets with self-stick on them and applied the magnets to one side of the pins, then painted them with paint I borrowed from Jamie.

Here's me looking super artistic with my painters palette which I initially bought as a joke, because I think I am just hilarious but actually turned out to be a helpful tool for paint storage. 20130126_154054Once I was done painting, I washed the brushes and palette in the kitchen sink and proceeded to get paint all over a bunch of dishes, whoops. I can only imagine that this is not great for health and now, in addition to poisoining my own tea, I'm pretty sure I've also poisoned Jamie and all of her roommates.

Sorry, guys.

So, how'd these turn out? Not bad!

20130126_174712I am actually pretty proud of these puppies - I made one for each of my roommates and a gross one for Brian that says "L <3 B", and I'm particularly proud of that one with the lil red hearts.

I'll give this one a 8 out of 10. The clothespins were $5, magnets were $3, palette was $1.50 and paint was borrowed, so all told this came to under $10. I WOULD recommend this project for novice crafters and for children. It was easy and fun and if I could handle it without f-ing up, I'm pretty sure the average five year old could do a real bang up job.

Basically all of the projects I took on that day were kindergarten levels of difficulty while my more technically able friends were going to town with more complex projects.

Here is Jamie hand painting glassware:

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And here is Kathleen delicately painting cursive lettering onto a tote bag:

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But don't worry, guys, I can totally cursive too. Here's my last and probably best project, a hand made valentine for my mom:

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That's just some cardstock, sparkly stickers and the most awkward handwriting on the planet. Does this not look like it was made by a third grader with one hand? Be honest, I can handle it. This looks like the kind of nonsense you'd bring home from the elementary school Valentines Day party and your mom would hang on the fridge in a really dark spot where no one could see it before "accidentally losing it" a few days later.

But no, this is the home made card created by a 28-year-old lady with two perfectly working hands. WHY don't I have my own Etsy shop yet?

I did manage to salvage some scraps of this project and pulled together four pretty decent V-tines, one each for my mom, sister, brother and Briguy:

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I'm sure you can guess which one is for Brian, hah. The one with just the heart in the center is for my bro. I wanted to make him a more manly valentine but I only had glittery heart stickers so I made him that and the message inside said "Have a very sparkly Valentines Day!"

So manly.

A few pieces of card stock cost me about $2.50, the stickers were $3.99 for a sheet of 12 and I used markers & envelopes that Jamie had laying around, bringing this project to about $6.50. Even if you had to purchase markers & envelopes you could do this on the cheap and I know my valentines really appreciated the handmade effort so, despite the shaky start, I would give this craft a 10 out of 10 and recommend it wholeheartedly to everyone! Adults, children, animals, everyone.

And that is the story of my craft day! Aren't you impressed with me? You should be.

The best parts of the day were tangentially craft related. The first being when I split my pants in half before going out to dinner and drinks (remember that?!) and the second being when I arrived at said drinks and a bouncer asked to search inside my bag. You see, when creating my plan to go from day crafting to night partying, I forgot to take into account that I'd have to lug my supplies and finished products around with me for the full evening. I also did not take into account that I might be wandering around town with an exposed hoo-haa. Instead of all these dumb tins and magnets I should have been crocheting a crotch patch - like an eyepatch for your crotch! You could carry it around with you in case of any pants ripping emergencies and then would tie it around your waist to cover any exposed bottom bits. So basically an apron. But still, copyright me, this moment, you can't steal it.  Anyway, I arrived at the bar with a huge totebag full of idiotic stuff. Each of the painted tins was wrapped in a plastic shopping back, lest they get any of that toxic, still slightly wet paint on my tote bag, and the bouncer asked me what was inside.

"uh...craft supplies?" I responded, unconvincingly. He made me hold up the line showing him everything I was lugging around. Oddly enough he did not get down on his knees right then and there and BEG me to make him hand made valentines for his friends and loved ones. Your loss, bouncer man. I am a creative genius.

And that, my fine friends, is my adventure into the Wide World of Crafting. I just need an outfit post, a few recipes and a baby and I can be a real blogger!

As I Lay Dying, or One Awkward Home Remedy

My friends, I must ask for forgiveness if I'm missing a bit of my usual joie de vivre  this week, I am dying. Just kidding, I'm fine but I do have either the flu OR a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Or a cold. Or Dengue Fever. Or I just need to catch up on sleep. So many things are wrong with me, who even knows what's up. It's just, the last few days I have been so tired.The sleepiest of sleepy bears. All I want to do is sleep and sleep and sit on the couch and SLEEP.

The whole of last weekend I was down for the count. On Friday night, Brian and I went to bed at 10 PM. And I don't mean "went to bed," wink, high five, I mean flannel pajamas, lights out, low five, I can't lift my arm because I am sleeping went to bed. Saturday I was so low energy I could barely make it through dinner - we were at a BBQ restaurant in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope called Pork Slope and I nearly passed out in my brisket. Clearly something is amiss if I can't enjoy myself at a joint whose schtick is pork and puns.  This bout of intense lethargy and exhaustion followed me into the work week, and yesterday I went home early to try to sleep it off.

I'm really, really hoping this is just a bit of a sleepy streak and nothing more serious (the killer flu is still on the loose!) but just in case, I'm fighting disease with nature.

Something I've been weirdly into lately is homeopathic remedies. I know that's really very trendy and faddish right now, but I'm into it. I like to imagine I'm giving myself the same herbal cures that Ma Ingalls might have prescribed to the girls. Which I guess didn't really work out that well for them, Mary did go blind after all, but so be it. I'm livin' natural, my friends.  My method is no method, which is to say that I don't really follow one prescriptive theory or anything. First I just self diagnose on WebMD and then I search around for home cures for whatever aliment it is I think I've developed and try whichever ones seem most popular and/or interesting. I've been drinking a lot of apple cider vinegar. This afternoon I put hydrogen peroxide in my ears and walked around with my head sideways so it wouldn't drip out. Is any of it working? Probably not, but it makes me feel like a really hip, bad ass, disease fighting super hero.

My newest concoction is this immune boosting juice that I created by taking all of the most frequently recommended items that result from the Google search "Foods To Prevent The Flu" and whipping them up into one delightful treat.

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Hot water, lemon, honey, ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper.

It is disgusting! But in a really awesome, zesty, sinus-clearing way. It's simple to make: in my food processor I combine two peeled garlic cloves, a bit of peeled, fresh ginger, a few shakes of the cayenne and the juice from one lemon and then I crush it all up. My FP only has two functions and doesn't really liquify things, so the garlic and ginger just get kind of chunky, and then I pour into a cup of steaming water, squeeze in some honey until it becomes a really nice yellowish, brownish, snot-like color and voila. Hot, chunky garlic juice. Drink away! It is 100% unappetizing but I do feel slightly better today so who knows. Maybe it worked. Or maybe it was the 14 hours of sleep I logged. Or a combo. I'll go with combo.

Worship me, I am a healer!

And that's that. I'm sorry this isn't terribly funny, but I just knew you all were desperate for a peek into my glamorous and sexy life, so here's what's up! Sittin' on my couch, drinkin' my chunky flu juice, like a boss. YOLO.

Winter? I barely know 'er!

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You see a lot of you know "real" bloggers accompany their posts with charming candid photos of themselves hangin' out in stylish outfits,

so here is a photo of me, wearing my winter indoor wear and dumb hat. It's slightly topical. You are welcome!

So listen. You don't need me to state the obvious, this isn't facebook (burn!), but winter is upon us. It is here. Baby, it is not warm outside.

Some people love the winter. Other people hate it. I generally come down on the side of No Thank You, but in the interest of fair and open-minded thinking and attempting to blog with more frequency, why don't we just make a little list of all of the myriad good and bad things that Old Man Winter has to offer and rejoice in both the glory and the horror of this present season on earth. And now, without further ado:

Winter! The Pros :) and The Cons :(

Con: Everyone is so pale. Even if you're a naturally pale individual, there's something in the air in the doldrums of winter that just sucks all of the color and life out of your flesh until you are just  white, like, beyond Edward Cullen level of pale, like an inhuman, dead blob monster.

Con: Every November, 5 - 10 lbs attach themselves to your hips and midsection and it is 100% impossible to lose weight in the winter. Look it up. It's science.

Pro: No reason to be seen in a swimsuit or any sort of cropped topped apparel!

Pro: You basically never have to shave your legs.

Con: So, your girlfriend is probably a hairy monster at this point.

Con: Hats. Miserable! I look terrible in hats. I have a small, scrawny head and un-brushable, frizzy hair that is impossible to restyle once a hat has been donned and removed. Hats are just not my friend.

Pro: Maybe you are one of those assholes who looks cute and stylish in hats and can pull them off with aplomb. So I guess, then, hats might be a pro for you. GOOD FOR YOU.

Con: When the little fringy bits of your scarf get stuck in the zipper of your coat.

Pro: How delicious is a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs on a brisk evening? SO delicious.

Pro: See Also: Red wine.

Con: Death by frostbite.

Pro: Death by chocolate. This doesn't really have anything to do with winter, I just always thought it seemed a pretty good way to go.

Con: Overheated apartment buildings. My landlady keeps our building at about 80 degrees at all times (probably needs climate control for all of those holiday decorations), to the point where I'm sleeping in shorts & t-shirts with the windows open in the middle of January.

Similar Con: The heat is so drying, my skin is basically peeling off of my body like some kind of molting snake or moisture starved magma rock or something.

Another Similar Con: Loud, clangy, bangy radiators.

Pro: I suppose we should be grateful for central heating...

Con: It gets dark at about 2 PM.

Con: Standing around in crowded bars holding your bulky coats and scarves and layers and such because, obvi, there are no available tables or coat hooks to be found.

Pro: ALLLLLL the more reason to just stay at home and go to bed early!

Pro: Control-top pantyhose. There's something just so reassuring about knowing all of that winter white flab is locked in and secure. Not goin' anywhere.

Con:  Friends sharing photos from their mid-winter tropical vacations. The weather is there, I wish I were beautiful!

Pro: Flannel.

Con: Wool.

Neutral: Cotton, the fabric of our lives.

Pro: Snow, while falling and the first 3 hours of laying upon the ground.

Con: Snow, anytime from 3 hours until the final meltdown.

Pro: Ending on a pro, because I am an optimist:  Adult Snow Days. Rare and beautiful things.

And on the subject of rare and beautiful, here is another stunning photo of me, acting cash in my loungewear. Arousing, I know.

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New Year, Same Everything

2013 is 16 days old and I suppose big changes are ahead but, for now, this new year’s lookin’ a lot like the old one. Here are  6 key facts that don’t seem to have changed since we flipped our calendars. alarm clock

 1. It is important to remember to set your alarm if you don’t want to oversleep for work, like I did this morning, whoopsicle!

 bagel

2. Bagels & Cream Cheese > Oatmeal, no matter how many g-dang “fun” toppings you put on it

coffee

3. Caffeine sho ain’t easy to quit.

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4. Tina Fey & Amy Poehler are American Treasures.

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5. It really sucks to be Lady Edith. (image via

Hurry & catch up on Downton Abbey at Netflix or PBS.com!

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6. Wine makes everything at least 47% better. 

And, as always, I'd rather be just about anywhere other than my desk right now! Have a delightful Wednesday, my fine friends. Wake me when it's time for Happy Hour!

 

xo Liz Ho

One Awkward Brassiere

I really hate to be the gal who’s all “Monday, amirite?” but sometimes: MONDAY, AMIRITE??? I slept very fitfully last night. I kept having recurring dreams with themes of being disorganized or unprepared: going on a trip with an empty suitcase, trying to bake something and missing half of the ingredients, something involving being a part of a pop girl group, which actually would be awesome but in the context of my dream it was wildly stressful. I then spent the first 20 minutes or so of my wakeful day blow-drying my brassiere.

Yep.  You read that right. Just blow-dryin’ my bra. Totally part of my everyday routine. I like warm nips.

Gross, just kidding. Actually, in an early morning haze, I knocked a glass of water onto the floor where I’d thrown my bra before bed, either in a fit of passion or laziness, I’ll never tell (it was passion!) (Sorry mom!), effectively soaking it through. I’d spent the night at Brian’s and, of course did not have alternate underthings with me so it was either freeboobing in a white top to the office (aka “YOU’RE FIRED”) or emergency drying session. What a dumb way to start the day. Also, I know it is science or whatever, but isn’t liquid fascinating? Like, what amounts to a small cup of water when it is upright is suddenly an unstoppable ocean the moment you spill it on the floor / your unmentionables.

#SCIENCE!

So, as long as we’re already talking about bras, let’s just keep this going forever. I can so hear my mom thinking SHUT THIS DOWN, she always worries I’ll get fired if anyone at my job finds out how much weird, personal stuff I write on the internet, but this isn’t going to be as scandalous as it sounds. I actually have a bra-related story I’ve been meaning to share!

Every few months or so, some woman’s magazine or website or Tim Gunn or someone will release some list of “Top 10 Things Every Woman Needs In Her Wardrobe!” They are all the same and involve boring stuff like a classic trench coat, white button down and trousers. SNOOZE. I hate these articles, and ones like it. They’re framed as advice, but I feel they really perpetuate the idea of normalcy and standards and “If you’re not doing all of these perfect things you are failing, hard” and I hate that ish. Every woman’s wardrobe should contain10 things that make her feel like a goddess and if none of those things are sensibly tailored jeans, well, bully for her.

That said, I am beginning to trust their logic on one small item: the importance of purchasing   well fitting, well made (read: not cheap) bras. I’m always more of the mindset that you should just buy the cheapest possible option for everything, consequences be damned.

bra

(Via)

So last January, when I was perusing the lingerie department of my favorite retailer Target, and came across some standard t-shirt bras for $9.99 each (pictured above, DO NOT BUY THESE!!) I scooped up one in nude and one in black and never looked back. These bras were comfortable at first, but soon became the bane of my existence. You see, the straps are attached to the back of the band with little removable hooks that allow you to switch from a standard fit to a cross back and these dumb little motherfuckers slide out of place all the time, leaving me in public with my bra strap literally flapping in the wind.

I have felt my bra snap apart in business meetings, on Bolt Busses, while walking down the street. Once, one of them came undone while on the dance floor at a wedding, I went into the ladies to try to fix it and a stranger came upon me with my dress fully unzipped trying to rehook my bra in the bathroom mirror. She, this random lady I’ve never met before, helped me snap my bra back into place and rezip my dress, which I think is how that Good Samaritan story would be retold if the Bible were updated for modern readers. They always come undone at work when I’m wearing something really intricate, like a sweater over a turtleneck tucked into tights, and the only way I can fix it is to go into my office and shut the door and take off ALL of my clothes except my socks, basically, and rehook the bra. I’m waiting for the day one of the mail guys barges in on me in the buff.

It is out of hand. And yet, I continued to wear these dumb, piece of crap, $10 bras because I have serious problems.

But no more. After ONE FULL YEAR of dealing with this nonsense, with no one to blame but myself, I finally decided it was time to be a grown ass lady and bought some real bras. It’s been one week and my life is better already. Well, my life is pretty much exactly the same, but my chances of flashing the office been reduced drastically and my boobs are a definitely a whole lot happier.

They're feeling both uplifted and secure. Insert other terrible bra puns here!

MONDAY AMIRITE?

 

 

 

 

Some Deep Thoughts On God & French Fries

Two weeks into 2013 and my once again my Wednesday blogging happens on Thursday. Thursday is SO the new Wednesday, y’all. This week’s excuse: yesterday, on a rare day when I actually was in a productive mood, our company was hit by a building wide network failure rendering us completely unable to access the internet, Outlook or internal shared drives. It was, in a word: frustrating. But also, in another word:  kind of the best. Ok that’s three words. But hear me out. Yesterday’s web disaster was one of those great situations where you really feel like there is a god and s/he’s definitely on your side.

I’m not yet making sense. Here’s what I mean! I once saw someone tweet – ugh, yes we are in a place in our modern society where it is totally ok for sentences to begin “I once saw someone tweet” – but anyway, someone on twitter, I do believe it was Mindy Kaling who is someone we should discuss here at a later date, made a joke, a twitter joke, get to the point Liz, about the great moment when you order a side salad to be good, but the waiter messes up and brings you fries instead and you’re just like “oh well, love handles, I tried!” and dig in. Because let’s be real: no one actually prefers a side salad over fries. You may do it because you think you should make the healthy choice or you want other people to think you have willpower or a little bit of both but at the end of the day, you just want some goddamn French fries in your face. Now.

And that is why these little situations are so perfect. You actively make the “right” choice and some outside force, be it a flaky waiter or an internet server thingermabobber or your own forgetfulness, overrules you and gives you what you really want. It’s like god’s way of saying, you know, I hear you! I see that you are trying to be a good, salad eating kind of person and now I will reward you with some guilt-free fries because I think you are great and you need a break.

Ok, I don’t actually think I see god in a plate of fried potatoes (OR DO I???) but I really do think that sometimes you just need life to let you off the hook. Like:

  • You’re trying to work, but the server is down! Relax.
  • You went to the gym, but forgot your shoes! Go home and sit on your couch.
  • Out of skim milk at the coffee counter! Dump out your coffee, fill your cup to the brim with Half & Half and chug that bitch.

It is really hard to go through life trying to do the “good” thing all the time. I think we all deserve a little French fry break now and again, don’t you?

t1larg_french_fries

How’s that for some Deep Thoughts, ehh?!? You’re welcome, world. Now I really want fries for lunch…but I packed a healthy quinoa soup.

So, Are you there, God? It’s me, Liz Ho. I know you did me a real solid yesterday when you crashed my work server, but if you wouldn't mind, I don’t know, blowing up the microwave today while I’m heating my soup or something so that I have to run out and buy some greasy fries, guilt free, gee whiz, I sure would appreciate it.

Three Or Four More Awkward Years!

Guys, I just realized something. One Awkward Year has a birthday to celebrate! I started this blog in January of 2010 to document one year of my life, in all of its absurdities, and here we still are in January of 2013. Three years later...or is it four? I'm having some math issues...We are three years old but celebrating our Fourth Awkward Year? 2010...2011...2012...2013? Whatever, math sux, I'm still here!   If I could go back in time and change the name of this blog I would probably do it, but that seems like it would be a real waste of time travel technology when I could be busy making money by prophesizing the future or having sex with JFK or finding out whether or not Felicity the American Girl was actually a real person. I kind of thought I'd already be the star of my own Julie & Julia by now, but that doesn't seem to have happened, hmm. But still. Happy birthday to me! I do hope you all brought presents.

Sad-Birthday-Cat

(This is the first image that came up when I Google Image searched "awkward birthday." I like it!)

Now. I’m going to ask you to indulge me very quickly with some housekeeping type business. This birthday is perfect timing as I find myself considering where I see myself going as a blogger slash writer. As I mentioned last week, I am attempting to become more serious about this whole scene but it's not as easy as it looks. Blogging well & blogging often takes time and it takes energy. It also takes a certain sense of voice and theme and, let’s be honest, self importance.  Any sort of personal writing be it a print column or a blog or a cave drawing (do you think that prehistoric people drew out witty anecdotes on the walls of their caves? I would die a million deaths if they discovered like, Carrie Bradshaw style stories drawn out in stone circa 300 BC) is inherently self absorbed. You are assuming that the world at large wants and needs to hear what it is you have to say. About yourself and your life. That’s a bold move, friend. If you’re going to make it, what you have to say better be worth it.

I want to make it worth it. I know that blogging is a super selfish endeavor, but I have gone too far down this road to stop, so I’m powering on.  I feel like a cornball saying this, but I have really and truly enjoyed writing here these last few years, especially this last year, where I began to connect with other bloggers, develop more of a voice and become confident in my writing and it means a lot to me that you would choose use part of that time at work where you’re pretending to work but are actually reading dumb shit on the internet to come here and read this dumb shit.

Seriously, thank you!

So, now that I've given you three or four years of great entertainment, depending on how you do math (f’real, though, am I the only one who finds this confusing?!), I am going to ask YOU to do something for me. Tell me:

  • What do you like about this blog?
  • What would you, you know, pass on if this were an all you can eat buffet?
  • What would you like to see more of? Silly stuff? Serious stuff? Personal stuff? Things about New York? TV?  Something I haven't even thought about? Please don't say nude photos. Please also don't say "ew! no nude photos, you are gross!" because that would really not be great for my self esteem. Just avoid discussing nude photos altogether.

I feel like a real douchebucket asking for you to pay even more attention to me, but you nerds seem to like reading this thing so I'm just going with it. If we’re going to endure four (three???) more years of this, I want it to be fun for everyone and I’d genuinely appreciate your feedback, even if it is negative. But preferably positive. But seriously, please be nice. If you would be so kind as to share some ideas with me in the comments or via email: oneawkwardyear@gmail.com or via facebook, if that’s how you came across this post, or by carrier pigeon or a snail mail letter or on a letter that you tape to the back of an actual snail and then pray it arrives to me somehow, I would be eternally grateful.

 

Another Awkward New Year: 2013!

Happy New Year!! I hope everyone ushered in 2013 with plenty of champagne and ridiculousness. I celebrated at a friend’s party in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He hosts an amazing bash every NYE - last year I left with a huge goose egg on my knee after a too-much-bubbly stumble and the year before, just hours after chopping off half of my hair in what is now known as the Great Round Brush Incident of 2010, I met Brian. Two years later, my hair’s better than ever and so are we. Worth it.

IMG_20130101_001848

I already posted this photo to instagram and facebook but wanted to show it off on yet another online medium, lest anyone not fully grasp how cute we are.

Alrighty then, once you've finished barfing over that internet PDA, let's talk New Year, New You type stuff. As is customary in this country and probably others, now is the time to look ahead and make some resolutions for the upcoming year. But before we do that, let’s take a quick look back at the past 12 months, shall we?

As a whole, 2012 was a good year for Ol Hobags. I got a promotion, made Freshly Pressed twice, ran a race, went from long distance dating to down the street dating, got a sassy new do, discovered glitter nail polish, drank a lot of wine and, of course, cured the common cold. Patent pending on that one, though. All in all, I’d give it two thumbs, way up. Beginning the year, I set a lot of lofty, extremely serious goals for myself, too. So how’d I do?

  • Catch up on Breaking Bad - NO :(. This is the greatest shame of my year hands down. One of the downfalls of having a boyfriend in the same city is that we have to...I mean GET to... hang out all of the time, which means I have less time to lay around, alone, bingeing on TV. Brian is currently catching up on BB but is still several seasons behind me so it's hard to catch on my end when we're hanging out. Boyfriends ruin everything. I just spent twelve minutes trying to think up a clever “bros before hoes” riff on this and the best I could come up with was “Mr. Whites before Date Nights.” That should be twitter trending worldwide any minute now.
  • Finally choose between Ryan Gosling and Jon Hamm (anticipating this is the year one or both of them proposes) - Threesomes! Why pick one? (gross.)
  • Figure out ideal hair color - did not even try
  • Try one new type of cheese each week - probably
  • Stop texting while crossing the street - absolutely not. Now that I own a smart phone, I “like” instagram photos while crossing the street. I am basically the Amanda Bynes of walking: a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Go to yoga class at least once - Yo, I went TWICE. Yoga is incredibly difficult. I know I’m late to the party on this, but it’s a lot more than just sitting around breathing. I went to a class on Sunday and can still barely move my arms.
  • Put a bird on it! - constantly
  • Wear red pants - yes!
  • Try Zumba - no!
  • Learn to correctly spell the following words: alchohol, wierd, Carribbean, embarass - alcohol, weird, Caribbean, embarrass (thanks spell check!)
  • Perfect faux British accent - pip pip, cheerio, old chap!

Giving it a very rudimentary glance it looks like I accomplished possibly half of these, mostly ones involving cheese and pants, so I think I did prettttty good for myself. Pretty, pretty good.

Now! Sayonara 2012, So Long, Farewell, Al Wiedersehen, Goodbye! It is time to turn our hearts and minds and belly buttons to the future: to 2013. I have been thinking long and hard (TWSS) about what I want to accomplish this year and think I’ve come up with a pretty solid list. Last year I didn’t get around to doing this until January 23 so I’m already a significantly improved human being!

  • Write More. I am in the midst of compiling a detailed plan of action called “How To Become a Famous Writer in ?? Easy Steps,” the ?? because I haven’t quite finished yet. So far it is 12 steps. Simple.
    • Step One: Blog More. I plan to be writing here three times a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday. So technically I should have written this yesterday but I was confused and thought it was a Monday...which is still no excuse, I just said I’d write Mondays...off to a great start! Listen, it was my first day back at work after a week and a half off and I decided it was the perfect day to simultaneously give up coffee and begin an intense course of prescription sinus medication. I’m lucky my head hasn’t just fallen right off my neck at this point. What I'm saying is, stay tuned. It's happening.
    • Steps Two through Twelve: TOP SECRET!
  • Eat Nicely. This sounds hippie dippie but don’t worry, I’m not turning vegan. Hopefully! Actually, this resolution was initially entitled “Conquer IBS!” but another of my resolutions is “Stop Talking About Your IBS In Public All The Time,” so I decided to change it. Figure out what ails me and cut it from my diet. Even if it is something delicious like coffee (sob!) or gluten. But oh god, PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE LACTOSE! #cheese
  • Learn How To Wear Red Lipstick and Drink Whiskey. I yearn for someone to call me a “broad” by the end of 2013.
  • Be Present. Ack, again, this sounds very crunchy and hippie. Apparently I am turning very spiritual in my old age. Scary. But straight talk, for just a moment: I have a bad habit of fretting on the past or worrying about the future and it’s not great. Sometimes it is very not great, and leads to some rather serious anxiety, but other times it’s more subtle, I’m just never quite focused on the moment I’m actually living. As I get older and begin to think more about “adulthood,” I find I am constantly trying to speed things up (I need to get married! My eggs are drying up! What retirement community should I move to?!), or slow them down (my youth! We have to go back, Kate, we have to go back!) when I should be just enjoying where I am now: happy, healthy, relatively settled, hilarious, good looking and generally in a great place. Looking back on 2012 I feel like it flew by. I know it is a cliche to say that every year goes faster than the last, but I’m beginning to see some empirical proof of that and I don’t want my life to buzz past while I’m busy picking out linens for my imaginary future wedding. (Um, just kidding Brian!) This year I’m slowing it down, living in the present and savoring every moment. And if that makes me a crunchy spiritual hippie weirdo well, Namaste Bitches.

So there you have it. 2013: The Year of Living in the Present While Wearing Red Lipstick, Not Pooping as Often and Writing Up a Storm. I’m excited!

And what are YOUR resolutions?!

Happy 2013, my loves! xo Liz Ho