Another Awkward Week [3.21.14]

Happy Spring, chickens! It's finally here! I mean, yes it's still frigid and they're calling for more snow next week but I am choosing to believe in the power of positive thought and joyfully welcome spring.

Spring! A ling!  a ding ding ding!

Cool chant, bro.

I welcomed the new season last night with open arms and plenty o' tequila. As one does. 

In an effort to improve my mental health and self confidence, I've been trying hard to focus on things I know I am good at (like running, making salads, quoting Mean Girls) and be proud of myself, instead of dwelling on all of the areas where I feel like a failure (everywhere else!). One asset I've always liked about myself is my, for lack of a better term, school spirit. I have been complimented on my enthusiasm in the  - I've told the story about how my high school soccer coach told me I was more valuable on the bench than on the field, because of my "spirit" (see also: lack of sports skills) and my first boss at my job here told me he hired me because I was so enthusiastic. It was between me and another candidate and I just kept calling until I wore him down with my relentless enthusiasm. No one can hide from me! 

Here at work, where I've become especially hard on myself of late, I've decided to embrace my assets and become the Self Appointed De Facto Social Chair of our department. (Am I using De Facto right? Who cares! No time!) I've started doing silly things like the Valentine's Chip & Dip Romance Extravaganza (this year with champagne!) and bringing in donuts on Fat Tuesday and then sending funny emails to invite everyone to join me in eating said donuts. And last night I hosted the first annual Spring Fling - margarita happy hour at a Mexican restaurant by our offices. 

It was so much fun. Tons of people came out and we all got a little smashed and celebrated the new season and I KNOW it is so silly to be like "Good job, Liz, you organized a happy hour"....but I'm sayin' it. Good job, Liz! You organized a happy hour! 

I've come to realize that morale is possibly as important, if not more important than a well rounded knowledge of well respected literary journals. Someone has to work to keep the spirit and energy up in this place and by jove, it will be me! 

I'm feeling better about myself already.

Except also maybe not all of our morale boosting activities need to involve so much tequila because OUCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I've already had two breakfasts and am counting down the seconds until my inevitable hangover hoagie. 

First one of the new season!! 

Ok enough of this nonsense. I've been so like, Oprah Soul Series Self Empowerment lately, I don't know what's gotten into me! Let's cut the schmaltz and take a look at what was keeping it awkward this week.

 

This Haircut:

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Is this a terrible selfie? Sho is! But I have yet to reach the point in my blogging career (LOL "career!") where I can just have some kind of professional photographer follow me around all day every day, catching casual candids of my beautifully curated life so until I reach that point, we're just going to have to deal with a LOT of horrible pics snapped in the mirror of the hair salon dressing room. 

Monday evening I had a MUCH needed hair appointment. Sometime that morning I realized I had a missed call from Arrojo Studios and a voicemail on my cell phone. I assumed they were calling to re-confirm the appointment but the reality was much more dramatic. 

"Hello, this is Arrojo Studio, we're calling in regards to your appointment this evening. Unfortunately your stylist is no longer with us. Please call us back."

UM, no longer WITH US? Like, on earth, among the living? Or just, you know, not working at your salon anymore? That's a very strong turn of phrase. 

I called back to get the scoop (and reschedule. Sorry this lady is dead/missing/resigned but I kind of need a new 'do) and the super flustered receptionist told me that she had no idea what happened to my stylist ... the news had "just landed."

"No longer with us!" "News has just landed!" SUCH an soap opera over there! 

I was able to reschedule for the same evening with a different stylist who gave me some more intel - it turns out it was some kind of family issue, and I do hope all's OK with that, but the whole situation was so cloaked in mystery and drama, loved it. If only all of life could be so scandalous and intense!

PS: I adored this new stylist, if anyone in the NYC regional area is looking for recommendations! 

This Dress:

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Isn't is cute? I KNOW! A colleague of mine (who sits next to me and took this photo, hi Glory!) was wearing it one day in navy blue and I was obsessed and she informed me that she got it at Old Navy (More like Old Favy...cuz it's my favorite? No?) for $20 and they also had it in green and I literally sprinted back to my desk, logged onto Oldnavy.com and the dress was mine. 

It's a two part number, the sheer business you see on top and then a like slip thing underneath, which is attached to inside of the shoulders of the flowered part. 

I went to the gym over lunch yesterday (#humblebrag!) and when re-dressing post workout I realize that the dress had somehow managed to twist itself in such a way that the back part of the slip was now in the front and I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to fix it. I could have just worn it backwards and winged it, except that the back turns out to be significantly lower than the front, and about 80% of my bra & boobs were exposed through the sheer overlayer.

I tried and tried and tried to fix the problem, getting myself ever more twisted every time. At one point I had the slip on and the outer part was hanging inside-out in front of me. Another time one arm was through a sleeve of the slip and somehow the other sleeve was like, behind me? It was a hot mess AND of course happening in the locker room where zillions (ok, four) of people could see me causing a scene.

I ended up putting it on backwards, rushing back to work, and shutting myself in my office where I took it off, cut the slip out of the overlayer and got it all on just right.

What a disaster.

PS: Am I pulling off the whole, lighter colored elf booties over tights thing? It's very hipster but I don't know if I'm making it work...

This Water Bottle:

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I got home from work the other night and had a weird tingly feeling in my leg which I soon learned was not actually tingling but wetness...the lid of my water bottle had broken and I had H2O dripping out from my tote bag and all down the back of my leg. 

I'm not sure when this happened, but I may have walked the whole way from the subway with mysterious liquids dripping down my pants. Classy.

PS: I have nothing to say here, I just said PS for the other 2 things so...

This Bouquet:

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I love tulips! I also love instagram! Something I am endlessly fascinated by on insta is this trend of like, carefully curated and stylized "lifestyle" photos - a cup of coffee next to a scone all artfully on top of a Sunday times, caption: "love lazy weekends!" or a neatly arranged display of pens, a calendar, a diet coke, some flowers, a note pad, caption: "working from home today!" 

And the light is always perfect and there's nothing weird in the background or over to the corner and it's all just so stylized with the intent, I guess, to look natural? How much time do you think these people spend arranging their lives just so? I just don't get it and yet I am sort of obsessed with creeping upon these offenders and speculating about their lives so I am totally complicit in the popularity of these sorts of posts. 

Anyhoodle, my point in this whole confession is that yesterday morning I decided I wanted to instagram my beautiful new tulips, in honor of spring, and I wanted the photo to be as beautiful as any instagram star might share but my kitchen table was a mess and the tile in the kitchen makes an ugly backgrond and where can I get some natural light up in here so I ended up carrying them all over the apartment, eventually pulling a dining chair into the bedroom in front of a white wall and snapping this photo which isn't even that good! It's really not great and took me probably 10-15 minutes of my day to create.

And for why? Seriously why? I remain mystified by this whole craze and I think my foray into hip insta nonsense ends here. 

And THAT, kittens, was my week! How was yours? Weekend plans? If so make sure to photograph...gram it or it didn't happen!

xoxo Liz Ho 

 

 

Another Awkward Week - Christmas Edition! [12.20.13]

Pa rum pum pum pum, everyone! Sorry I'm a little late this AM. I was off receiving the gift of my annual gynecological exam. Merry Christmas, cervix!

Are you guys getting excited for the holidays?! I am SO excited but I also might die of early onset diabetes by next week if I don't cool it with the Chrismas snax. My bloodstream is basically just refined white sugar, brie cheese, caramel corn and wine at this point. Yiiiiikes!

Today is my last day in-office until 2014, I'm spoiled rotten with much vacation time between the holidays so we're headed down to PA tomorrow morning for Christmas with my family and then off to Brian's parents in NJ on the 26th. This is our first Christmas spent together and with each other's families and, as with Thanksgiving, I'm simultaneously excited and also a little mournful about change and growing up and all that business. LIFE! Moving on, sands through hour glasses, etcetera. Enough mourning, Liz: celebrate!

And with that, let's take a look at what was keeping it awkward this (Christmasy!) week.

This Gift:

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A One Direction Sticker Book for my assistant Margaret (she's basically the greatest person alive), wrapped in romantic silver and gold hearts, the only wrapping paper I could find laying around my office.

At least I wrapped it?

This Wine:

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Ok this actually has nothing to do with Chrismtas but did happen in a bar tricked out with garland and twinkle lights so...it fits.

Last night I had a few drinks with some pals and at the end of the night, the waiter sat down a glass of red wine in front of me, one I hadn't ordered.

"For you..." he said.

I immediately sat up straighter, smiled and tossed my hair. For ME?!?! Was some gentleman watching me from across the room, so taken by my good looks and sex appeal that he noticed what I was drinking and sent one over to me, hoping we might meet eyes and fall in love/lust?! I have only ever seen this in the movies but have dreamed that some day such a classy, sexy thing might happen to me and IT FINALLY HAS!

I was all ready to flash a smile and my engagement ring, give a smug "flattered by taken!" shrug in the direction of my secret admirer when the waiter finished his sentence.

"...I accidentally entered too many, so you can have this one."

Insert that screeeech hitting the breaks noise here as I tumble right off my high horse.

The wine was less sensual come-on and more just, you know, waiter error.

UNLESS the whole reason he accidentally ordered the wine in the first place was because he was so taken with my beauty and charm he just couldn't think straight!

Yeah...let's go with that one.

These Cards:

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I was in charge of writing up some holiday cards on behalf of my department and OBVIOUSLY barely made it 2 seconds without spilling ramen all over them.

As for personal Christmas cards, I managed to get out about 12 a vast improvement over last year's six! But again, if you did not receive a card from me, remember, I DO love you and think of you at the holidays and always, I just still haven't gotten the hang of the whole mailing cards situation. Maybe someday! Goals!

This Sidewalk:

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We've had a lot o' snow around here lately (I like it!) and apparently this is what counts as "shoveling" on my block? Three days after our latest storm I thought it was safe to wear regular shoes, instead of the clunky snowboots I'd been rocking, only to discover that all the sidewalks, while cleared of the fluffy stuff, were still coated with a thin layer of ice.

I slid and scooted along, carefully, oooooohhhh so carefully, inch by inch by inch. It took me 17 minutes to go the 2 blocks to the subway BUT I didn't fall once.

Victory!

This Ornament:

muppetmuppets xmas

We spend every Christmas Eve with our very dear friends - this year will be our 27th Christmas together! They have three sons right around the same ages as the three of us and we've known each other essentially since we were in utero. Christmas Eve with this gang is my most favorite night of every year, bar none. We are all mildly majorly obsessed with the Muppets Christmas Carol and have, on several occasions, performed our own version of The Christmas Carol (adapted from the movie, obvs) for our parents and it's always hilarious and amazing and we should probably have won at least 17 Tony Awards by now. We've been robbed!

Anyway, their oldest son Robert got married last year to an amazing gal, Jackie, who is a truly spectacular addition to the crew, and this year, Rob & Jackie will spend the holiday with her parents in Louisiana, so our group will be apart for the first year ever. I won't make you listen to yet another dramatic monologue about growing up and changing and sadness and adulthood and life but will just say that we will miss them very, very, VERY much.

I got the amazing idea in my head to send them a Muppets Christmas Ornament, which turned out to be easier said than done. I could not find one single licensed MCC (Mupptes Christmas Carol, duh) ornaments for sale, even on the interwebs, so I had the brilliant thought to make my own DIY ornament. There are zillions of sites where all you have to do is upload a photo, hit send and voila: your own personalized ornament.

Except I guessss you can't just upload any old picture you find on Google Images because when I tried this at Zazzle.com, they told me it violated their acceptable content guidelines.

Bah humbug!

I was initially impressed by their excellent legal team, catching this one little order, but then realized I may have tipped them off myself. The gift message with order read:

"Merry Christmas! This is ridiculous and probably violates copyright law, but I wanted to make sure you guys had some Muppets in your holiday this year!"

(Emphasis added.)

I basically handed them this one on a platter. What a terrible criminal I would be! Just walk into a bank with a bunch of counterfeit bills and a note reading "LOL these are fake!!"

So Rob, Jackie, you're not getting a Muppets Ornament this year. But please know that all of us kids and parents and Rizzo the Rat and the Ghost of Christmas Present (a LARGE absent minded spirit!) and Michael Caine and Charles Dickens (aka Gonzo) and Charles Dickens (the real person, RIP) and the whole gang will miss you terribly and wish  you the very merriest of Christmases!

God Bless Us, Everyone!

These Skirts:

photo

Happy Annual Everybody Wear Your Inappropriately Short Festive Skirt To the Office and Pretend it's a Coincidence Even Though You Totally Planned It Day!

Like, so planned it that we had a calendar reminder and everything.

calendar reminder

It's the little things that keep the holiday spirit alive, you know?

This Tin:

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A Christmas bribe!

We're totally in love with our apartment and desperately want to stay at least one more year, so we're actively trying to remind our landlady why we're the very best tenants ever and she so shouldn't raise the rent on us. We thought that a Christmas gift and card would be nice just in general and also would help demonstrate how invaluable and amazing we are. The plan was cookies and an ornament...except the cookies have now been sitting in this tin since Sunday night and I can't, for the life of me, find the godforsaken ornament we bought for her. WHERE ARE YOU, ornament?!

She might just end up getting a card reading:

"Merry Christmas! Please enjoy some stale cookies and also we got you an ornament but lost it, whoops, please never raise our rent and Happy New Year! Love, Liz & Brian"

How could she ever kick us out after receiving that?!

And speaking of our landlady, I know you've all been dying to see, here is this year's Christmas decor:

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Classy in blue and silver. I actually LOVE this year's display! Understated and sparkly. I'm into it.

And, of course, the seals make their annual return to the foyer:

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Oh those two!

And, finally, because it's never Christmas without it, let's all pause and watch...

The Most Awkward Christmas Commercial of All Time: 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=zZnqBL6iYjA]

'Tis the season for creepy sibling love!

And there you have it, friends. What are you all up to for Christmas? Any trips planned? Cookies baked? Presents under the tree? You're Jewish and don't celebrate? My bad! You're offended that I say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays? Oh BAH HUMBUG!

Wishing a Happy Merry WHATEVER to everyone near and far. I hope a lily white Santa brings you everything you wished for and more.

Hugs & Mistletoe, Liz Ho Ho HO!

One AWESOME Announcement

Hello World! Please allow me to take a brief moment from our regularly scheduled programming for a small big huge amazing FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC Announcement:

Brian and I are engaged!

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Move over, Seth Cohen, there's a new man in town. And this time, he's real!

We're both pretty excited by the whole situation, in case you can't tell by the mega-watt grins.

Can't wait to have an eternity of adventures with this guy.

Many (many, many) more details to come (please, have we ever known me to be short-winded?) but first, just wanted to share the good news. Everyone knows that nothing's official in this world until you tell the whole internet.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must go lie down - I'm practically cross-eyed from staring at my left hand all day.

HOORAY!

Cohabitation Situation Information Updation

My dudes. Happy Friday! R. Kelly's deeply poetic mantra "It's the freakin' weekend, baby" is speaking to me like never before. Now is when I'd generally recap the week but I'm too excited to think about anything but the future because, you guys, tomorrow is moving day!

Que sorpresa, right? I won’t give you the whole long, boring story which mostly just involves a lot of instances of me panicking and creating dramatic worst case scenarios only to have everything work out just how I wanted, but my landlady in my current apartment (she of the epic holiday decor) either really loves us or didn’t want to have to be bothered to find a new tenant (I suspect the latter) agreed to lower the rent to a price point that Brian and I can afford so the two of us will be living in my beautiful THREE BEDROOM mansion of an apartment in Brooklyn. Which means I don’t have to move any further than the big bedroom down the hall, we don’t have to pay an exorbitant broker’s fee and we’ll have room to spare, and then some.

Basically, I’m a really lucky B and I should count my blessings a little more.

We’d had it in our heads that Brian would move in this coming weekend, but we’ve both been crazy busy and still haven’t, technically, signed the lease (it’s a long story, don’t ask) so it sort of popped up on us. We just confirmed with the landlady last night that this date is a go and so in approximately 24 hours we will be shacking right on up.

AAH!

I am ridiculously excited and yet, surprisingly blasé. I guess I assumed that somehow the momentous nature of our big move would be more palpable. The earth would shake or fireworks would explode or there would be a plane with skywriting reading “Liz! In 24 Hours Your Whole Life Will Change And You’ll Never Live On Your Own Again, Holy Shit!” but so far, none of that has happened and I’ve mostly just carried on as normal.  I just realized that last night was probably my last night ever sleeping in my own bed – tonight I’ll likely go over to Brian’s so I can help him move in the morning. (haha “help him move” aka stand around, be bossy and do no heavy lifting.)

I always thought my last night on my own would be momentous, portentous, dramatic. Instead it was relatively normal. I met a girlfriend for drinks in the neighborhood, came home, ate a tomato for dinner, took a cold shower and read a book in bed. The drinks were fantastic but the actual being at home alone part was, quite frankly, lonely and boring. So maybe it was portentous, then, in that way. By giving me a night as dull and pathetic as they come (you guys: I ate a tomato for dinner. A tomato! That’s it! On my bed, in front of a fan, alone.), my solo life was sending me off reassuring me that excitement lay ahead, that I wouldn’t really miss these drab, tomato nights.

I’m sure I’ll freak out tomorrow, or in a few days or even weeks…don’t you EVEN fret about that.  I’ve never navigated a life change without at least one melodramatic breakdown, I certainly don’t see this being an exception.

For now, I’m just curious about one thing. Help me out, fellow cohabitators. What do you do with your stuffed animals? HA! Ridiculous question, I know. You see, I have this friend named Winston. He’s a polar bear I bought at the Coca Cola factory on a trip to Atlanta to visit my cousin when I was in 5th grade. It’s funny, that was my first solo big-girl trip and I came home with toy, ha. Winston used to have a plastic  coke bottle in his hand, but it broke when he was stepped on during a dance party at a friend’s sleepover, making him all the snugglier, and since then he has travelled with me to college, to Belgium, to all of my NYC apartments and on nights when I’m sleeping alone, I sleep with him. I know I’m a grown ass lady but it’s comfortable! Tell me I’m not the only one?!

Brian and Winston totally get along (once we were setting up to watch a movie in bed and I went into the kitchen to get a water and when I came back, Brian had the laptop all set up and was sitting up with Winston sitting right beside him, like he, too was joining us for the movie and I died because Brian is so cute and weird and funny) and the poor bear has seen some things he can’t unsee if you know what I mean, unless he’s into watching, that dirty bear! But still, it’s just not normal to bring a stuffed animal into your wonen samen bed, is it? It’s not!

But I feel bad just abandoning him in the guest room (or the office! Check me out I have multiple rooms!) (ha I am the worst). I know that most people have long since weaned themselves off of their childhood talismans, leaving them catching dust in parents' attics or childhood bedrooms, but Winston has been with me for the long haul and putting him away somewhere seems so…final. Like, this is it, you’re a grown-up now. Get on the big girl bus, next stop: menopause.

And now see… I think I AM freaking out about the big move! I’m just projecting all of my anxieties onto sadness over my teddy bear, which, upon further reflection, is mildly insane. But what can you do? We all panic in our own special and unique ways.

So that's what's up, friends! Thank you for reading this 83 paragraph essay about my teddy bear, this started as something so much more profound and took a pretty weird turn. In addition to the big changes, I'm coming off the nutsoist week and basically haven't slept in 10 days. If I don't shut this down now, who KNOWS where it might go.

The end, for now. This big adventure is actually just beginning! I promise I'll do my best to make it slightly more interesting next time. Hoping you all have the most magical weekends. Don't forget to hydrate!

winston

PS here is a cute picture of Winston tucked into my bed. True Life: I Am 28 And Play With Stuffed Animals.

 

Some Awkward/Awesome Travel Tips

passport In case the 146 billion degree temps + fireworks + corn on the cob haven't tipped you off: summer is upon us. It's here, drink beer, get used to it.

Summer + travel often go hand in hand, hence the term Summer Vacation, so I thought I'd toss out a few fun travel tips to help take your summer trip from zero to hero. These tips are also applicable to fall, winter and spring vacations - timeless travel tips, that's what I aim for.

But listen. I'm not going to tell you how to dress or how to efficiently pack a suitcase or what to read or eat on a plane or any of that jazz, you already know that and if you don't, you can flip to the latest and greatest issue of Real Simple and they'll hook you right up. No,  thought I'd share some special, supplemental travel tips that will have you the star and hero of your own vacation, making the most out of any trip whether you're headed to Little Rock, Arkansas or Paris, France or somewhere in between.

You're welcome in advance!

  • Always wear good underwear when flying. You never know what those full body scanners might show up and if, God forbid, your plane crashes and you end up in some kind of Lost island scenario, you're going to want to be looking and feeling your sexy best.
  • Speaking of underwear: always have an extra pair in your carry-on and pack three times the amount you think you might need for your trip. You can never be too prepared when it comes to underbusiness.
  • Don't bother bringing toiletries when staying with friends, it's fun to use other people's stuff.
  • DO bring toiletries when staying at a hotel, you can never guarantee the quality of the free products. That said, if they are high quality, obviously and no duh, stock up.
  • If your hotel has a continental breakfast, it is your duty to go back for thirds and fill your bag with leftovers.
  • When going on a road trip, make your companion drive 93% of the time.
  • Always bring your exercise clothes. Never use them.
  • Sneak a razor onto a plane by hiding in the running shoes you're bringing but not using. Yes, you might get caught and shipped right off to Guantanamo buttttt it's a risk you have to be willing to take not to have to buy razors at resort prices.
  • If your travel destination has a special local cocktail, just drink it. No questions asked. And order another round.
  • Same goes for food - whether it's chicken fried steak or boiled monkey brains, just try it! As the youths say: YOLO.
  • To be frugal, pack your lunches.
  • To experience the best of local culture, eat at all of the finest restaurants.
  • To get the most bang for the all of your money, do both: pack a lunch, eat it by 11:05 AM and then hit up a fine dining establishment an hour later. By the transubstantiatial property of 2 x 2 = 4, you'll be four times happier and t is a proven fact that credit card debt doesn't count when you're on vacation, so just go for it.
  • Don't wear a string bikini in the ocean unless you're prepared to go accidentally full-frontal at least once.
  • Pack a lot of bandaids. You never know.
  • Take 70 billion photographs. Upon your return, print them out and invest in a fancy scrapbook. Keep the photos in a box for 6 + years and eventually just throw the scrapbook out.
  • Before you travel, watch a movie set wherever you're going and then reenact scenes all over town. The cheesier the better. (See photo above of a pal & I reenacting a pivotal scene from the Mary Kate & Ashley CLASSIC Passport to Paris in the Luxembourg Gardens, circa 2006.)
  • Send postcards! It's cute and makes someone's day. Write dirty stuff on the back and make the postman's day, too.
  • It's 5 O'clock somewhere
  • Two Words: Sun Block
  • Two More Words: Aloe Vera
  • If you're travelling by bus, don't change your entire outfit, including bra and underpants in the bus bathroom while en-route, even if you're on the way to see your new long-distance boyfriend for the first time and you want to be as fresh and sexy as possible. Just take my word on this one.
  • And finally, do your best not to be a crazy stress monster even if that is your natural state of being. Your job - that's back at home. You missed a connecting train? Get drunk at the station bar. Trip not working out exactly as you envisioned it in your brain all these weeks - that's ok! Slow down, go with the flow and enjoy it as it is. You can get right back on the anxiety bus the second you get home but for now, you're on vacation. Ain't nobody got time for that!

And there you have it.  Follow these tips and you're sure to have a top notch vacation at any destination.

Now your turn! What do you think makes a perfect vacation even perfecter? That's a word now, just roll with it.

Happy Summer, my fine friends!

A Cohabitation Proclamation

Summer is upon us, friends. Do you have any big travel plans? I’ve got a few weddings in the works (always) always and the possibility of a late August camping trip of some kind (sure to be ripe for blog material), but the majority of my summer will be consumed - physically, emotionally and especially financially - by moving. My lease on my beloved apartment in Brooklyn is up July 31 and I’m moving out of one of the best NYC apartments I’ve encountered yet. And why? So I can shack up with a handsome new roommate.

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That’s right. We’re taking the plunge. Well, not the big one, but the small modern, sinful step of pre-marital cohabitation. So maybe we're not at the plunge (yet!), but we’re definitely climbing up the diving board ladder.

I’m excited! Neither of us has ever lived in sin with a significant other before, so it’s a serious step, for both of us. And not one I’m taking lightly. I don’t judge anyone’s decisions to live how or where or with whom they please, but I know for a lot of people, cohabitation is a matter of convenience or a test to see if they’ll work it out for the long term but for me, and for the B-Man (I never call him that. Why did I just call him that?) is more just the next step in our big adventure together. It is important to me that the man I move in with ... I can't just move out from. We know that anything can happen but barring any unknowns, starting August 1, we’ll be eternal roomies.

A prospect both terrifying and exhilarating. Mostly exhilarating.

When I studied abroad in Belgium, which, have I even discussed that here? I should. Most of our stories are NSFB (Not Safe For Blogging), let’s just say we were never ever on our best behavior, but there are probably a few tales I could tell. Anyway, while abroad, we had to take a year long Dutch language class, a language which has come in handy exactly zero point zero times since, maybe until now. In Belgium and a lot of European countries, it’s not unusual for couples to live together for years before getting married, if ever getting married, even having children together. The Dutch have a special verb for this “wonen samen”, which translates into a phrase we don’t necessarily have words for in the English language: an unmarried couple living together.

I love that Dutch term and wish we had one similar. This morning while filling out paperwork with a realtor I had to list how many people would be in the apartment, two, and our relationship. “Boyfriend and Girlfriend” sounds trivial. “Partners” makes me think of those very intensely non traditional, liberal, artistic couples who wear a lot of scarves and live together for years but never marry and more power to ‘em, but calling Brian my partner, though he is, just doesn’t sound right for us. Special Roommates? Bed Buddies?

A problem, I know, that would be solved were we doing this the old fashioned “right” way by marrying first, then moving in, which, again, is a totally legitimate decision, if you choose to make it...but not the one that feels right for us. Or for for nearly half of the American population, so I do think we need some new vocab for the situation.

Any suggestions? As seen above, mine are pretty terrible!

Despite this huge number of pre-marital roomateships, many people still frown heavily upon it and we’re lucky that neither of our parents fall into that camp. I think they’d all wish the rings we’re about to share were for fingers, rather than house keys, but are supportive of our decisions, giving the oh-so-parental responses of “wellll, you’re adults and I guess that’s just how things are done these days.”

Indeed!

And so, here we are, gearing up to make this big step together. Before we can actually cohabitate, we'll need, you know, a habitat.  How’s it going, so far? Not great. We rushed out Sunday morning to make it to an open house...only to learn the landlord thought it was for a different day, and wasn’t able to show. We then rearranged the remainder of our day to meet a broker at 3 PM for a few showings...and he blew us off.

So, yeah, things are off to a bang up start over here. But I remain optimistic. My anxiety is on hyperdrive and my fingernails are chewed to nil, already, but I’m optimistic.

And how could I not be? In just over a month, I’m going to get to wake up next to this face every day.

IMG_20130528_014828

Barf times one million, but I can’t help myself! I'm pumped. There are practical things that excite me about living together - no more lugging overnight bags to each others’ apartments, no more having to pack multiple lunches for days I won’t be at home to cook or having to split up Saturday mornings to run home and grab that one thing I need before meeting back up again for the day, more cooking for two. So mostly food and fashion related. What else would I care about?

But on the non-practical, overwhelmingly emotional side, I’m just very happy at the thought of sharing and building a home together. Waking up next to each other every morning and then going to sleep together at night. Coming home late nights to each other, cooking together, making decisions as a team.

Barf times one million and two.

Despite a cynical streak a mile wide, it turns out, I’m really kind of a hopeless romantic.

That said, I’m still a little nervous. Er, a lot nervous. I know we’ll have new things to fight about and challenges we never even could have imagined. If anyone out there has any tips on successful cohabitation, I’d LOVE to hear them. Specifically in regards to taking on joint finances when one of you is a responsible, practical math nerd and the other is a fiscal trainwreck with mountains of debt and a penchant for blowing all of their earnings on nail polish and organic nutbutters.

$10 (worth of nail polish) to the first person to correctly guess which one of us is which.

It’s going to be an adventure, without a doubt, but I think it will be a great one.

Now we just need a home to shack up in. Ack!

Another Awkward Week [5.24.13]

Hola, lovers! How was everyone's week? Mine was equal parts amaze-sauce and bananagrams (both real adjectives). I'm going to just start with my very best foot forward right up front and beg forgiveness if I'm a little crazier than usual this next week or two. I'm going from vacation back to a short week into another long weekend into a nutters work week which includes this big (true), fancy (completely false), fun (debatable) publishing conference...I kind of already have no idea what day it is or where I am or really anything. All I know is that I'm currently eating chicken sausage and I really wanted to dip it in mustard, but my mustard bottle is basically empty - there's mustard up in there, but not enough to squirt (that's what she said?) (unnecessary, Liz) so I'm just taking little pieces of sausage and sticking them inside the bottle and scooping up whatever remains I can and surprise, surprise, this plan has backfired greatly and now I have sausage stuck in my mustard bottle. mustard

My new book HoBag, Party of One: Etiquette and Manners for the Solo Diner hits stores next month. Preorder a copy today.

Toldja - losing it!

How about we just stop here and take a look at what was keeping it awkward this week.

This Tote Bag:

tote dryer

One of seventy zillion in my possession and also my carry-on for my flight home from Chi-town this weekend. Just casually blow-drying it. Because it was wet. Because I needed to wash out the coffee I spilled inside of it mere minutes before we left for the airport.

My book of travel tips is still seeking a publisher. Any takers?

This Other Tote Bag:

CSA

Full of produce. My company (hint hint as to what it is in the first photo) participates in this amazing CSA, an acronym which either stands for Community Supported Agriculture (my sister's guess) or Crop Share Association (mine) and I don't want to look it up because I'm pretty sure she's right, she always is, and I don't need to be reminded yet again that she's smarter than me. My brother thinks it stands for Confederate States of America which yes, but also, no.

Oh hey, rambling diversion, good to see you here.

Anyway, whatever CSA stands for, what it does is deliver bags of fresh, locally grown produce to my office for participating members to bring home and cook up and enjoy. I'm pretty into it.

Of course they deliver veggies on Wednesdays and this particular Wednesday I had a semi-fancy event after work, so what did I do? Rolled in with a ginorm bag with leeks and spinach and chives poking out the top.

No regrets.

This Ring Finger:

knuckle

Ok so it's kind of hard to see in comparison to the rest of my bony alien fingers, but my left ring finger is decidedly crooked, thanks to a broken knuckle sustained on the soccer field in high school.

I mean, yes, I broke it but just running into a teammate. During practice. But still: sports injury!

I had to wear a ridiculous splint halfway  up my arm and it was a whole scene and the doctor helpfully pointed out that my finger would be permanently crooked and might make it hard to put on an engagement ring IF I ever got one.

Want to send a 16-year-old into a tailspin? See above.

Anywhoo, since the break, my knuckle is severely sensitive to weather patterns and I can always tell when it's going to thunderstorm thanks to a dull, steady ache radiating out from the center of my finger.

I am having serious trouble typing this here post thanks to today's weather fronts. If my magic finger is telling me anything, we're in for a surious storm. Hurry up, storm. I've gotsta blog!

I've also gotsta touch up my manicure, yiiiikes. And, yes, that is the toilet you see in the background. Our bathroom gets the best light! So sue me.

We already did have one storm today. How do I know, aside from me finger?

This Puddle:

galoshes

It's a little hard to tell in this professional grade photo but I'm standing in several inches of rainwater which DELIGHTFULLY decided to pool themselves all over the landing on the subway staircase, basically forcing passengers to swim to their trains.

I've mentioned my love/hate relationship with New York and I have to say, the needle has fully swung in the direction of the big, fat H this week.

At least I had the foresight to change out of...

These Shoes:

moccs

That slice of orange (technically Coral Reef by Sally Hansen, you know you were curious) on the top right is my toe popping out the front of my most beloved pair of Minnetonkas. Oh, how I will mourn them.

Have you heard of Minnetonkas? They're theeeee most amazing moccasins, essentially slippers that you can wear in public. They are the greatest and I am literally heartbroken that this pair has ripped. LITERALLY not figuratively, grammar Nazis,  my heart, like my shoes, is in tatters.

My favy fave outfit to wear is thus: these shoes, my softest black jeggings, a t-shirt and this jersey blazer that I bought from H&M that is a blazer, yes, BUT is also made out of sweatshirt material. Between the moccs and the jeggs and the blaze I have crafted an ensemble that is as close to pajamas as one can get while still wearing all public appropriate apparel. Cha-ching.

But now my shoes AND favorite pajama jeans have both gone the way of the dodo so I don't know WHAT I'm gonna do. Dress like a grownup professional?

No annnnd NO.

Oh, what did I wear this week?

These Getups:

blue week

Initially this week's sartorial theme was to be "patriotic" due to the impending Memorial Day weekend.  I dedicate these outfits to all of those who have sacrificed yourselves for our country. You are SO welcome. I did manage to sneak in red, white and/or blue each day, buttt my outfits mostly turned out apathetic and weather inappropriate. When it was cold, I wore one of my many way-too-short-for-work skirts with bare legs; when it was hot, I wore black jeans and what appears to be a painters smock and some attractive rain boots (still not unpacked suitcase comes bonus with that ensemble) but today I think I knocked it out of the park with this nautical inspired top which a friend once told me looks like part of a children's pajama outfit.

 All pajamas, all the time over here.

Fashion. Plate.

Speaking of pajamas, I just realized that the actual pajamas I slept in all week  are actually red, white and blue! Technically those are Christmas bottoms but we can make them Memorial Day for now?

pj

Also that's what I look like when I wake up in the mornings. Stars, they're just like us.

And on that note, THE END. Happy Memorial Day, my American friends and lest anyone take my ridiculousness for insensitivity, thank you truly to all who serve in the armed forces and to those families staying strong at home. And to my foreign pals, Happy Whatever Holiday Comes Next On Your Cultural Calendar. Live it up!

Peace, Love & Pajama Jeans,

Liz Ho

Another Awkward Week [5.10.13]

Fridaaaay. What up. Guys, I must confess, I seriously fell down on the job this week. Both my fake job documenting my awkward life and my real job publicizing fine literature. It was not my finest week. I made a poor judgement call at work and it created a bit of a shitstorm. It's fixable and on the grand scheme of life, barely a blip - I mean, it's books, not like, a human life or anything, but it created extra work and stress for a lot of my colleagues and had me beating myself up. I hate making mistakes, hate causing tension, hate having other people have to scramble after me. Fortunately my bosses were kind and supportive, and I think we ironed out my hot mess but still: UGHHHHHHHHHHH.

Throughout this, people kept reassuring me "It's a learning moment! You'll never make this mistake again!" Which, true. But, blergh. If I wanted to learn, I'd buy a friggin' encyclopedia. I hate that all of life's best lessons are hidden in disasters and errors and heartbreaks and black holes. Why can't we learn and achieve greatness by always just being happy and awesome and never ever messing up?

Real life is the worst.

Anyhoodle, I think it's mostly over and I'm now a brilliant genius full of knowledge and publicist perfection forever and ever the end. But somehow in the midst of all that madness, I realized I'd forgotten to savor the hilarious, delightful moments. I got nothin'!

Forgive me? See you back here next week? Will a picture of Jonn Hamm with a puppy make it better?

hamm_dog_flynet_1109

(via)

What about a photo of a chubby baby with glasses napping on a pile of books?

baby nerd

(via)

Or a link to several spring sangria recipes?

sangria

Hot men and babies and booze make everything better, no?

And how was your week? Cause any disasters? Learn any vital life lessons?Let's kvetch.

Can gentiles use that word? Let's just go with it. Bring on the weekend! Happy Mothers' Day to all you mamacitas out there.

xoxo Liz Ho

One Awesome Mom

mothers day

Just a friendly reminder that Mothers’ Day is this coming Sunday – have you shopped yet? Hurry, hurry! Bonus #240 of working in publishing: free books make perfect gifts for all occasions. (Spoiler alert, Mom!).  I was hoping you might indulge me a few minutes in honor of this impending holiday to say a few words about my own special lady.

The thing about my mama is, she’s a pretty great gal. Her name is Bernadette but her pals call her Bebe. Her kids call her Bernie, Bernard, Bern-dawg, Beans, Bernice or Schmoopy, a bizzaro nickname we invented somewhere around mile seven of a fifteen hour family car trip. She is undoubtedly the backbone of our family and a source of warmth and strength for all around her.  Everyone who knows her loves her. It’s impossible not to love The Schmoopster, it just is. She’s smart and funny and snarky and warm and wise and giving and would jump in front of a stampeding herd of wildabeasts to protect her loved ones. So basically she’s Simba’s dad from The Lion King. Except still alive. And not a lion. Or a king. Or voiced by James Earl Jones. What I’m trying to say is: she’s the best. I’m lucky she’s mine.

I’ve been blessed, we’ve always been close. I know there were times where it wasn’t perfect and I was a bit of a snotty brat or she was being like, SO NOT fairrrr, Moommmmmm, but for the most part, we’ve always had a strong and open relationship. I know that can be a rare thing, so I don’t take it for granted.

A few weekends ago, she came up to New York for a visit and we had the most wonderful time. Long walks and museums and lots and lots and lots of wine. The best parts of the weekend for me were between the wandering and wining and dining. Saturday evening after dinner we sat up talking - in my kitchen with ice cream and then on my bed like a slumber party, and then again Sunday morning over mugs of coffee on the living room couch with the windows wide open to the sun. We talked about family history and future goals and worries and hopes and memories and her life and my life and I felt like we connected and communicated in a way we never had before. It is a strange thing to enter into adulthood and suddenly see your parents on a similar plain. She’s still my mommy and I’m still her little girl, but things are different now. I’m an adult and have my own life and am flying further and further away from the nest. I know this will continue to change as I check off additional life boxes like marriage and babies and things. That weekend, staying up late, talking, I felt like we clicked, like we hit the right groove on this new phase, as two adults. I felt as though I got to see and hear new sides of my mom and she opened up to me in a new way. And on the other side, I sensed myself as a grownup, in a good way. It’s hard to explain, as I sit here to type, but I feel I already know that our hours chatting here in my little Brooklyn apartment will be something I cherish forever. Can you know that after just a week? I’ll say you can. I was genuinely sad to see our weekend come to an end.

 I feel myself becoming more and more like my mom every day - in good ways and in ways that make me cringe: "I’m becoming my mother!" Sometimes when I’m exhibiting certain traits that drove us nuts growing up - say slight bossiness (we just know best!) or worrying (it’s a crazy world!), my siblings will call me Bernie Junior. They’re being jerks, but I take it as a compliment.

 I can't think of anyone I’d rather grow up to be.

So happy (early) Mothers’ Day, Schmoopaloop, and thank you for all you have taught me and shared with me and passed on to me. I think you’re just the best.

 

Even Awkward Girls Get the Blues

Hello, my fine friends. I must ask you to bear with me as I get a little self-indulgently dramatic. After distracting myself for days, I sat down to write tonight and instead just read recipes and sat on my bed and took pictures of myself.

Untitled drawing

Every six months or so I find myself sucked into a spiral of, well, I'm not sure what the spiral is made of, but it feels like a mix of lethargy and melodramatic contemplation. I'm there now and have been for the last week or two. I worry that I'm not in the right career field. I'm unsure of what to direction to take with my blog. I'm anxious about money and my future and I don't look great in a bathing suit right now and most everyone I know is wearing my last nerve. So I worry and I worry and I mope and I put off making decisions or being productive in favor of blobbish, cranky procrastination.

It's not a great look on me.

I'll snap out of it, I always do, but in the meantime, I might be a little quieter this next week or so while I get my ish back together. And when I do, it will be better than ever, I promise you that.

This isn't me like, asking anyone to feel bad for me, though it kiiiiind of sounds like I'm begging for attention. But when am I not, I mean, really? One of the goals I know I have for this here blog is to keep it real, always, so self-referential and un-funny as it might be, I thought I owed it to myself and to my zillions of fans to well, keep it real, yo. Plus I've kinda-sorta come to enjoy the whole blogging community thang, so who better to vent to than your peeps, no?

So that's what's up, peeps, and thanks for listening to me mope. I'll be back soon! Be sure to keep it awkward while I'm gone - I have faith in all of you!

xoxo Liz Ho

You're Welcome, America!

Hi! Are you watching the Oscars? I won't post this until Monday morning so technically The Oscars were already last night and so by "are you watching" I mean "did you watch" but whatever, this isn't English class. Because I'm typing this Live! and In The Moment! I don't know how this ish goes down. I don't know who wins, who loses, who cries, who gives a long and overwrought acceptance speech, though my ca$h monie$ are on Anne Hathaway for that one, ugh. I don't know who gets snubbed, which presenters have the most embarrassing scripted banter and which flub their lines. All I know is this: In the opening awkward-bad-joke-cringefest monologue, American Treasure Channing Matthew Tatum took to the stage to dance and did not show even a whisper of torso. A flash of bum. A single inch of his beautifully chiseled, extraordinarily limber bod. You wouldn't ask a bird not to fly, would you? Or a fish not to swim? Why, then, why would you put Magic Mike on a stage and NOT ask him to hump the floor?

Give the people what they came for, Oscar.

Don't worry, America. I've got you covered:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbIvOf0Xmzo]

And the Oscar for Best Blog goes to: me!

This is just a short little Monday Funsie, so come back Wednesday when I'll be sharing a few special memories of my own attempts to become a famous, award-winning actress. Spoiler alert: the story involves original musical numbers, monkeys and roller blades. Not to be missed. I'm sorry I'm such a tease, but just look at Channing again, doesn't that just make your week?

I'm also VERY sorry I said "Monday Funsie" and promise never to say that ever again. WHAT is wrong with me?

xoxo  Liz

PS. Stayed awake long enough to see the supporting actress awards and I should have put actual ca$h on my insufferable speech predix. I know I'm a real hater but shut up, Ann.

PSS. Who was your best dressed?!? I'm still combing through the pics but so far I'm digging Jessica Chastain, Naomi Watts & oddly enough, Clooney's gf Stacy Kiebler. Did anyone else think the fashion was a bit snoozy this year?

Love Awkwardly

valentine-romance Hugs and kisses, everyone! It’s almost Valentine’s Day! Oh what’s that you’re saying? You hate Valentine’s Day? Love is a sham? This holiday was just invented by Hallmark to sell greeting cards? I don’t need anyone telling me when to show my love, I do it just fine myself!

Well, well, weellll, aren’t you just a ray of sunshine.

Here’s the thing: I like Valentine’s Day! I think it is cute and I like candy and I like wearing red and I like love.

Is it an invented, overly commercialized holiday? Sure. But honestly: what’s not? I mean, Christmas was invented by the Christians to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, and then hijacked by department stores. St. Patrick’s Day was invented by Irish Americans so they had an excuse to barf in public at least once a year. And Halloween?I mean, WHAT is even going on there? All holidays are weird and made up. You can be a grouchasaurus or you can put on your big kid panties and have a good time.

I feel like every holiday I encounter at least one person who refuses to celebrate. “New Years Eve is such pressure, I’m staying home.” “Oh, I don’t do Halloween.” Lame!

I “do” everything. Why not?! I understand that there is a lot of external, cultural pressure to make holidays into a big ol’ thang – dinner reservations and money spent and gifts exchanged and general high expectations abounding – but the way I see it, holidays are, at their very base level, a chance to turn an ordinary ho-hum day into something slightly more entertaining, whether you go all out or just add some themed candy to your daily diet. And Valentine’s Day, despite its current reputation of being the dumbest, lamest, worstest holiday in all of the land is no exception.

Would I be singing a different tune, were I not in a committed relash? No, I would not. Yes, I now am lucky enough to spend my days with a fella who happens to have the best face and butt in the Greater New York City Region and that certainly adds to my enjoyment of V-Day 2013, but I have always had fun on Valentine’s Day, even in years when I did not have a special love buddy.

[A disclaimer: I truly hate when coupled up folks reminisce all, “Oh, well, back when I was single...”, I find it very smug and self satisfied and frankly insulting, like “look at me, my life is better than yours now,” and I certainly don’t want to come across in that manner. I only bring this up to acknowledge that yes, sure, I am in a state of romantic bliss at this time, but my enjoyment of El Dia de los Valentinos is not contingent on checking off that particular box on my Liz Stats profile. I’m also so uncomfortable talking about honest emotions in public that I just called my committed adult boyfriend my “special love buddy,” sooo yeah...]

For me, Valentine’s Day is a chance to take one day out of the gross, dismal month that is February to celebrate everything and everyone you love. Your mom, your cat, your friends, your kid, everyone! Most of my favorite VD memories and by VD I mean Valentine’s Day, not Venereal Disease, have nothing to do with romantic love. Like the year I came into the office to find that a sweet colleague had stuck homemade heart-shaped valentines to everyone’s computer monitor. I kept mine hung up for years, until I had to move offices. Or every year wearing a brand new pair heart patterned socks, a gift from my mama who makes sure to send the package a few days early, so I’ll have socks to wear on the day itself. (She sends us care packages for every single holiday even though we’re pushing 700 years old, because she is the cutest.) Or the year my best friend came to town on VDay weekend. We went ice skating in a snowy central park before meeting up with another pal and getting rip-roaringly drunk over pub cheeseburgers.

 

None of these things were particularly romantic, nor were they that much above and beyond what I might encounter on my day-to-day life, but just knowing that it was a holiday made socks and cards and pints (and pints and pints and pints) of beer seem all the more special.

Or how bout this: I remember one year in college, we must have been sophomores. I was living with seven other girls in a campus apartment and we were thick as thieves. And all of us as single as...single cell organisms. Or something else that starts with “S” and is traditionally found alone. But we weren’t alone! We had each other and Carrie Bradshaw as it sounds, that was more than enough. We all dressed in our finest reds and pinks and went to dinner at our favorite local spot (shout-out Paper Moon Diner, Baltimore, MD!) and shared fries and breakfast for dinner and probably also a few milkshakes and slices of cheese cake and it was a true delight. A delight, I say! It was a popular trend at the time, mostly on AOL Instant Messenger, our fave, to write out “143” as a sign of cutesy endearment for your boyfriend or your family or your best gurlz: I Love You.

I = one letter LOVE = four YOU = three

143.

That Valentine’s Night at Paper Moon our total dinner bill came to...you guessed it...one hundred and forty-three dollars. $143.

Coincidence? Almost certainly. Adorable story proving that Valentine’s Day is a lovers delight whether or not your lovers = a group of awkward Disney Channel fans chowing down on western omelets or, you know, bow-chicka-bow-wow lovers? Aaaaaabsolutely!

These are things that I love: Socks. My mom. Sweet friends. Booze. Breakfast for dinner. And, yes, my special love buddy. While I don’t need Hallmark or TV or whoever to remind me to celebrate them just once a year, celebrate them I will. This Thursday I’ll wear pink or red and my new socks and maybe even some spicy underpinnings and hand out candy…and eat candy…and wish all of you a Happy Valentine’s Day, whether you are married or single or polyamorous or a crabbapple who insists you just don't do Valentine's Day. Especially you! For try as you might to resist it, as the great Hugh Grant once reminded us, Love Actually IS All Around Us.

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Happy Valentines Day, Haters!

Lemon Out!

I come to you with heavy heart today, my friends. Tomorrow night marks the end of an era. At exactly 8 PM Eastern Standard Time tomorrow, January 31st, 30 Rock will light up our television screens for the very last time after six glorious seasons of laughter and joy and friendship and ham. Here's how I'm coping:

(via)

I've had "30 Rock Finale" followed by three frowny faces written on my calendar for months and am celemourning (which is a new word I just made up when you celebrate something sad. Copyright!) by hosting a Liz Lemon Party, and you know what they say:

I'll be in costume as my fave gal (pictures on Friday, I promise!) and I've tried to convince others to come decked out as well. We'll dine upon Night Cheese, Sabor de Soledad and sandwiches. Someone will shotgun a pizza. White wine will be served for the Lemons among us, whiskey for the Donaghy's. It is going to be epic...ally nerdy. Just like La Lemon herself.

Much has been written about Liz Lemon as a character - is she a realistic portrayal of a modern woman? Is she a feminist? Is she hot? - but I won't get into that. For me, Liz Lemon, and by extension her creator Tina Fey, was just great. Plain and simple. Bananas as she was, from the moment Jack Donaghy correctly identified her "type" in the pilot episode, I knew this was my kinda gal:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4ZFv6jsUMg]

I had big plans to put together my own lengthy retrospective on 30 Rock and what it means to me and how it has shaped the landscape of the future and women and can we have it all and blergh! But no one cares about that. We just want to laugh!

And so, in lieu of my own tribute, I thought I'd share some of my fave links from around the web that other more industrious writers and editors put together to honor the departure of The Greatest Show Of Our Time. Enjoy!

Vulture's 30 Rock Glossary 

Vulture's Illustrated History of Jenna Maroney & Mickey Rourke's Sex Life 

 

Shit Liz Lemon Says video at NBC.com (image via)

Salon's List of The Best 30 Rock Episodes

(Do you agree???)

Liz Lemon's Top 15 Tips for Better Eating via Endless Simmer 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l0kGIIW66g]

The Best of Jack Donaghy via YouTube

Annnd that should be enough to keep us all busy for the next two days. So, let's talk! There's no need for any of us to face this impending loss alone. What are your favorite 30 Rock episodes/moments? Do you think you'll cry tomorrow? Are you happy Liz is finally adopting? Favorite characters? Do you prefer sandwiches or pizza? CAN WE HAVE IT ALL???

Lemon Out!

One Awkward Thank You; or, A Rambling Freewrite

Do you guys remember that quote “Never make someone your priority when all you are to them in an option?” Well fun fact: Maya Angelou said that. I did not know that! I just remember that was a very popular AIM away message for gals when I was in college. I really miss those oh so subtle, passive aggressive, “anonymous” shout-outs to guys who did you wrong, in the form of song lyrics or random poetry, written in size 14, baby blue, comic sans font. Good times.

Generally I’m not much of a sucker for nostalgia stuff, endless lists of “you know you were a child of the 90’s when...” snap bracelets! pogs! Clarissa! I’m sure they were charming at first, but there’s only so many times you can scroll through some Buzzfeed slideshow of the same old pre-millennial cultural touchstones until you’re like, enough, we get it. Tamagotchi. Lunchables. And no, I don’t remember Salute Your Shorts because my mom wouldn’t let us watch TV. GOD, MOM. But there is something about reminiscing about the internet of yore that melts my heart of stone and always makes me chuckle. I miss AIM. I guess now we have facebook and twitter and foursquare and tumblr and instagram as of today something called Vine and of course, Snapchat which I just learned about and I can not even deal with, KIDS, put your willies back in your pants, but AIM, man, that was golden. What we lacked in quantity back in the day we sure made up for in quality. AIM: The Reboot. Let’s make it happen.

Anyway, what is my point. I don’t think I came here to talk about 2003 social media... Oh yes! That Maya A. quote above, bastardized by heartbroken girls at overpriced liberal arts colleges nationwide, has been stuck in my head all day as I became increasingly guilt ridden over not blogging today. I set out at the start of 2013 to make writing and blogging my priority and instead, I am making it an option. I realize that is 147% not what the quote is saying but still, ‘twas ringing in my brain all day. I’ve been proud of my increased presence here, of the feedback I’ve been receiving and of the connections I’ve been building via wordpress, but I already feel myself slipping, missing a day here, a day there. Scrambling to get posts written at 9 PM in front of Downton Abbey or at my desk instead of doing work (“doing work,” more like, eating snacks & shitting around on the internet, interspersed with panic induced bursts of productivity after I realize how much time I’ve been wasting). I want to take time to be organized, to have things written in advance, to write things that feel smart and put together, to figure out why the OAY Facebook page is such a piece of poop, to continue building relationships with current bloggy friends and find even more new pals to hook up with...internetly, not like, sexually...but l allow other things to get in the way: sleep, TV, making out, reading other people’s blogs instead of writing my own. I am working to fix this.

Step one: make promises on the internet and have pushy friends who call you on your shit when you don’t keep them. Last week a pal reprimanded me for taking Monday off, scolding “you know Martin Luther King would have busted his ass on your birthday.” Touche, my friend. Touche.

I guess what I am trying to say amidst all this rambling is thank you! I know, kind of buried that lede there, didn’t I. I have a hard time getting over my fear of appearing overly self indulgent blogging and talking about myself but for whatever reason, ya’ll seem to really enjoy it. You crazy!! Last week two old friends reached out via facebook to encourage me to keep writing and today I got an email from someone I don’t even know (!) telling me she was a fan. What the what? Amazing. So blah be de blah...AOL...Maya Angelou... thank you guys for hanging out with me and encouraging me to keep up with this and be better and funnier and smarter.

You are all, collectively, the wind beneath my wings. As a gift, I’ll be back tomorrow for an EXTRA post this week, how’s that for a treat? SUCH A TREAT.

My gal over at Connecting the Dots nominated me for a blog award that seems to involve answering ridiculous questions and linking up with other bloggers. I’m still not 100% sure how it all works but I never say no to awards or attention so check back tomorrow for some of that goodness. Four posts in a week. Can she do it?

YES!

Now bring us home, Bette!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9ZMDPf9hZw]

 

Huggles and snuggles,

Liz Ho

Another Awkward Week [12.17.12]

Good morning, everyone! As the Bangles once said, it is just another Manic Monday. I'm popping in today with my Week in Review regularly scheduled for Fridays. I try to keep things pretty light and goofy and self-absorbed round these parts but when I sat down to write on Friday afternoon, those emotions were pretty hard to come by. I won't say much about the Connecticut tragedy here because, really, what could I say, aside from "Good news, I've invented a time machine!," that could make any sort of a difference?  My thoughts remain focused on peace and comfort as we start a new week.

[Insert awkward segue from sincerity back to self absorption here.]

I hope everyone had a nice weekend, for me it was one of the best. Friday I went on a double date to the theatre! Well, a high school play, but that totally counts. The drama club at the high school where Brian teaches was performing Clue: The Movie live on stage and it was a masterpiece. I'm not joking. I'm going to start spending every weekend watching High School plays. That's totally normal, right? Saturday we were invited to a few holiday parties, all being held in our neighborhood. Any excuse for me not to have to leave Brooklyn is a true Christmas miracle. We wined and dined and in between parties we saw the ceremonial lighting of what is billed as The Largest Menorah in the World:

menorah

I feel like there must be a larger menorah out there somewhere, like, this is not that tall, but what do I know. I'm a Gentile.  Fun idea for anyone out there looking to make the Guinness Book of World Records: you now have 365 days to start crafting an even larger menorah. Hop to it!

Then yesterday, I hosted a group of my girlfriends for a Classy Christmas Brunch and it was a smash success. I was determined to make this a Pinterest-worthy affair better than what any Bullshit Blogger might conceive of and, listen, I don't want to brag too much but I think I nailed it. I don't have many photos because I was too busy having a good time to take artful shots of like, my manicure while holding a mug of steaming cider or whatever but as you can see from this one beautiful snap, not only was there a glittering Christmas tree and a champagne cocktail with fresh cranberries floating in it, but I filled a frickin mason jar with candy canes.

xmas

Like. A. Boss. I didn't even see that on the internet or anywhere. Just came up with it all by myself.

Goddamn it I'm good.

And that was the weekend! Here's what else kept it awkward last week:

This Hat: 

hat

A holiday gift from some media colleagues. I'm really pulling it off.

This Car:

latersbaby

It's tough to read but what you're seeing is your standard mini-van decked out with those cutesy stickers depicting their perfect family of four...directly next to a 50 Shades of Grey bumper sticker featuring Christian Grey's catchphrase "Laters Baby" above a pair of handcuffs. Mommy Porn personified.

"What's this sticker say, Mommy?"

"Well, Tommy, Mommy and Daddy are getting their groove back thanks to bondage role play and terrible literature."

#gross

This Video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn-dD-QKYN4]

Because it is hilarious and because I am so guilty. Are you guys on instagram? I've become totally addicted and this video pretty much hits the nail on the head. Making matters more awkward, I have to admit that I had to watch it twice, the first time I missed most of the jokes because I was busy instagramming (now a verb!) this pointless photograph of a popcorn tin:

instagram

 Social media, you're ruining us all! Follow me on Instagram @LizHo914!

And there you have it! I thought I had more stories to share but I'm coming up blank. Just five  more days until my long winter's nap and I am phoning. it. in. I promise to be back with more hilarity soon!

Have a holly jolly week & make sure to hug someone today. Love is contagious.

xoxo Liz Ho

Some Awkward, Unsolicited Advice on Coping with Anxiety

Apropos of not much, except that I was feeling anxious this week and figured other people might also go through this from time to time, here is some unsolicited, highly unscientific, borderline insane advice on coping with stress, anxiety and life's more disastrous circumstances. You're welcome in advance! I tend to be, let’s say, an extreme worry wart. Highly neurotic. Deeply anxious. This actually is something I should probably discuss with a therapist but I don’t have one and I don’t know where to find one and therapists cost money and money, or lack thereof, is one of the top causes of my anxiety and so forth. Plus, who needs a therapist when you can just blog about your problems, right?

Anyway, whatever is going on in my life I fear the worst: work problem? I’m about to be fired. Boyfriend hasn’t responded to a text in a few hours? He’s dead...or cheating on me, depending on what sort of a mood I’m in. Feeling ill? Only two possibilities: fatal cancer or I’m pregnant.

I then obsess about these worst case scenarios for hours upon end until I’m nearly sick with anxiety. It’s…not great. But I’ve found a really weird, totally foolproof way to calm myself down. I don’t take calming breaths or go for a walk or drink tea or anything a health magazine might suggest to calm stress. Instead I think about the situation I’m in and how it actually could be worse…and worse and worse and worse (can you say that more than once in a row? I’m doing it.) until I’ve come to the actual Worst Thing Possible in my head and then I realize: whatever I’m going through is not that big of a deal. And just like that, I’m calm as a kitty laying in a patch of sun.

Take, for example, this week. I was having some really strange stomach cramps, so instead of contributing them to PMS or my already well documented IBS (so many acronyms!), I decided that, of course, it had finally happened: I was pregnant. Despite being hyper vigilant about birth control and safe sex, I’m usually pregnant about every three months or so. Which is to say that I’ve never been pregnant (and don’t worry mom slash Brian slash world: I’m still not!) but because, like I said, I’m a neurotic maniac, every few months I freak out and read into every weird intrauterine twinge or slight breast tenderness as a sure sign that I’ve been knocked up and now I’ll have to decide what to do about that and how can I afford a baby and this really isn’t fair, I know so many sluts who don’t even USE protection and now I’m the one who’s pregnant and I’m so not ready but I don’t know how I feel about abortion personally at this stage in my life and I am getting pretty old and what if my boyfriend decides he’s not ready and leaves me and I end up like Fantine in Les Mis, a desperate single mother who has to sell her hair and her body and hide her kid in a crazy roadside inn.

Like I said, I’m nuts.

So I let myself freak out for a while and then I think to myself: Ok, self, this is NOT the worst. If (and god, please don’t let this happen, but IFFFFF) you found yourself unexpectedly embarassada, you would figure it out. What would actually be the worst, is if these cramps were fatal ovarian cancer. And you died.

But then I think, no, Liz, no. What would be worse if your mom got fatal ovarian cancer and she died and you had to cope with that…and at the same time your sister and brother also died of fatal cancers…and so did all of your friends and other loved ones and you were the only one left and had to bury everyone and live with the grief. But actually, horrific as that would be, you’d probably get through it.

And then I just escalate. I ride this wave of insane thinking until I can bring myself to imagine what the WORST possible scenario could be. For a while I was thinking Zombie Apocalypse but now zombies are really trendy and that show The Waking Dead is really popular so a zombie apocalypse actually looks sort of fun and exciting so I had to rule that out. I decided that the very worst possible scenario, for me anyway, is that I’m flying in a plane with all of my friends and all of my family and everyone that I love (Beyonce included) and there’s a huge explosion and the plane crashes on an island. Half of the people have already died in a firey inferno and their bodies are strewn about the island. Of those left alive, half are immediately pounced upon by gigantic alligators and the rest of us have to watch them be eaten alive. While we’re hiding from the alligators we are apprehended by a band of evil cannibals who tie us up and barbecue each of us one by one – and I’m the very last one. I’ve just had to watch everyone that I love die gruesome deaths right in front of me and now I’m being covered in teriyaki sauce and tossed on a fire pit. THAT, I would say, is the worst thing that could possibly happen to me. Anything else, yeah, I can take it.

And then I calm myself down, stop obsessing and face my problems head on. It works like a charm. Every single time. Some trained professionals might say that fixating on the negative will only make things worse, and other people might say I have a hyperactive imagination, which would be true, but I say do whatever makes you feel good. And cray-cray as it sounds, this works for me.

So, just a friendly word of advice from one basketcase to the whole world: whatever you’re dealing with in life, you will get through it! I know this. Unless you’re being held hostage by island cannibals watching half of your loved ones (the half that didn’t just die in the plane crash) be ripped apart by alligators with the same vigor that Man V. Food’s Adam Richman might apply to a plate of Nuclear Buffalo Wings well, you’re probably going to be okay. Whatever it is you’re facing, you can handle it.

Trust me. I’m an expert.

Another Awkward Week [11.9.12]

Hello friend! I'm writing this from the Cosi at Philadelphia, PA's beautiful 30th Street Train station where I'm eating a lackluster salad and killing time. I have to go home this weekend half to attend a bachelorette party (woo woo!) and half to renew my drivers license which has now been expired for two months. I meant to get a New York license, seeing as how I haven't lived in PA for years, but I blew that situation. I was going to go on my birthday but instead I had to read facebook birthday messages and then get a manicure, priorities,  and then I accidentally misread the DMV website and thought that NY licenses cost $180 which is bananas so I panicked and renewed my old PA license online, because that only costs $30, but then it turned out that NY licenses are way cheaper for normal people, they only cost  $180 if you drive like, a tractor trailer or a megabus or something but what's done was done, so here I am spending at least $180 on train tickets + gross salads in the process of renewing my PA drivers license aka the cheaper option. Never say I don't have it all together!

Amtrak cancelled my planned train trip today and rerouted me to a new option which has me killing one hour and 45 minutes in this here train station. It is a glamorous delight. A guy just came up behind me on line at Cosi and commented on the size of my bag. He asked if I was a yoga instructor because he assumed my bag was full of exercise equipment. So, either he thinks I'm  a hottie with a body OR I smell like a gym. Either way, A+ pickup line, great job, obviously we made love.

What a day! Here's what else kept it awkward this week:

This Store:

Because that's kind of an oddly, um, specific name for a retail outlet. I wonder what they sell. Me, I want a hula hoop!

This Pin:

Because I put it on my purse 3 weeks ago at a book event and haven't gotten around to taking it off since. I just don't want anyone to forget my name!

The fact that I am now on the Amtrak train, (I left that beautiful Cosi and the man I met there. Farewell, sweet prince.) and I can not, for the life of me, get any more pictures to upload. I'm trying so hard to be a good blogger, you guys, but it is hard! How does anyone have any hobbies? I can barely find the time/motivation to sit at my computer and type up stories about myself and there are people out there  in the world knitting and doing carpentry and acting in local theater and training for marathons and all kinds of stuff. WHO are these freak people? Where do you get your time? Why are you so motivated? Do you take any cool drugs and if yes can I have some? Why won't this internet work? And why am I so sweaty? When will all Americans get the right to marry? I need a raise!

Ok, now I"m just complaining. Let's shut this mother down. Have a great weekend, nerds. And remember, there are still tons of people displaced and in need after hurricane Sandy. See my most recent blog post (I SWEAR it is better than this one) for links or check in with your local Red Cross office to see how you can help. It's a long road ahead, any little bit helps!

xoxo Liz

PS - Just spotted an Amish buggy out the train window. I'm home!

One Awkward Flight

! My weekend starts today! I’m off to Chicago to visit my lil brother – actually he’s like 6’5’’ and barely a year younger than me, so I’m not sure he qualifies as “lil” in any sense but let’s not worry about that now – and am so looking forward to 3 days touristing and eating and drinking in a fun city. Also the Nato G8 Summit is in Chi-town this weekend, so that should be pretty, you know, summity. Summutous. Summitastic!

Quick truth test: Raise your hand if you’re just pretending to know what “Nato G8 Summit” means? Be real people, I know it’s not just me!

My flight out doesn’t leave until 9:50 PM tonight and, if my track record proves consistent, should be a sheer delight. Because I am broke and a cheapskate, whenever planning a trip I’ll end up adding immense time and stress to my journey just to save negligible amounts of money.  I’ll book the most convoluted itineraries, so long as they’re the least expensive. I’m also frequently disorganized when it comes to life planning and communication. For me, getting from point A to point B usually involves at least three methods of public transportation plus an unexpected detour to some other point, C, that leaves me stranded, having to beg for someone with a car to come save me or find me another bus or plane or train and at the end of the whole thing I’ve spent more money stress-eating vending machine food than I would have spent just booking a direct flight or train or bus in the first place.

An example! Every year my large extended family has a party the Sunday before Christmas, usually somewhere in South Central Pennsylvania. Though I live inNew YorkI do my best to make it ever year. Gold Star Relative Award! A few years ago my cousin hosted – I’d never been to his house but knew it was “near Philadelphia,” which I took to mean “inside the Philadelphia train station” so I was planning, in my head, to get a ride from NYC to the party with my brother and then just hop a train out of town whenever I pleased because life is easy when you live in a train station. His house, of course, turned out to be at least an hour outside of Philly proper, pretty far into the country, with no train station attached.

The rest of the day is an extremely convoluted story, which I won’t go too deep into, but basically what happened was, after finally finding the nearest train station (thanks mom!) I panicked over the cost of direct Amtrak trains ($90 one way!) and decided to get creative – combining Amtrak with SEPTA, the Pennsylvania mass transit which would get me as far as Trenton, NJ, where I could connect with New Jersey Transit, which would take me back to Manhattan. It was a solid gold plan if, in this instance, you swap gold with feces.

I barely missed the Amtrak – SEPTA connection, leaving me with an hour to kill in Philadelphia’s stunning 30th Street Station. The NJ Transit connection was slightly smoother (only 30 minute wait!) and we were chugging along just fine when disaster struck. It was one of those newfangled double-decker trains – you’d enter into an open foyer, of sorts and then choose to walk down, into the lower deck, or up to the top row. I am aware that you don’t need me to define “double decker” for you, but bear with me. It’s relevant! I was riding on top, just the way I like it (haha gross, sorry) and suddenly my fellow passengers and I heard a commotion below us. A woman was running up and down the aisle in the car below us, shrieking at the top of her lungs, just screaming and screaming and running. We pulled into the next station and the conductor stalled the train and called the police to come get her. She then took out her cell phone and called the police herself, screaming into the line that she was mentally ill (…erm, obvi…) and was being held hostage on a train. She ran around in the enclosed area screaming for 15 minutes, until the authorities came to haul her away. It was such a bizarre situation – horribly sad and yet funny in an uncomfortable way. It wasn’t until I was looking out the window, watching her led away in handcuffs that I realized the name of the station we’d been stalled in:Elizabeth. Of course it was! Where else would a train be stalled due to a schizophrenic breakdown disaster than a town calledELIZABETH.

Lord almighty.

By the time we finally made it back toNew YorkI was so exhausted and frazzled by the experience I decided to take a taxi home from the train station. I walked in my door at 11:30 PM. I had been travelling for over five hours. I was at the Christmas party for under three. Had I stayed on the Amtrak, I’d have made it home before 9.  How much money did I save on this expedition? $13. Thirteen dollars.

Thirteen dollars!!

Have I learned my lesson? Of course not! Tonight I’ll be flying to Chicago on the red-eye leg of an airline called Spirit Air. They do a bang-up marketing job, selling tickets for a pittance, then charging fees for everything from carry-on luggage to a reserved seat. Despite the absurd fees, my round trip ticket still cost me far less than any other airline…and by far less, obviously I mean like, $35. I need to reevaluate my financial situation.

Apparently you get what you pay for. I told a friend I was flying Spirit and she directed me to the internet. There are dozens of city-specific Yelp pages for Spirit Airlines and on each and every one of them the average rating is One Star. Here is one of my favorites:

Just a few words to sum up Spirit Airlines:

Appalling, atrocious, awful, beastly, dangerous, desperate, dire, disastrous, disturbing, dreadful, frightful, ghastly, gruesome, harrowing, hateful, hideous, horrendous, horrid, horrifying, inconvenient, loathsome, monstrous, obnoxious, odious, offensive, petrifying, poor, repulsive, revolting, rotten, shocking, unfortunate, unnerving, unpleasant, vile.

NEGATIVE STARS!!

My absolute favorite review comes from the above mentioned friend’s boyfriend, a true poet if I’ve ever known one, who sums up his Spirit Air experience:

You are a bottomless pit of suckitude -- an anus-flavored neverending gobstopper of despair.

Kind regards,

Jeremy

(zero stars)

  So yes, this evening should be exceptional! Who doesn't look forward to anus-flavored neverending gobstoppers of despair?

Wish me luck, please?

One Awkward Penguin

Bah! I barely dip my toes into the waters of internet celebrity before disappearing again. My job has kept me so busy lately it is, quite frankly offensive. It’s like they don’t even want me dealing with my personal life while at the office. Rude. Books are for losers! Leave me in peace to surf the internet and paint my nails at my desk.

 

“What has been keeping you so busy, girl?” asks absolutely no one. Well let me tell you just one thing: yesterday I was away from the office for most of the afternoon at my company’s annual employee meetings. Every year my entire company gathers at an off-site venue for a presentation by our top dogs, or I guess top Penguins (?), on company financials, goals, general morale boosting and other, I don’t know, corporate issues and it’s usually actually pretty interesting plus they have cookies plus you get out of work early at which point you can go across the street to Ruth’s Chris Steak House which, WHO KNEW, has phenomenal happy hour specials, and put lots and lots and lots of wine in your face. Pretty good times!

 

Oh, and also you get to see one of your colleagues dressed up in a gigantic penguin costume. A few years ago, this lucky bitch was me.

 

I won’t get into details but long story short, each year my top boss zones in on one naive, enthusiastic, desperate to please young assistant and convinces them to wear the bird suit. Well actually her assistants (plural) do the coercing with promises of professional gain and personal adoration to be showered down from on high. It should surprise no one that I took the bait – all I’d have to do was pose for a few pictures, they promised. Easy peasy. I was hooked.

 

As the weeks went on, the stakes started to go up. “Would you mind just hanging out on stage during the raffle, in costume?” they asked me, with three weeks to go. “Sure, anything!” I replied, thoughts of promotions and/or flowers running through my head. At two weeks out they proposed I come up on stage and pretend to give a speech, as the Penguin, all I’d have to do was hold a microphone and maybe wave my fins around. I was getting wary, but still my desperate need for attention from my boss (and, ok, entire company) had me unable to say no. It wasn’t until one week to go, when they called me into an office and asked how good I was at dancing that I realized I was totally screwed.

 

And yet, I couldn’t walk away.

 

The bosses had enlisted someone (god knows who/why) to create an original song based on our company. I won’t reveal too much, for fear this will show up in some kind of corporate Google alert (please don’t fire me!) but I will say that it was a reggae song. About book publishing. It went on to win more Grammys than Adele and Taylor Swift combined.

 

The initial plan was to have just the Penguin (that’s me!) with a fake microphone pretending to sing the song on-stage, maybe with a few dance moves, but the two assistants, who must love attention even more than I do, if you can even believe it, decided they would be my backup dancers. They came up with choreography which we rehearsed late into the evening and, on one occasion, mid-day in our boss’s corner office. My costume was bulky, piping hot and ripe from years of other poor souls sweating inside it.  At one point, one of the girls griped at me for getting in her way. Did I mention I was wearing an 18 ton bird costume, with limited peripheral vision?

 

Finally the day of the meetings arrived. There were two sessions, one in the morning and one late afternoon. We were dancing for both. I accessorized my suit with a blow-up microphone, a sparkly, neon Rastafarian style hat and a long chain with a blinging dollar sign. My backup dancers, inexplicably, sported sequined white tank tops and giant, purple feathered hats, a style commonly associated with pimps. When our cue came, we took the stage.

 

I stood front and center with my two dancers flanking me a few paces behind. They spun, shimmied, shook and, I kid you not, dropped it like it was hot. I wiggled my giant bird belly around while pretending to sing with aCaribbeanaccent. I had a hard time seeing out of my costume – there were mesh eyeholes, but I found it easier to look out the little crack in my gigantic beak. From on stage I peeked through my beak and saw hordes of co-workers staring up at us, aghast. It was then I realized what exactly was going on. It was 9 AM at a corporate, professional function while on stage a singing Jamaican penguin waved her fins in the air, two scantily clad back-up dancers gyrating in unison beside her.

 

It was, for lack of any other word, absurd.

 

I have lived my whole life yearning for the spotlight, but at that moment, I was so, so glad to be hidden inside a costume. We repeated the dance later that day for the afternoon session our CEO called me out on stage.

 

“Thanks to Liz H for being our penguin today,” he boomed to the auditorium. “If you see her, be sure to say thanks. You’ll recognize her, that costume made her really sweaty.”

 

Kill me now.

 

In case you’re wondering I did not get a promotion (directly from this, anyway), nor did I get flowers, chocolate, money or any other gifts. I DID however get a delightful tale and also went on to be the Penguin four more times because I am what some might call a sucker. I’m also what all might call, a pretty sexy penguin:

Image