Wedding Wednesday: One Day More!

The day before our wedding my eyes popped open maniacally at the stroke of 5 AM. The sense of calm that had hung over the previous days had been replaced by low level buzz of anxious anticipation. A feeling akin, I must imagine, to waking up on Christmas Eve with just one present left to purchase - the excitement of the holiday being so near mixed with the light panic of the important task left unfinished.I passed the hours until my family woke up chugging coffee, pacing around the house and doing planks, in hopes that some light core exercise might calm my nerves and also transform me to Gisele Bundchen in under 24 hours. Spoiler alert: it did neither.

I have now seemingly blacked out the next several hours. I remember we packed gift bags into boxes and made a bunch of piles and knowing me, I probably ate some kind of eggs for breakfast but the next moment I remember, it is coming on noon and my mom is asking me to take a look at the wine she plans to bring to the hotel suite and I'm snapping "I don't care! You just make a call! Pack it all! Or none! I can't look at that wine right now, I don't care!"

It was not my finest moment. But also not my worst!

Unsolicited Expert Tip for Brides: Remember, your mom is probably just trying to be helpful and doesn't mean to get on your nerves, treat her with some grace!

Unsolicited Expert Tip for Moms: Remember, your daughter is probably just a little anxious and does't mean to snap at you, treat her with some grace!

We moved past our drama and the group scattered to all four corners of, um, Lancaster Pennsylvania. Bernie, Michael, Marge and Aunt Katy headed into the city to check into the Lancaster Marriott, where we'd all be camped out for the weekend, and run some last minute errands, while Brian and I snuck off for lunch at a cool restaurant called Aussie and the Fox for our final romantical date as a non-married couple.

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Months before the wedding we settled on the plan to set aside a few hours just for us on Friday and it was one of the best ideas we've ever had. EVER. Another piece of Unsolicited Expert Advice: do this! Try to find a little time in the days leading up to the wedding for just you and your partner to take a quiet minute and recharge - a meal, a walk, a stealthy makeout sesh, whatever. Maybe have some lunchtime wine and a gigantic sandwich, which will surely reverse all positive effects of your morning plankfest but hey, it's your wedding weekend. You deserve it! This was one of my favorite parts of the weekend. We talked about what we were most excited about in marriage, at the wedding and what we were nervous about, too. Brian even let me take that cute picture of him and normally he finds it annoying when I try to papparazo him during meals!

Imagine that.

Extra glad for this brief moment of calm and wine and Australian food because as soon as we finished, suddenly EVERYTHING. WAS. HAPPENING. We met the rest of our family back at the hotel, where none of our rooms were ready for check-in and we were one of SIX wedding parties dropping off welcome bags at the front desk. We had rented a hospitality suite for the weekend (best money we spent, truly!), which blessedly was open and ready for us to get into. No sooner had we dropped our bags in the suite, than people started to arrive.

First on the scene: bridesmaid / facebook wife Maureen, who kindly devoted her whole birthday weekend to #hottwedding festivities. She's a gem. As a bridesmaid/birthday/10 Year Facebook Marriage and Friendship Anniversary gift I'd made her a photo book with memories of our romantic life together. I had it shipped to my office and showed it to my assistant, Margaret, and we both gleefully clapped over how nice it was and how it was "totally going to make Maureen cry.

WHY would this make us happy? Like, yes the hope was for good tears but what is with the goal of "I'm going to make someone I love WEEP in front of me."

HUGE NEWS she totally wept. So did I. I gave her this gift while she was doing her makeup in the suite's beautiful bathroom and I sat on the toilet while she sat on the sink counter and flipped through our shared memories and we both totally heaved and sobbed and sputtered "I love you so much!" and laughed about how ridiculous it all was, us hiding in the bathroom crying like a couple of weirdos. It was another of my favorite moments of the weekend.

So favorite, I'm tearing up right now reminiscing on it. Get it together, Hobag!

While Mo and I were sobbing away in the lavatory, my brother took my mom's car to the train station to pick up my girlfriends who had taken the train down from NYC - bridesmaid Kathleen, stationary designer/wonderperson Jamie and ceremony musician Amy. This is an important, Chekovian note for you to keep in mind for later.

Don't forget: Michael drives Bernie's car on Friday evening.

DUN DUN DUNNNN.

And so! Bridesmaids and groomsmen are arriving. Brian's parents! My dad! Aunts and uncles! Barely anyone's rooms are ready for check-in! We take turns running back and forth from the 6th floor suite to the lobby to see if our rooms are ready. On one trip I run into a former high school classmate in the elevator. It turns out another E-town grad was getting married in Lancaster that very evening and a whole host of kids I hadn't seen in 10 years were also staying in the Marriott. I ran into another the following morning and it gave me a perverse sense of pleasure to have all these random high school people milling around and me be able to announce to them "I'M GETTING MARRIED!!"

Adding to the It's a Small World Disney Ride of it all, our photographer (Kylene! The bestest!) also photographed this kid's wedding! What are the odds? Probably pretty good, honestly, it's not that big a town but still. BUT STILL.

The rehearsal was set to begin at 4 PM and by 3:30 my nerves were at an all time high. Not for the wedding, mind you - I was still fully on board with marrying Brian and being committed fo lyfe, but I was in no way prepared for how I would feel once ALL THE PEOPLE started to arrive. This hosting, I guess you'd call it, was actually, for me, the very most stressful part of the whole wedding. Trying to spend time with everyone there, knowing they'd come just for us. Worrying that people were feeling neglected or not having fun. Did I spend enough time talking to my new in-laws? I haven't seen my dad all summer and he's telling me about his recent vacation and I'm only half listening because all the groomsmen just walked in and my uncle is sitting in the corner by himself and tomorrow is Maureen's birthday and my brother's room still isn't ready for check in.

Anddd this was just our families and wedding party! Tomorrow's Main Event would be like 6 times more people.

Ho. Ly. Crap.

Somehow admid the chaos, which I think was actually mostly just imagined chaos inside my own brain, we rounded up the wedding party and our families and walked the pretty two-block walk over to the wedding venue and rehearsed and it all went fine. It went FINE! I cried the entire rehearsal - good tears! - and though I never quite calmed the whole way down, the act of rehearsing, of seeing how the ceremony would proceed and getting positive feedback on our choice of readings and vows helped bring me back to earth and center me. It was all going to be OK!

LET THE PARTY BEGIN!!

We bopped it back to the hotel and hung around the suite for a while- we popped open bottles of wine and champagne and gave gifts to our family and wedding parties. Instead of going the traditional route of giving the same gift to all members of the party, we gave each of our attendants (ugh, I hate that word) gifts that were unique to them, that we knew (or hoped!) they'd like. I'll do a whole separate post about this because I am VERY SMUG and proud of the gifts we gave and I want everyone to know how thoughtful and great we are.  But here's a sneak peek:

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That's right folks: more free books! (But also other nice things that we paid for. I swear!)

Ok where were we? Oh yes: DINNER TIME! Our rehearsal dinner was very intimate - just our parents, siblings, officiant and the wedding party along with their significant others, a total of 23 people. We did have beer, wine and some snacks in the hospitality suite for any out of town guests but did not open up the dinner to everyone. We did this for a number of reasons - a main one was budget yes, but also we wanted to have a little time to spend with just our parents and the people we'd chosen to stand beside us. OF COURSE I felt guilty not inviting out of town guests to the dinner, because I feel guilty about literally everything, all the time, and these people had travelled all the way to see me and was it rude not to invite them to dinner? Possibly! But buried in here is another lesson I learned/Unsolicited Expert Tip: You don't "owe" your wedding guests anything except a wedding and even that doesn't have to look like what tradition would dictate. These people travelled to Pennsylvania (hypothetically! or wherever!) for YOU and your partner because they love you and want to see you take this big step OR maybe because they feel guilty and obliged to be there but either way, they are there of their own accord and they love you and are happy just to be there and as long as you are gracious and warm, that's all they need. I hope, anyway.

Ok lesson over. But this long ass recap? STILL GOING!!!

We held our rehearsal dinner at a super cute place in Lancaster called Commonwealth on Queen. By day they are a coffee shop / cafe and by night, they provide space and catering for private parties or events. We really wanted the night to feel like an intimate dinner party - but without anyone having to cook or open their home. Well, someone did cook, obviously but we paid them to do it. CoQ is about a five minute walk from the Marriott (best part of our downtown city wedding, everything was within walking distance! No worries about shuttles, cabs or drunk driving. Drunk walking, though...another story.) Apparently the third Friday of every month is Live Music Friday (or something like that...I'm too lazy to look it up) in downtown Lancaster. And they are NOT hurting for participants. Essentially every other sidewalk square housed some sort of performer of increasingly questionable musical skill. As we walked the five short blocks from the hotel to the dinner venue we were serenaded by the sounds of a one man troubadour band, several saxophonists andat least four steel drummers. A disco ball inexplicably flashed in the window of the local noodle shop. In the parking lot of my mom's office, a Fleetwood Mac cover band scratchily warbled "thunder only happens when it's raining..." while across the street, a man with an accordion lingered in the shadows of a parking garage.

Whether he was a sanctioned member of Free Music Friday or just a creep, we may never know for sure.

It was the most magical five minute walk of my lifetime, and I think at least one of our guests believed us when we said we hired the musicians as part of our wedding weekend, to liven up the rehearsal dinner commute.

The restaurant was perfection. They set up a long table at front of house with beer, wine and BOMB appetizers - all sourced from local farms and vendors! -  including antipasta, some kind of cucumbers stuffed with dip situation, mozerrella caprese skewers and these white bean crostini that I still dream about.

Here are some photos taken by our sweet friend Ankita (betrothed of the Best Man!) to illustrate this story:

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Father of the Groom, Father of the Bride, Laurie! 

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Maureen, Jayne (my mom's bestie who also officiated our wedding), Brian's mama, Amy (in a dress I'm not sure I complimented night-of but girl, dat dress!) & Jamie

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Best man Vai & groomsman Adam

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Adam, Sandy, Kathleen & Vai 

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Almost married!! 

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Super cute venue made xxxxxtra cute with the addition of amazing banner hand made by Maureen. She texted me earlier in the week "if one was to have a banner on their wedding day, what would it say? asking for a friend..." haha. We then proceeded to have a conversation about her "friend" and this "banner" and I don't know how that imaginary person felt about their imaginary banner but this real life friend LOVED her banner. 

As you can see from these photos, the restaurant has big glass windows (as opposed to what, Liz, concrete windows?) on all sides looking out onto the intersections of Queen and Walnut Streets - geographical details which surely mean nothing to 99.9 percent of you (hi to the other .1, Bernie & Angie!) but it's a relatively bustling area of downtown. As we sophisticatedly sipped vino and noshed on appetizers, a commotion gathered outside of the window. We're still not entirely sure what went down but from the best of our collective guesses, a (likely inebriated) man in a purple car (stuffed with so much stuff, he may have lived in it) attempted to turn the wrong way down one way Queen Street, blocking traffic including a HISTORICAL TROLLEY. Lancaster, I love ya. Also somehow involved: a well-dressed businessman type driving a black SUV, now pulled over cattycorner from the restaurant and US service member dressed in full camo and driving a big white pickup truck. Cops raced to the scene...on bicycles.

BICYCLES!

Purple car man was out of his vehicle and pacing around. White truck Army dude was talking to bike cops. Businessman just leaned against his SUV.

Somehow the trolley navigated the mess and pulled away, much to the mutual dismay of the 23 members of our wedding party, now gathered around the window, faces pressed to the glass. This was the most exciting thing any of us had seen since the finale of Braking Bad. Soon some cops in motor vehicles arrived and the poor bicyclists - first on the scene! - were sent back to whence they came...probably patrolling Free Music Friday and making sure faux Stevie Nicks didn't get too out of control on her keyboard. Inside, we all huddled together, coming up with theories on what was going down.

Who was driving drunk? Was someone on drugs? Was the US Army somehow involved or was that just a lone soldier, caught up in this hot mess? The world may never know!

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This picture makes me laugh SO HARD. Here we see our friend Melissa (who will play an important role in our ceremony the next day, stay tuned for THAT novella to come) giving her version of the events - "he veered to the left!" she seems to be saying- while behind the gaggle of ladies, Brian's sister's boyfriend Andrew gives his play-by-play, including some very emphatic hand motions. I look stoned. Bernie looks startled (and FOXAY in that dress, might I add) while Kathleen ignores all the drama and makes love to the camera. Werk it girl!

A slightly more frame-worth op of the same crew.

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Kathleen, Maid of Honor Margepants, Melissa, BRIDE OBVI DUH and Bernie, continuing to kill it in that dress 

The excitement died down and we all sat for dinner. The venue had two long tables set up and served dinner family style - steak with pesto, eggplant parm, polenta and grilled summer squash. The centerpieces were made by a local florist, too!

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GORGEOUS! 

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Don't worry, we took them with us when we left.

PS: I love my friends. 

After dinner, dessert was spread out on the front table - mini brownies and cookies, coffee, tea and the MOST AMAZING mascarpone parfaits, layered with fresh berries. I had two. So wild of me, I KNOW. Maureen and I sat and caught up with my dad and his partner Laurie - Mo regaled them with tales of her competitive figure skating career - and the rest of our crew was able to move from their dinner seats and keep mingling.

The restaurant was closed to the public for the evening, but the doors were unlocked and they didn't hang any signage indicating that it was a private event, so throughout the evening people would wander in off the street, hoping to get a table. Instead of stressing me out, this made me feel fancy and exclusive and I am shamed to admit the great pleasure I took in turning people away.

"Ohhhh, I'm so sorry, this is a private party" I'd say, with a condescending smirk. "I don't think you're on the list."

In all earnestness, though, and with no accompanying Mean Girls gifs, the whole dinner was just so fun and again, genuinely relaxing. I was still worrying about getting in enough time with everyone and making sure people were having a good time but for the most part, I felt like I was able to chat with all my peeps and enjoy the food. It really had the dinner party feel we were hoping for and we're so grateful to The Scotts for hosting and Bernie for her help getting it set up and Commonwealth on Queen for the beautiful meal! And to those idiots for crashing their cars and providing endless hilarity to us all!

After dinner we trucked it back to the hotel, heaps of leftover alcohol in hand, and partied it UP in the hospitality suite. Some friends from out of town had arrived while we were at the rehearsal and they met us back at the hotel after having dinner at a place called  Yorgo's which is a restaurant but I always confuse with Yorgey's, which is the dry cleaners. This has zero point zero percent to do with this story, I just think it's a little weird to have both a Yorgo's and a Yorgey's in the same town, you know?

Back at the hotel  the booze was flowing and we kicked off our shoes and Amy put on a party playlist and cousins arrived from all over - New Hampshire! Atlanta! Upstate New York! - and it WAS SO MUCH FUN. I managed to repress most of my "is everyone having a good time" anxiety (thanks to my dear friend champagne, probably) and just soak up the love and good energy and ooof it was the best. At about 11 PM, my sweet Brian tapped out around to retire to his own room - he is much more the introvert in our relationship, so thinking of how tired I was at this point - as a person who thrives on group energy -  I can not imagine how exhausted he must have been. Homeboy was done for the day. I followed suit around 12:30 or so. Bernie and I were shacking up together in a room adjoining the party suite (nontraditional as we sort of are, B and I decided to spend the night before the wedding apart, it felt romantic!), so our group very kindly took the rest of the fest down to the hotel lobby, save my delightful bridesmaids who took the "maid" part literally and cleaned everything up, so when I awoke on my BIG DAYYYYYY the suite was sparkling and clean and calm. It was a gesture that reminded me for the 80 zillionth time why I was so #blessed to have these women alongside me for the weekend.

And That. Was. The. Day! What a long story! I would make a self deprecating remark like "thanks for reading, I'm sure you're bored" but as part of my Love Yourself 30's, I've decided I don't CARE if you're bored, I loved writing this and reliving the day so I'm not even going to end with a joke!

Ok. ONE JOKE: Why didn't the lifeguard save the hippie?

He was too far out, maaan!

hahaha GET IT! It's so funny! My friend Kamran g-chats me every day with some of the world's corniest jokes, so if you liked that comic styling, there's pahlenty more where that came from.

Thank you for tuning in to this edition of One Awkward Wedding Wednesday. Liz Hott, over & out!

Another Awkward Week [5.23.14]

Hey buddies! What's up? It's a long weekend, whoop whoop! Well, in America, anyway. Sorry foreigners. Sucks to be you! I'm heading down to Pennsylvania for the weekend,  tomorrow I'm having a bridal shower (for ME!), hosted by my sweet Aunt Lena & cousin Lisa.  I'm so excited! And I'm excited that I'm excited which sounds nuts, but well, that's me. For a while I was being kind of a weirdo about the whole thing - I thought everyone would think I was being really demanding and obnoxious, asking them to drive all the way to PA, when they already have to travel for the wedding, and would I look like I was just trying to get more presents. For someone who purports to LOVE being the center of attention, I'm sort of freaking out now that my moment in the spotlight has finally arrived!

Luckily I have some smart friends and family who reminded me that I am a lunatic and I might need to calm down. That it is OK and not annoying  to be excited about my wedding. That people are travelling not because I'm making them, but because they want to, because they love me, and love Brian and are happy to celebrate our impending union. It's going to be such a lovely day with the most special ladies in my life and I'm already feeling very honored and loved.

And EXCITED. So excited that I've already said that word seventy-five times in just these four paragraphs! Get a thesaurus, Liz.

Fun fact: I have a really hard time saying that word, thesaurus. I always say suh-tharus, instead of the-saur-us. Ha! A few years ago I worked on a book about Roget, the guy who invented the thesaurus and the word was right in the title and every time I had to say it out loud I would get really nervous about messing up and inevitably mess up even worse and it was just horrifying. HORRIFYING! I totally forgot about that until just this moment and now I'm reflexively cringing, so embarrassed for my past self. GAH young Liz. It does NOT get better.

Ok enough rambling about bridal showers and thesarusues (thesauri?) and insanity. Let's take a look at what was keeping it awkward this week.

 

This Dress:

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Worn to Brian's sister's graduation on Sunday and COVERED in coffee.

We drove from NJ to PA early on Sunday morning and packed bagels and to-go coffees with sturdy, closeable lids for the ride.Brian's mom realized just moments after we pulled from the driveway that she had forgotten the roll of paper towels she meant to toss in, just in case anyone spilled.

"No worries!" chirped the grownup adult woman from her perch in the backseat. "We'll be fine!"

I was pretty good for most of the way until just a few miles from the campus, when I precariously propped my coffee mug in my lap without fully closing the lid.

Suddenly, Brian called out from beside me: "Liz! Your mug is tipping!" So I did what any rational person would do when a hot cup of liquid is spilling over on their thighs which is to flail my legs even more causing the spill to go from a minor drip to a full on drenching.

REALLY coulda gone for those paper towels right then.

Saving graces: 'twas a dark dress and I found a stray shout wipe in  my purse! That baby did the trick and more, by the time we made it to graduation the only remaining trace of the incident was a lingering smell of coffee.

Eau de floor of a Starbucks after a long summer's day.

Whilst at said graduation I acquired...

This Sunburn:

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First of the year! Complete with a weird little white stripe across the middle where my necklace was resting.

Happens every season!

I have to be careful this year...I have to somehow make it all summer without kooky tan lines, so I'm not covered in splotches and white patches in all of our wedding photos. I keep meaning to try my bikini top on under my wedding dress to see if I can wear it or need to get a new one. HA! Sounds insane butttt I think it is necessary. Maybe I'll just have someone sew me a dress in the pattern of my wedding gown and wear that all day every day so I have absolutely perfect lines come August 16?

THAT would be insane.

(orrrr would it?!)

This Skirt:

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That is a thick layer of dust...apparently the French Connection in SoHo cleans their dressing rooms about as often as I clean my house. Aka: never.

I visited this store not once but twice in the past week, along with probably every single store in the greater NYC metropolitan area, on an epic quest for the perfect dress for this weekend's festivities. I bought and returned and bought and returned several different options and ordered a few things online - one of which is lost in the mail and one of which is being held at a FedEx facility on 108th Street in Brooklyn. I didn't even know there was a 108th Street in Brooklyn but apparently they is and they are holding hostage a sundress from Piperlime. Can't wait to go pick THAT up.

After all of these shenanigans, I finally caved yesterday and splurged and spent basically all of my discretionary income on a dream dress from Kate Spade that I'd been lusting after for weeks. I've already justified the exorbitant expense,  by promising myself I will wear it at least three times a week until I die so basically this dress has pretty much already paid for itself. In fact, they paid ME! I hope everyone likes it as much as I do cuz y'all are going to be seeing a lot of it.

In other fashion news, check out the shoes I rocked all week...

These Moccasins:

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Yes, friends, that IS my big toe.

You may recall I shared these about a year ago when dat derre rip was juuuusssst beginning and here we are, a full year later and much much rippier (it's a word) and I've yet to throw them out.

I'd get a new pair but I just spent all my money on that dress so...open toed moccasins: the hot trend for spring! You heard it here first!

This Band-aid:

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I'm finally getting serious about my nail/finger biting problem, I can NOT allow myself to have bloody, ragged fingers at our wedding, I just can't.

My thumbies are my weakness, they're just so easy to attack, so all week I've been wrapping my thumbs in band-aids in an attempt to save myself from myself.

Unbeknownst to me I purchased a box of "designer strips" which means these are no ordinary bandages, OH NO, but beautifully ("beautifully") patterned fashion band-aids. So far this week I've rocked bandages that look like they're bedecked in sequins, in black lace, in some kind of modern abstract art, and this one, my favorite, which had teeny tiny photos of models walking the catwalk.

WHO EVEN CAME UP WITH THIS? Why would someone want to wear bandaids with tiny little fashion models on them? They're so small you can't even see what they're wearing! WHYYY is this even a thing that exists in the world and why do I own it.

Kids get Sponge Bob and Dora and grownups get mini little ladies shaking their little tushes on the catwalk. On the catwalk, yeah.

I'm to sexy for my bandaid, to sexy for my bandaid...

IF ONLY there was a designer band-aid for my brain that would make me into less of a weirdo. THE END of this madness, I am outta here. Have a spectacular Memorial Day weekend and if you think I'm not going to be back with a full report from my big weekend, you're drunk. My mom told me it is traditional for the mother of the bride to buy her daughter sexy lingerie soooo that blog post can pretty much write itself.

Smooches!

Liz Ho

 

Another Awkward Week [2.7.14]

Hey, snowflakes. How y'all doing doing today? I generally try to avoid getting too personal or serious here in what is essentially my endless internet stand-up comedy routine but I'm hoping I might ask you all for a bit of a favor.  Earlier this week, one of my aunts passed away unexpectedly. She had a beautiful soul and will be missed by all those who knew her. This week my mom also lost a cousin, so both sides of my extended clan are reeling. In sharing these stories with some very sweet, caring friends, I've heard similar tales of loss and heartache over the past few months and realized that this winter's been tough on a lot of people, in different ways. I wonder if I might ask all of you to send a little extra love into the world today, in honor of my Aunt Anne, and all of those who are feeling heavy hearts right now.

Thank you all, sweet friends. It means a lot to me!

Now I shall insert a terrible segue here about how laughter is the best cure for all pains (minus the pain of recovering from stomach surgery...ouch) and do what I always do when I don't know how to express appropriate emotions which is make dumb jokes and talk about myself! You're welcome, world.

The hottest news in Liz Ho Land this week: my cell phone is once again on the fritz which would generally stress me out but honestly, at this point, it's almost funny. Once my new replacement arrives (hopefully this afternoon!), I'll have been through four phones and two batteries in the last 5 months. Impressivo! I swear I'm not doing anything wrong, it just happens! If I could keep a phone functioning long enough to become annoying enough to be the sort of person who "checks in" places, I would be the Mayor of the TMobile store at the corner of Flatbush and 7th.

It's astounding. You know how in gardening they say some people have a green thumb and others have a black thumb and kill everything they try to grow? I think I have a black thumb for technology. All of my phones mysteriously crash and burn. My digital camera? Broken. My laptop is barely 2 years old and overheats so badly I've actually burnt my flesh on it and it sounds like an airplane taking off when you leave it on too long. Every technological device I touch just withers in my hands.

Incidentally, I also have a black thumb for gardening, too...the combo of these gives me deep concerns for the safety of my future children.

Luckily my hot cell piece lived long enough to snap some shots so why don't we take a look at what was keeping it awkward this week:

This Oatmeal:

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Yes, this tub is basically large enough to feed the entire Olympic Village at Sochi for the duration of the 2014 Winter Games and probably a bit much for one young lady who decided she's actually kind of over oatmeal after all, BUT when I saw a stack of these 80 gallon tubs marked as on-sale for just $1.99 EACH at my local grocery emporium this weekend, I couldn't help but grab one.

Probably should have taken a moment or two to consider where in the pile I was grabbing. Middle? You know better than that, Liz.

Pulling out a tub of oats sent three more cascading to the floor, where they rolled down the aisle, one getting stuck under the wheels of another shopper's cart.

Smooth.

Adding insult to injury (this is just a saying, don't worry, no one was injured by falling oatmeal tubs), I looked at my receipt when I got home and realized that the cashier had charged me full price - so this whole grab-n-tumble situation wasn't even worth it! I mean, yes, they still cost only $3.99, I eat nothing but the finest brands, BUT STILL.

This Umbrella:

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My umbro is so sensitive, always popping open at the slightest of touches - especially when dropped on the floor, which I apparently do all the time. Like the other night in the ladies' room at my office.

It made me laugh out loud on a pretty sad day, so yay for funny umbies. I was the only person in the br at the moment so I risked a quick moment to snap a pic for le blog anddddd obviously no sooner have I whipped out my phone for a casual photo shoot then the door swings open and in walk a number of other women, all my professional superiors.

Nothing to see here, ladies. Nothin' to see.

This Paper Sports Betting Game:

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Also known as a "pool" ...something that apparently everyone knew except me.

We had a few people over on Sunday to watch The Super Bowl (will I get sued for calling it that in print?) and Brian put this whole chart contraption up on our wall. Guests arrived and I eagerly pulled them over to gush enthusiastically about this cool fun betting game that Brian had just invented, did everyone want to hear more about it, only to be laughed basically out of my own home.

I guess these "pool" things have been around forever and were NOT invented by Brian just for our party. And everybody but me knew that?

Did you know about this? Are you all having fun and gambling on sports without me?!!

I won zero dollars, in case you're curious. THANKS FOR NOTHING PEYTON MANNING!

These Fingers:

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That's glitter, not blood.

One of my cousins have been going through some rough stuff the past few weeks (double down on the happy thoughts, please!) so I decided I would make her a little "Thinking of You" craft project since, you know, I'm so great at crafting.

I don't have any photos of the finished product (it's a magic wand!) but rest assured that my office is still covered in red glitter a week later and the gift looked like it was made by a blind one-armed orangutan instead of an adult woman with PERFECT vision (it's true) and two working hands.

I know they say it's the thought that counts but execution should probably count for something too.

In this case it's totally the thought that counts, as FedEx seems to have lost my package in transit, ruining my attempt at kindness, forcing me to take to the interwebz to really just humblebrag it all up and make sure everyone knows that I tried to do something nice but the mailman is totally harshing my vibe.

I'd try to track it down butttt I may have sent this very personal package via my work mail system which isn't necessarily a no-no, but it's definitely not a yes-yes sooooo calling the mail room and causing a scene might only end with me getting in trouble so I'll just have to cross my fingers and hope this miraculously is delivered someday.

If only I had a magic wand to wave. OH WAIT!

(Smooches & hugs to you, Marcy, if you're reading this!)

And that, my friends, is that. What are y'all up to this weekend? We're due for more snow and I'm actually a little excited by that. After this week I just want to hunker down, snuggle up with Brian (who has the flu and better not give it to me or his ass is GRASS), cook veggie lasagna (I'm on a very specific "eat my feelings" diet) and sort of rejuvenate via hibernation. A blustery, gustery weekend lends just the air of coziness to round out the scene I'm building in my head so let's do this thing, weather. Don't let me down.

Here's hoping you all have something sliiiightly more exciting planned or if you, too, are finding yourself or your loved ones in tough times this season, go right on ahead and hop aboard this Love Train I'm starting. There's room for everyone!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lfzl-2iSfbM]

[I was extremely obsessed with this Gap commercial in my youth which is prettty weird but I did own and wear that first striped sweater basically every single day the winter of my senior year of high school, cool story, plus this song is scientifically proven to lighten even the darkest corners of the world. Fact!]

BIG HUG

Liz Ho

Another Awkward Week [12.6.13]

Hola, amigos! How was everyone's Thanksgiving?! Or have we completel moved on past el dia del pavo and on to le mele Kalikimaka?

It's my blog and I will misuse as many languages in one sentence as I see fit!

Mine was kind of hectic, travelling up and down Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, but ultimately fun. The crown jewel of course, was the reemergence of the Turkey Hats. This year Brian got in on the fun. Clearly he's thrilled.

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Welcome to the family, champ.

The other crown jewel, since the best crowns have multiple jewels, according to my close, personal BFF Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton (or as I call her, Skip) (it's an inside joke, you wouldn't understand), was my 10 Year High School Reunion. It was truly a night to remember...though some parts are fuzzier than others. Open bar FTW. I'm in the midst of writing a comprehensive, insightful and obviously hilarious recap of that whole thang but that's not quite ready for public consumption so for the probably one person eager to read that (Hi Ben!!!), 'tis coming, I swear.

I actually had high intentions to blog errryday in December (William's calling it Blogmas!) but so far I'm 0 for 6. Wait, no, this counts, hah, so I'm 1 for 6! 

#MATH

I'm also completely unprepared with stories & photos for this week, so while we're talking numerically, why don't we just briefly take a look back at the facts & figures of the week that was. Some might call this a cop-out and I might call them correct. 

What Was Keeping It Awkward This Week: By The Numbers!

TWENTY-FOUR

The Number of blocks I walked after work last night to get my engagement ring resized, only to discover the jewelry store had up and moved locations.

 

SEVEN

Number of stops I then rode on the subway before I realized I was headed in the wrong direction.

 

SEVEN HUNDRED AND SEVENTY
Number of words I have written up about my high school reunion so far. WHOA.

 

JUST ONE
Number of strange European men who approached me in the subway this week, announced "What is the word! It's the word! It's a thing I learned in English, What's the word!" and then ran away.

 

ELEVENTY ZILLION
Number of times consecutively that I have listened to Kelly Clarkson's new Christmas JAM, Underneath the Tree.

 

EIGHT

Number of decorative Santas currently on display in my home. Plus 6 snowmen, 3 scented candles, a large felt banner spelling Merry Christmas and 2 stockings. And we're getting a tree this weekend! It's a Mother-Elfing Winter Wonderland up in this piece!

 

SIX

Number of times in a row I have now worn my one decent pair of black tights without washing them. Mom, please put some tights in my stocking this year, things are getting pretty disgusting.  

 

EVERY SINGLE ONE

Number of outfits I wore this week that now bear salad dressing stains.

 

THREE
Number of times I've taken this Which Love Actually Character Are You Quiz, hoping to learn some Real Truths about myself.

So far, I've learned I am like Annie, the Prime Minister's head of house, you know, this bitch who calls Natalie "the chubby one"

 Annie lA

According to these results, I like being in charge and am good at making people happy. (At least one of those is verrry true.)

Quiz Two told me I am Karen aka the heroine of the saddest and possibly best (JK they're all the best!) storyline in the film:

 Karen

 

This reveals that I'm "the type of person who loves to stay in on a snowy night with a glass of wine and an old record. You have a great sense of humor and would do anything for your family."

That is actually true! Go me, I sound great. Except will this mean I end up crying while listening to Joni Mitchell, wondering if I should wait around to find out if it's just a necklace, or if it's sex and a necklace, or if, worst of all, it's a necklace and love? Would I stay, knowing life would always be a little bit worse? Or would I cut and run?

(Is the fact that I can quote that entire scene from memory admirable or pathetic? Please don't tell me.)

And the final time gave me the best possible answer: SAM!

 Sam

Apparently I am "creative, wise beyond my years, and very determined. I would break any and all laws to be with the one I love."

Hell yeah! Now let's go get the shit kicked out of us by love!

And that, my beautiful, unique snowflakes was my week. How was yours? What Love Actually character are YOU?!?!?!? Let’s just talk about Love Actually all day and forever and always and do nothing productive. Who’s with me?

Xoxo Liz 


Another Awkward Week - Thanksgiving Edition [11.27.15]

Gobble, Gobble, Turkeys! Who's excited for Thanksgiving? I'm pumped UP! Get at me, stuffing.

To be honest, I've actually been a little anxious about the impending holiday (LOL, who me? Anxious? Well I nevah!). We're squeezing a lot into a few short days: first in NJ with Brian's parents,then down to Philly to stay at my sister's & do a second turkey dinner and thennnn go up to my hometown in PA to attend my 10 Year High School reunion, for which I have been very actively involved in the planning committee because I have sucker printed big & bold on my forehead, apparently, and then back up to NYC on Sunday to return to the real world.

These are all wonderful things and will be great fun, but I've been worried, I have! This is the first year that Brian & I are doing holidays together - my first Thanksgiving away from my immediate family. I know this is just life and adulthood and I need to nut up and get over it, but it feels strange. I'm at once excited and a little bit sad, mourning the end of The Way Things Always Are, instead of eagerly looking ahead to building a new family unit with Brian. I don't want either of our families to feel left out or given the short end of the deal.Then, this reunion, which can't be a failure because everyone from high school will hate me! Which...why do I care? I shouldn't, but I do. I don't want to let anyone down. Anywhere. Ever!

I just want everyone to be happy and for everything to be perfect all the time forever and an eternity, amen. Is that too much to ask?!

Probably. Mayhaps (an excellent, underused word!) I should be using my brainspace to focus on the good, rather than dramatically worry? MAYHAPS!

And so, in no particular order and certainly not complete, a few things I am thankful for this year:

First and Foremost: Cheesy Clipart 

The 3 F's: My Family, Friends and Fiance (!)

A few more F's: French Fries, Fresh Flowers, Farmers Markets, Fleece, Feminism, Forks and Frosties (of the latter, I haven't had one in years, but I'm just thankful to know they exist.) 

Hulu Plus

Hiking Trails (& strong legs for those mountain climbs!)

Instagram

Sandwiches

My Covered Wagon Lamp

Taylor Swift

The Color Green 

Decorative Gourds

And, of course: all you weirdos who let me rant and rave and tell strange stories on the internet and somehow find that entertaining. Y'all complete me, you really, really do. 

So for you, for YOU I say, why don't we stop being so damn earnest and get funky fresh. A quick look at what was keeping it awkward this short, carbo-laden week.

These Groceries:

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Over the weekend, I stopped by the market to pick up some fresh healthy business because it is a known scientific FACT that if you eat at least one piece of fruit every day for the week before Thanksgiving, you can then have allll the pie and potatoes and wine and you will actually lose weight! Total true fact, gang.

I was walking out of the store when an onion fell down in front of me and I sort of kicked it with my foot, across the street.

I assumed it had just fallen out of the top of the bag. I laughed, picked it up and kept walking.

NOOOOOPE. Turns out the bottom of the bag had ripped open and suddenly all of my groceries went cascading onto the sidewalk. Apparently I had only purchased round foods, so they then went rolling in all directions. I scrambled around on my hands and knees on the dirty sidewalk, chasing after apples and lemons and onions, oh my!

A man actually walked past me and said "you a mess, girl."

OH AM I? No duh, neighbor. Charmed, I'm sure.

It probably didn't help that I was sporting this get-up, in public:

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Oh yes. That'd be moccassins (with a hole in one toe), Valentine's Day socks pulled up OVER leggings, a neon blue t-shirt and severely greasy hair all topped off by that food-stained, grotesque zip-up hoodie which should never be allowed out of the house. I actually acquired that beautiful specimen on a first date many a years back.  The guy was polite enough to give me his jacket when I was cold...but not so polite as to ever call me again, so I got to keep the sweatshirt. Booyah. I should don't know if I should feel like, insulted that I never heard from this guy,  but c'mon, dude wore a poop-colored sweatshirt on a first date...nothing to waste too many tears on. 

This Plastic Bag:

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Remember that guy from American Beauty who was all obsessed with the beauty of plastic bags blowing in the wind? Well, imagine how many more Oscars that film would have won if one of the plastic bags had blown up and hit a beautiful young (ish) lady right in the face as she was walking to dinner.

Imagine THAT!

Just look at that bastard, hanging out in a tree, taunting me. I'll get you back, bag. Never rest. When you least expect it: oh, I'll be there.

Other inanimate objects getting all up in my business this week...

This Umbrella:

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I came home from the movies late last night (Catching Fire! One Million Stars! Movie of the Year!) and it was a torrential downpour outside. I closed my umbrella when I came in the building and went to leave it outside of my apartment door, to dry. I guess I dropped it way hard and it landed riiiight on the top which somehow caused a chain reaction, forcing the umbrella to POP open, smacking into my shins and causing me to trip into my front door.

I almost died. Right there in my own doorway. I'd NEVER make it in the Hunger Games.

And that's my week! Short and sloppy. Just like I like my turkeys.

What are YOU thankful for this year?!!! 

Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving, to all near and far. Strangers or friends. Or foes! Even foes! Have you ever called someone a foe in real life? Like "oh, that guy over there, he's my foe." That's another word we need to bring back into day to day conversation.

And a Happy  Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish peeps out there. Shalom! Mazel Tov! Other Jewish Words!

xoxoxo Liz Ho

Another Awkward Week [10.25.13]

Woot woot! Friday! How's everyone doing? Any big plans for the weekend? Today is our annual company Halloween party , which is always just a bizarre shitshow - you've never really lived until you're playing beer pong with a high level sales manager ... in a conference room...and you're wearing a sorry looking DIY cardboard boat costume ... and he's in drag...and it's 2:15 PM. Just trust me on this one. And then tomorrow, Brian's parents and my mom will be meeting for the very first time! Insert silent scream here. I'm nervous, you guys! I'm sure it will all go swimmingly, but listen, I've seen every single installment of the Meet the Parents franchise (don't judge me), so I know that hijinks can ensue at ANY TIME. Two thumbs WAY up to the very kind host at our local brunch spot who was super nice in putting up with my, let's go ahead and say, mild histrionics when I called begging for a reservation, even though they don't generally reserve tables for brunch.

Here's a cool pro-tip: want to get a seat at the hottest joint in town? Just call them up, cry, and go deeply into your personal fears and anxieties and they'll reserve you a table right snappy! Yes, it's probably because they suspect you might blow up the establishment if they don't, but that's just something you'll have to live with.

I want everything to be perfect. So sue me!

(Wedding planning with me is going to be a dream experience for all parties involved.)

Send me chill vibes tomorrow, will you?

Thanks!

Now, why don't we take a look at what (else!) was keeping it awkward this week.

This Trash Bin:

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I am consistently awkward, in a way that is surely condescending to the highest degree, when interacting with our office custodial staff. There are three women who work on our floor and every evening around 5:30 they come by to empty our trash bins - they're all very sweet and nice but also speak super limited English and I'm a bad  American who ONLY speaks English and also a horrifically self absorbed monster who feels guilty about this fact, so I always overcompensate by just senselessly blabbering whenever they walk into the room and making a huge scene trying to be helpful - usually picking up whatever food products I've spilled on the floor that day - and I'm sure they just wish I'd sit there and be normal...actually I'm sure they don't give two hoots about me AT ALL but I can't seem to stop.

Anywhoo, the other night, one of the women (gals?) (ladies?) (I don't even know their names! I hate myself so much!) came in to grab the bin, and I rolled my office chair out of the way and in the process rolled it over my foot and then yelped, loudly, "OH GOD!!!"

The poor woman immediately looked concerned and so obviouslllyyy I had to start yammering "No! I'm fine! It's just my foot! The chair! My foot!" and basically threw the trash can at her in an attempt to "play it cool" while holding onto my broken, crippled foot.

She all but sprinted out of my office and probably the building, forever.

Wouldn't blame her.

I am the WORST.

In other news related to the well-being of my crura (which is how you say legs in Latin. Look it up. I just did!)...

This Floor:

20131020_125926

This is the main corridor of Penn Station where I slipped on a wet spot on Sunday afternoon and straight bit it. Right down on my knees, bags flying, arms akimbo, there in the middle of New York's busiest transportation terminus.

Smooth move, Ferguson!

These Envelopes:

20131021_151516

Bought 2 birthday cards the other day and somehow left the store with 5 envelopes. Anyone need 3 card envelopes? I'll sell 'em to ya. $4 each or $97 for all 3!

Unmissable deal.

These Outfits:

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This is me and some of my xxxxtra kewl co-workers (hi guys!).

(P.S. I swore that outfit looked better in person. Maybe? Grubby Tuesdays are the new Casual Fridays.)

Have any of you read the Divergent series by Veronica Roth? No, because you're not 14? Fair enough, good answer! For those of you not in the know, Divergent and its sequels Insurgent and Allegient are the latest hot craze in the YA Dystopian Fiction world, the new Hunger Games if you will.   They are terrible and make no sense...which is to say, they are AMAZING and I cherish them.

They're set in the future, in a city that used to be Chicago, and all people are divided into five "factions" based on their personality traits. And then obviously there is some kind of ridiculous war and a love story - usually i can't really get that into romances in YA books, you're 12, you'll break up after graduation anyway, but this time I am deeply, deeply invested in the love story and I may or may not have a passionate crush on a fictional 18-year-old boy. No shame in my game!

All of the factions have specific manners of dress as well as faction logos, which are available in temporary tattoo form so if you happen to be a super mature 29-year-old adult woman, you can dress in faction garb...complete with ink.

20131022_155238

What's that sound I hear? Oh, that's the nerd alert ringing louddd and clear. Even if you don't know the details of what we're wearing, trust when I say this is basically the equivalent of rolling into the workplace in a Gryffindor robe. (And if you don't know what a Gryffindor robe is...why are we even speaking?!)

Luckily for me, I have pals just as weird as I am.

And that, mon freres, was my week! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to do some Jell-o shots next to the copy machine. Happy Weekend!

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.

 

One Awkward Holi

I was wondering if you might indulge me for a few moments while I share some photos from my weekend. I mean, honestly, you kind of have to indulge me, this is my party and I’ll take weird colorful bathroom selfies if I want to!

IMG_20130406_193604

The thing is, when blogging, I tend to worry alot about what category of the ol’ blogosphere I fall into, what that I don’t cook or craft or parent or do anything of value in any way, and therefore I’m not sure what sorts of content to share. Just funny stories? Lists? Normal day-to-day stuff with a hilarious tone? Nothing at all - um, lately hat does seem the case, whoopsies! So does a somewhat straightforward weekend recap fall into whatever niche I’ve carved out for myself? Not funny enough? Too standard? AH!

I always think the best blogs are where people write 750 word essays about their identity struggles. Ha, jokes. The best blogs, to me, are where writers share a glimpse into their life, whether that life involve baking, child rearing, outfit putting togethering or just stupid story telling with warmth, humor and a great sense of authenticity. So that’s what I’ll do.

Ol’ Ho Bags, reaching new levels of self involvement and neurosis every damn minute.

But you know what? I just really want to tell everyone about this party I went to, because it was the coolest! As I mentioned on Friday, a high school friend of Brian’s, who is Indian (India Indian, not like, Pocahontas Indian) (first vaguely racist comment in the bag, cha-ching!) invited us to join his family for a party in honor of this holiday called Holi which is a Hindu celebration of spring and color.If you want to know more about the historical and cultural significance of this holiday, you can read this Wikipedia page. If you want to know more about ME and how I celebrated this holiday, and why wouldn't you, juuuust keep scrolling down.

Brian’s mom dropped us off at his friend Saurabh's parents' house, like a couplea middle schoolers, and it turned out we were totally early, which was semi-awkward BUT meant we got the freshest color. We took our shoes off at the door and were greeted by our friend Saurabh’s mother, a woman I had never met, rubbing our cheeks with colored powder. They had pushed back their furniture and covered all of the surfaces with plastic, like they were in the midst of a home renovation and in the back yard set up a tent and big tables covered in catered Indian food and tons of booze. Needless to say, I did not stick to my cleanse and I know you don’t want to know but beer + Indian food were maaaaybe not the best things to be pouring down my gullet. IF you know what I mean.

This powder I’m talking about, I still don’t quite know what it was, it was just a beautifully dyed pigment that came in bags simply labeled “Holi Powder.” We were assured it wasn’t poisonous. It tasted icky, like dirt, but not repulsive. They had out huge trays, like this:

20130406_124812

Ignore my socked feet in this professionally staged photograph.

You would just dip your hands and fingers in the powder and rub it all over your pals. Within 5 minutes of arrival, we were looking like this:

IMG_20130406_124337

Also, you can't see it, but we were wearing 100 % matching outfits: white t's and greyish jeans that were the very exact same shade. This marks like the 4th time in about 2 weeks that we've left the house in basically identical ensembles because everyone loves a couple that dresses alike.

Barf.

Other guests started arriving and it became quickly apparent that in addition to being way early, we were also the only non-Indians in attendance and ALSO the only asshats who arrived empty handed. I could die. I asked Saurabh what we should bring his parents and he assured 'nothing, nothing, just yourself!" and like a fool, I listened, and then stood there, mortified, my pale white skin noticeably reddening as guests poured into the house bearing bottles of wine, wrapped gifts, plates of food and other beautiful hostess gifts. AS THEY SHOULD. This is the second time in under a week I caught myself in this situation. I hope my mom's not reading this, she'll be SO ashamed. The weekend prior we had gone to Easter brunch with Brian's parents and I kept saying I needed to get his mother flowers and Brian kept reassuring me not to worry about it, so I arrived empty handed. His sister's boyfriend joined us, and he also appeared to arrive giftless, so I thought all was well, but then, a TWIST in the story, as we're said goodbye after the meal, he dashed to his car and returned with a gigantic fucking PLANT for their mom. Well played, young man, well played.

I could not have this college boy showing me up, so this week I snagged his mom a copy of a book she'd mentioned wanting to read. Point for Liz.

Point quickly lost when I arrived at the Holi party completely empty handed. Let these mistakes be lessons to you all: always bring a hostess gift and never ever listen to boys about gift giving etiquette because they are stupid. Fact.

Another important lesson: never assume that I won't go off onto one million dumb tangents in the middle of every story because you will be burned.

Where was I?

Oh yes, at the very beginning of the party. How long will this post be?! Let's fast forward. Blah blah people arrived, food was served, it was delicious, and with each arriving guest, we greeted each other with hellos and swipes of colored powder. For a while, everyone just kind of stood around, catching up, chowing down, like any old family picnic, except they were covered head-to toe in neon powder.

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I found this so endlessly hilarious. Just chatting it up. "How's the family?" "Catching Mad Men this weekend?" "How bout them Mets?" And they have stuff all over their faces! AAAAH. Ok so it's hard to fully articulate the humor in this here situation but trust me, it was a side splitter.

As the mood got livelier, the colors started flowing faster and faster, with people just smearing all over each other, sneak attacking from behind, pouring piles of powder on others heads or backs or shoving it in each other's faces. Important Lesson: when face powdering, go in a downward motion, not upward or you WILL shove purple powder up your friend's nose and nearly kill him. Just FYI.

Here are a few snaps:

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Me and my twin after a color fight.

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A sneak attack!

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Some gentlemen

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Playing drinking games

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Our host, Saurabh, looking purpley.

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Our writer, looking cheesy.

PS recognize my holey red sweater?

Now it is my HOLI red sweater!! Just thought of that. God I'm good.

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My guy, looking like an extra from Hook.

Also, you can sort of see it in this photo - the colors looked super vibrant on darker skin, but on Brian's and my pale, milky skin, it sort of dried into a blackish-grey, that mostly made us look like chimney sweeps. A good look.

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An Orange Attack.

20130406_141352A closeup of my crotch because sure, why not.

As you can see, when the color mixed it turned into this sort of poop brown color which is maybe not the cutest. There was this hilarious young girl at the party, maybe 6 years old, and she kept grabbing all of the colors in her hand and mushing them up together to make a "rainbow" which actually looked more like vomit. She'd throw "rainbows" at everyone she met, which was especially and since she was barely waist high, everyone's midsection was covered in brownish smudges. At one point she grabbed a handful of solid turquoise, reached her arm up and fully went to second base on my left boob, just cupping that color alllll over my ta-ta.

It was both adorable and highly inappropriate.

We played drinking games - I set personal records in both flip cup AND beer pong, a game which I despise for many reasons including the fact that it is gross, boring, shuts down a party because not everyone can play, GROSS, stupid, childish, gross, lame and also: I'm terrible. But not this weekend. I sunk three shots in a row, like a complete pro before bowing out, lest I ruin anything. I need to go back to college, where everyone made fun of me for throwing underhand (float it, Rowengartner) and show them how far I've come. I still stand by my flawless opinion that beer pong is the absolute worst, but at least I can now definitively say it is because the game sucks, not me. Because I'm AWESOME.

A stereo system was set up playing traditional Indian music (and several rounds of Gagnam Style, of course!) and everyone danced on the patio, some women in incredibly gorgeous saris, everyone covered in colored powder before the end of the first song. We ate SO much incredible food, at one point I tried to get a fifth helping of paneer and I literally could not fit anything more down my throat: there was no room. Then they brought out a cake, to celebrate Saurabh's acceptance into grad school, and in the Holi spirit, the cake ended up all  over his already paint streaked face.

20130406_172252That Uncle was the sneakiest. He'd seek out innocent victims when they least expected it and empty bags of Holi color all over their heads. His shirt was white when he arrived.

Juuust kidding.

But mine was and now it is in the garbagio. After the party, Brian's mom came back and picked us up, and has us wrap in old bath towels before we got in the car. Everyone at the party warned us NOT to wet the powder - water would only make it seep into our skin ("especially your pale skin," they kept saying), and suggested we use cream or makeup remover. We covered ourselves in cold cream, not before taking one last photo:

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And destroyed half a dozen washcloths wiping ourselves down. All of our clothes were covered in powder, even my bra was streaked purple, pink and blue - Brian's mom offered to wash throw our things in the laundry and I was like "here's my bra!" and thaaaat was weird - but for the most part, the colors came right out. These colors do run! My white t shirt was unsalvageable, the bra is still semi-colored (it was one of these, so it really couldn't get worse) and I accidentally put my holey Holi 100% wool sweater in the dryer so that puppy is officially dead, but otherwise everything was fine! Which means my pants and socks. So actually only 20% of my outfit was fine, the rest was destroyed. But it was worth it!

The bottoms of my feet are black with streaks of pink and blue, from walking around in powder covered socks, and I can NOT for the life of me get the pigment out from under my finger nails. It's the hot manicure look for spring.

And that, my friends, was my very first Holi. It was amazing. I'm already inviting myself back next year, I hope these people are ready. I"ll bring a gift this time!!

What I would suggest to all of you readers, is to find an Indian person and become their friend. If they don't like you at first, just wear them down relentlessly until they give in, and be sure they invite you to their Holi party. I don't normally advocate for racially profiling but in this case, I think it is totally OK to seek out people based entirely on their ethnicity just for the parties. And I am a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize,* so you can trust me.

The end! Thanks for reading this long and rambling post and I hope you learned something about Hinduism and if you did, can you tell me what it is? Because mostly all I took away from this party is that I love pani puri, look good with pink hair and rule at flip cup. AKA: even when experiencing other cultures it really is all about me. Whoops!

Happy Holi & Happy Monday, loves.

xx Liz Ho(li) (Liz Holi!) (!!!!)

* this is a lie. 

Another Awkward Week [12.28.12]

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza or Winter Solstice or Non Denominational December Vacation Day or whatever it is you might celebrate. I spent the last week at home in Pennsylvania and it has been lovely. I did all of my favorite things: watched Muppet Christmas Carol multiple times, went to the movies, hung out with my family, wept in the bathtub while drinking wine and reading a sad book (every year I save up my saddest entertainment for when I go home, last year it was the FNL finale, so that I can get in a good bubble bath cry. That's normal, right?), ate myself into oblivion and generally had a blast. Plus, we had a White Christmas! 20121224_174206

So pretty!

Despite all the fun, I couldn't help feeling like this Christmas went by too quickly. I know it is a cliche to say that every year goes quicker than the last, but 2012 really seemed to zip by. I'm going to make a concerted effort in the New Year to try to focus on the moment and slow things down.

But talking about the passage of time is a surfire snooze inducer, so let's change the subject! Here's what was keeping it awkward this festive holiday week:

This Photo ID:

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Because it is FINALLY legal! I know you've all been a part of this license saga from the beginning, so I'm pleased to share that I have finally renewed my drivers license and am once again a functioning member of society. Or at least just a semi-functioning person who is now allowed to drive a car. I'd suggest you all get off the road now.

This picture is horrible. My DMV clerk was about 60, a woman with long grey hair in two pigtails done Native American style with multiple bands at intervals down the plait and had tons of turquoise jewelery adorning her periwinkle fleece vest. She spoke in a very condescending, strange way "ok now you use this nice pen to sign your beautiful signature...there you go! good job!" and kind of creeped me out. I tried to smile in a serene, mature way because, I don't know why, I'm insane, and the photo is clearly hideous. But after old pigtails asked me why I "hid my pretty teeth" I couldn't decide if she was being insulting or encouraging so just choked and told her to hit print.

WOOF!

These Sweaters:

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Just kidding, they are amazing. My favorite holiday tradition is Christmas Eve. We've spent the past 26 years celebrating with our very dear family friends and every year is better than the last. This year we were gifted some seriously sassy holiday sweaters. Damn we look good.

This Trivial Pursuit Card:

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Which came up during family game night on my turn to read. Specifically the yellow question which asks: "Which Greek philosopher's last words before dying of hemlock poisoning, were: "I owe a cock to Asclephius; will you repay him"?

The answer is Socrates. And also, no, Liz is NOT mature enough to read a question about someone owing someone else a cock during family game night...

This Blob:

Rug

This is a horrible photo but trust me when I say it depicts a giant red wine stain on my mom's living room carpet, courtesy of yours truly. Merry Christmas, Mom! Oh, and your birthday is December 25? Great! Stained rugs are the gift that keep on giving.

This Television:

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My Christmas gift from my amazing, generous mama but we forgot to consider an exit strategy. Today I'll attempt to lug this thing from Pennsylvania to Brooklyn via public transport. Should be totally smooth.

This Christmas Ornament:

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One of my favorites on the tree! I made this in AP English in HS (I swear the curriculum was more vigorous than this craft would suggest) and every year it gets funnier and funnier. I'm not sure what's the best part of that acrostic. Is it using "available" as an adjective (so desperate) or "BOOTYLICIOUS!" in all caps (so delusional) or the fact that I spelled "intelligent" incorrectly (so...dumb!). Intellegent. Oh I slay myself.

Good thing I've really matured and changed since then...

And finally, the gem to end all gems that ever were gems:

This Advertisement:

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Yes, read closely, that is an ad for Central PA's finest rural sex club The Hedo Farm Resort. They're having a New Years' Eve Party that includes a champagne toast, DJ Dance Party and "Country-Style Breakfast" at 1 AM. I don't know about you, but to me, nothing says "hot sex club" quite like a late night buffet of creamed chipped beef and toast. Do you think they provide bibs so you don't spill on your harness or exposed breasts?

I went to the website (www.thefarmtravelclub.com SO WORTH whatever spam this will send me) and this place is BEYOND. I realized that the only examples I've seen of sex clubs are from like, Castle, when Castle & Beckett had to go investigate an S&M murder and they had witty banter and crackling tension or something, if that hasn't happened, I'm sure it will, but I've always assumed they'd be a little, you know, sexy. This place is potentially the least sexy sex club you could imagine. It is set on 40 acres of beautiful land, the party palace is an old farmhouse, which was hopefully formerly owned by someone Amish. They have two hottubs, a pool with a sun deck (clothing optional!) a beach volleyball pit (clothing suggested...by me...you don't want to be a diving dig with you cooch exposed, ouch), 25 "themed party rooms" and are BYOB. They have a very strict business casual dress code which emphasizes slacks as appropriate attire for both men and women.

"Everyone grab your chinos, we're going swinging!'

They also offer RV hookups, places where you can pitch a tent...both in your pants and in the woods (ba dum, ping!)...and are obsessed with food. Every night there is a buffet and every morning they offer a continental breakfast that prominently features danish. DANISH!

"So great to watch you screw my wife last night. Could you pass me another danish?"

Also, the owner's names are HERBY AND JUDY and their logo is a cartoon horse with the slogan "helping you horse around."

Basically this ad is the best Christmas gift I've ever received and I will see you all at the Hedo Farm Resort on New Years Eve. Get there early, the prime rib and stuffed haddock buffet starts at 6!

And there you have it. The last awkward week of 2012 - how wild is that? How did you spend your holiday?

xo Liz Ho Ho Ho (last time this year, I swear!)

One Awkward Thanksgiving Revelation

Scenes from our Thanksgiving: Turkey Hats, lots o' wine, square pies & some creative magnet wordplay 

Ho Ho Ho, the holiday season is upon us! I adore this time of year, from Thanksgiving week through the New Year. It just feels so festive and cheerful and warm. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, I know I did.

As I mentioned last week, my family came to spend the weekend with me in Brooklyn. We’re big on traditions, we Hobags, especially when it comes to the holidays. Every Christmas we get matching pajama sets, and put the same decorations in the same spots. On Christmas Morning we each sit in our designated chair to open gifts and then we have an egg casserole. Years and years and years ago we had twice baked potatoes as part of our Christmas Eve dinner (a dinner we’ve shared with the same family friends for over 25+ years!) and somehow they became a most imperative part of the holiday. We eat Twice Bakeds with every Christmas Eve meal, whether they fit in on the menu or not. They’re nearly as important to Christmas as Santa Clause it.

We might be a little nuts.

But we can adapt, too. One of my favorite new-ish traditions is our quiet, nomadic Thanksgiving meal. Despite our insanity over keeping things the same for Christmas, we’ve never really had a set Thanksgiving plan. When I was very young we used to travel to visit my mom’s extended family in a gorgeous, sprawling old farmhouse in upstate New York. After my parents divorced when I was in high school, my siblings and I did a few years of Thanksgivings at our Dad’s house, other years we ate at home or with local family in Pennsylvania. Then the first year I lived in Brooklyn, five years ago, my tiny immediate family – my mom, brother and sister – came up to me. We cooked in my little kitchen and walked around New York City. We attempted to see the Macy’s Parade balloons but couldn’t stand the crowd, so we ditched the madness and got a drink somewhere warm. The next year we repeated, this time in my brother’s new Brooklyn apartment, just ten blocks from mine. The year after, Boulder, Colorado, where my sister was doing a year of Americorps, then to Chicago where my brother had just moved for LawSchool, a year back home in PA and then this year, in my newest Brooklyn pad. Though the location changes we still do have our rituals: eggs & bacon & cinnamon buns for breakfast, Macy’s Parade on TV and a long afternoon walk. Maggie always mashes the potatoes, Michael starts singing in a Russian accent (don’t ask), Mom makes a pumpkin pie, I make apple. A few years back we added our Turkey Hats to the mix. Wine is consumed, pants are unbuttoned, board games are played. I love it so.

It’s not all perfect, though. As with all families, we have snits and spats and one of us, I won’t mention any names, could be anyone, but it’s definitely me, always snaps. This year, despite the jolly happiness and pleasantry, I was a bit on edge. Whenever my mom comes to visit I get a little anxious – I love having her and we get along great (mostly!) but I become overwhelmed by a weird feeling of being in between. As I get older (and older, and older, and oh, my hip!) I have this desperate want to be an “adult,” whatever that means and to “have it all together,” again, whatever that means.  But it is hard to be a totally-together adult when your mama buys the turkey and stuffs it and generally runs the show. My mom (love her!) has a bit of a control-freak streak in her and she blessedly passed it on to her first born, me. So there inevitably ends up being some tension over who’s in charge. Instead of relaxing and going with the flow, two things I have never done and don’t see happening anytime soon, I become overwhelmed with anxiety to make things perfect and prove to my mom that I’m all grown up. Instead of seeing her as awesome and helpful, I see her as overbearing and bossy. Her innocuous attempts to help make things easier (“use wax paper to roll out the pie dough!” “chill the bowl for the whipped cream before whipping!”) become cruel criticisms about my ability to do things right and attacks on  my personality. I simmer and seethe and then at about 3 PM, have a mild hysterical meltdown and start barking at people.

Not all traditions are charming and quaint!

It’s weird though, navigating this time in our lives. As you all recall, I wrote extensively on the strange feeling of being late-twenties, of straddling childhood and adulthood, not sure which way to go. Having my mom around always exacerbates this feeling in me and sends me into a complete frenzy. Don’t worry, I ain’t mad at her – I realize I’m totally bonkers.

One thing I’m realizing though, despite my purported devil-may-care attitude towards turning (gulp!) twenty-eight, I’m actually a little obsessed with trying to grow up and mature and stop being such a goofball. I recently heard from someone that I’d been criticized behind my back for being too flaky. My first thought, hearing that, was no fucking kidding, that’s kiiiind of my shtick.  But the more I ruminated on it the more I let it bug me. I AM flaky! And while I clearly get a kick out of being a hot mess, I still sometimes year to not be so…me. I tried so hard to make my house a home for my family to visit – I bought fresh flowers and scented candles and stocked up on toilet paper, what foresight! – but when we went to make pies, we realized I had no pie pans. We made square pies in casserole dishes (ok, adorable) and when I made my classic apple pie I screwed up the crust so bad I had to pitch a batch and made such a mess with the flour and dough that I had to vacuum the dining room.  These are such tiny little things but are so classically, well, me. I’d love to be the kind of person who makes perfect pies or always has a clean house or knows what kinds of dishes to have on hand for all sorts of occasions. I’d love to pay my bills on time, to have just ONE pair of tights without a run in them, and matching Tupperware sets. I’d love to be the kind of person who remembers to send birthday cards and knows how to act at parties but guess what, world, I ain’t.

And I’m thankful for that! How dull that must be. How stressful it must be to keep it up. And how totally boring this blog would be. The internet is crammed to the gills with what I call Bullshit Blogs (here’s one gleaming example), blogs by girls who portray themselves as "real" girls who just happen to have perfect, fashionable, non-flaky lives full of circular pie pans and beautiful homes and fishtail braid hairdos and DIY glitter centerpiece craft projects and to these girls I call bullshit! You may have a stocked closet and a deft hand with the glue gun but do you have fun? Do you laugh at yourself? Do you go anywhere without posing for photos with your Canon DSLRMNOP Top of the Line Digital Camera? Probably not. Your life may look perfect, but mine is a flaky, ridiculous mess and I love it. So there.

No one remembers perfect holidays and I don’t think anyone looks back at age 89 and remembers what a delightful Grown Up Thanksgiving they once had. Messy holidays are the best ones.

So adding to last week’s silly list: I’m thankful for square pies, for a patient, amazing mom who gives me love and guidance and treats me like an adult, even while I’m throwing an eight-grade-style hissy fit. I’m thankful for a brother who sacrificed his usual fast, eight-mile runs for slow short jogs with me this weekend, where we could catch up on life. I’m thankful for a sister who mashes a mean potato and watches just as much Hulu as I do and knows just how much icing to put on each individual Pillsbury cinnamon bun. I’m very thankful for Pillsbury as a corporation. Is there a better sound than the POP! of the biscuit tin? I’m thankful for Trivial Pursuit, even though I always lose (what I lack in brains, I make up for in looks, obviously) and for vacuums that allow for easy flour clean-up and for expandable waistbands and for crazy, obsessive adherence to tradition. And I’m thankful for Bullshit Blogs and for overhearing the occasional personality critique because they remind me to take a step back and take it all in – to appreciate my life for what it is and stop trying so hard to get it all together.

I think I’ve just made a New Year’s Resolution a few weeks early!

So from my disaster of a house to yours, whatever state it might be in: Happy Holidays!

Xoxo

Liz Ho Ho Ho