Another Awkward Week [11.8.13]

Hello friends. How was everyone's week? Mine was a mixed bag. On the upside: a sweet friend came over for dinner on Tuesday - we had champagne and pizza. Classay. I ate a lot of cookies and avocados. Not together! Though, I wouldn't put it past me. I also caught up on Parenthood (more like ParentGOOD, am I right?), aannnddd I made a major adult move and signed up for new health insurance. Like a BOSS. On the bottomside: Daylight Savings Time. THE worst! It's dark at like 4:12 PM every night, you guys. WOOF. I can already barely muster the energy to stay awake for all of will we survive four more months of this? It's like Iceland up in here. I can't deal.

I am going to have to keep things brief this week ("HALLELUJAH, FINALLY" says everyone) - I'm taking a half day today, so scurrying around to get things done before I go.  Brian & I are headed to PA  to check out a few possible venues for our impending wedding (for which I AM excited!) and catch up on HGTV. And hang out with my mom. But mostly the TV thing. House Hunters International: I'm coming for you!

So, rather than our usual longwinded listicle, a short, MORTIFYING story that is sure to rank high in my Top 10 Most Awkward of 2013 List:


Before we begin, allow me to preface this with the fact that I am a tactile person. Recently an online quiz told me my love language is "touch." I just like to hug and pat and pet and snuggle and I'm certain I am a boundary crosser but I do it lovingly, you know? Say you know!

One tactile activity I particularly enjoy is playing with people's hair - long or short, curly or straight - I just like to touch it. I am a creepo weird freak, I am well aware.

So! Earlier this week an old colleague of mine was back in the office and came up for a quick visit with another gal who works in our building. This former colleague happens to be of Dominican heritage and has fantastic, gorgeous curly hair, currently styled in a short, bouncy do. I have totally touched this hair before, in a NORMAL consensual way. We are friends! Friends touch each other's heads? Right?


So we're talking, talking, talking and some remark was made about her hair looking particularly cute (which it WAS!)...and just like, instinctively, I reached out my hand to sort of pat her head (whyyy?) but mid-reach I had a sudden internal panic:  "Elizabeth! You can't just touch another person's hair without asking! Especially not [whispers] ethnic hair. As a white woman! Could you be any more condescending?"

I froze.

Instead of touching her hair, which would have been bad enough, but salvageable, I just stood there, motionless, with one hand hovered in the air several inches in front of her head like I was about to anoint her with holy water or something. I stood like that for what was certainly no less than seventeen hours before slowwwwwly pulling my hand back and hoping no one noticed.

Oh. They noticed. I tried to rectify the situation by rambling about how curly hair for about 78 minutes (curly haired women ARE significantly cooler than their straight-haired counterparts: FACT) before my two conversation partners straight up stprinted far, far away from me.

Smoooooooth move, dude.

Friend, if you're reading this, I am genuinely sorry! I wasn't trying to be borderline racist or physically inappropriate...that's just my natural state of being. I hope you will forget this ever happened. Please?

For Christmas I'd like Santa to bring me lessons in how to be normal. Those exist somewhere, right?

Annnd I feel like that's MORE than enough awkward for one week. Let's just shut it down while we're ahead far, far behind.

Happy Weekend, pals! Get out there and enjoy that daylight while you still can!

xoxo Liz Ho

Another Awkward Week [8.9.13]

You guys. Is it just me or is this summer going like, really, really fast? I feel like I've blinked and missed it. I haven't been to the beach once, have barely picnicked in the park, haven't been on my bike in weeks. On the plus side, I've managed to avoid any more ridiculous sunburns but...I'd trade pattern-free skin for a few days of really feeling summer. I made a pact (with myself) to Make The Most of August but mostly it's left me feeling anxious for everything I want to accomplish...and every rainy Friday ruining my plans!

What have you been up to this summer? What do you have left to check off your list?

I'm planning:

  • beach day (at least one!)
  • swim in a pool (will be visiting my dad in a few weeks to check this off the list!)
  • camping & hiking in Virginia in a few weeks
  • long bike ride ... somewhere
  • visit Governor's Island
  • sunset picnic in Prospect Park
  • summer Friday happy hour at my favorite local outdoor bar (was to be this afternoon but, see above for weather complaints!)
  • 5K in Prospect Park (if I don't accomplish this one I won't be that sad)
  • Outdoor movie in one of the parks (there is quite the selection!)
  • Eat more heirloom tomatoes

What an ambitions list I KNOW. I'll let you know how it goes! Now, let's move from the future and back to the past with a little look at what was keeping it awkward this week:

These Pickles:


As everyone knows, I love me a good pickled veg, especially if that veg was once a cucumber. I am VERY into these mini picks known as cornichons, which is french for YUM. I can not pronounce that word but I gobble these little guys up like they are candy. They're the perfect sized to shove in my face one by one by one bye one by two by five while I'm cooking dinner to hold me over until my food is ready.

Anyhoodle, I was pickle bingeing in the kitchen the other night when I choked just a little bit and then thought in my head "choking on the pickle" and how that could be a euphemism for you knowwwww dirty stuff, because I am twelve, and then I started laughing at the thought of me dying and them having to write

Cause of Death: choked on pickle (that's what she said!)

on my death certificate and I started laughing really hard and actually DID choke on a pickle but did not die the end.


This Bathroom Door:

bathroom door

So I got a much, much needed hair cut this week, my first since I chopped it all off last winter. My usual pattern for hair maintenance is to get it cut and then let it just grow out for a while and it usually looks good, fine, GREAT, fine, good and then suddenly: TERRIBLE. Like one morning I'll just wake up, look at myself in the mirror and think holy shit, get this monster off my head immediately.

That happened to me earlier this summer but I was being cheap and lazy and thought I could eek out a few months of ponytails but finally Monday morning the feeling of my hair touching my neck gave me such shudders I panicked and set up an appointment.

I tried a new salon near my office which made me nervous and also filled me with great guilt about abandoning the gal who has cut my hair for the last few years. She's great but her salon is so far away! It's not worth the time! Or is it? She lives in my neighborhood and I have great anxiety that I might run into her on the street and she'll know I've gone elsewhere and cry.

I need to get a life.

Where were we?

Oh! This bathroom door! So, the salon I tried out was actually pretty great - just swank and hip enough without being too over the top. When I got there I needed to use the ladies' so I asked the desk attendant if she could show me where it was. The ladies' room had a sliding door and appeared to be open just a crack, so I tried to pull. It opened a little bit more...then stopped...I thought it was jammed, so pulled harder. It turns out that the chain on the door lock is a little bit too long, so that the door is able to open a sizable crack, even when it is locked.

I call shenanigans.

I realized what was happening and moved away from the door and the gal who had walked me there gave me this super pitying look and said in this kind of condescending, almost childish voice

"oh nooo! someone is in there! looks like you'll have to wait just a little second!"

I know how to use a bathroom lady! I wasn't like, ripping down the door because I can't control my urges - your lock sucks!

It was weird. Then I had to stare at the wall for a little bit to avoid making eye contact with the woman in the ladies room as she walked out of the door.

Awk to the ward.


This Robe:

haircut robe

After I peed they brought me into the "changing room" to get a "robe" which just confused me because any salon I've ever been to just wraps you up in one of those apron doodads and goes about their business.

Not this place.

They had a full changing room, like you'd find in a gym or mall, and a room full of black robes and a woman working back there handing robes and taking people's bags and handing back check tickets like a coat check at a fancy club or somewhere. I was not experienced in this kind of class! I did not know what to do!

Was I to put the robe on over my clothes? Was I to take off everything and just put on the robe? I didn't know. I was wearing a skirt and a top so I took of my top and put the robe on over my brassiere and skirt. If this was the appropriate way to do it, I have no idea. I tried to snoop around at my fellow salon patrons but couldn't get a glimpse. I spent the next hour terrified that my robe would fall open and I'd flash the whole establishment.

Like most of my fears, this did not happen.

I did however make a mild scene trying to pay. I realized I had no cash to leave a tip and had to use the salon's ATM and it was late evening so I was kind of the only customer with about 5 stylists and cashiers watching my every move, including my own stylist, and I'm super awk about tipping - I never know how much to leave and don't want to look stingy but also don't want to break the bank just to look good - and I had to break a 20 and everyone was just staaaring at me (they probably weren't, but it felt like it!) and gah! Get me out of here.

How much do YOU tip your stylist? I'm genuinely interested! I never know the etiquette!

This Nectarine:


I stopped at a fruit stand to buy some cherries and the vendor convinced me to grab a nectarine as well, telling me they were very sweet and soft this time of year. I do love a good necta so I said, sure, why not. He selected the fruit, washed it and handed it to me with an expectant look on his face.

"Eat it," he said, staring at me lasciviously. "Bite it. 'Eat it. Bite it. Bite it"

Um. Yikes. I threw the fruit in my bag and ran far far away.

Ladies of NYC if you have a fetish where a stranger is lustily watching you get covered in fruit juice, um...I've found your man!

And finally, if we could all take a moment of silence for

My Basil Plant:

dead basil

June 2013 - August 2013.

We had a good run. RIP bud, RIP.

And that's the week! I'm off to conquer August! What are you kids up to?

xoxo Liz Ho

One Awkward Hair-Do

New Year, New You! That's what I always say. The dawning of a new era is the best time to reinvent yourself spiritually, emotionally and, of course, physically. To welcome in 2011, I'm going to share some simple tips on achieving a really fun, flattering new hair-do. Now this do is really just for special nights out. Birthdays, weddings, funerals, key parties, etc. I tried it for the first time on New Years Eve and the results were spectacular! And it is SO Easy! All you need is a blow dryer, a big round brush, a slightly smaller round brush, water, two patient assistants and, eventually, a pair of scissors. Oh and also wine and Swedish meatballs, but they're not mandatory. Ready? 1. Make sure you're the last one in your apartment to shower, so the water is freezing cold. If you want, you can take a hot shower, but I think this is really important for sort of setting the tone of the hair-do.

2. Watch a couple of You Tube videos on "How to Blow Out Curly Hair" and "Drying with Volume" and stuff. It doesn't matter if you have straight hair, you should still watch these videos because they are interesting! And informational.

3. Using the larger of the two round brushes, blow dry your hair until it is straight and beautiful. Just as you're about to be finished, get this brush slightly stuck on the bottom left side of your head. Just slightly. Have a mild panic attack, invite your first assistant (for me, sister M) into the bathroom to help/tease you, and then just rip it out.

4. Feel embarrassed. Resume blow-drying.

5. Now your hair is totally dry, but it's not as voluminous as the models on YouTube. This is where the smaller (ideally also older, grosser) of the two brushes comes in. You're gonna want to take a giant section of hair from the top middle of your head, also known as the crown, and roll that entire section around the brush, allll the way down to the scalp. Do not miss a single hair, this is important!

6. Now try to remove the hairbrush. If you can get it out, you're doing this wrong and you need to try again. What you want to happen here is for the brush to be so completely stuck on the top/middle portion of your head/hair that it's just not going anywhere. Ever.

7. Panic. A lot.

8. Keep the panic to yourself - remember you're still super embarrassed about the first brush you got stuck in your hair no more than 10 minutes ago. You're an adult who can't brush her own hair. Just deal with it on your own. No need to involve other parties.

9. Get in the shower and attempt to get the brush out of your hair by smearing conditioner all over your head and face. This will only make the brush stick harder, but at least the shower is now warm, and also a good place to cry.

10. After the shower, spend 10-12 minutes frantically ripping at your head, until you realize that the brush is like really super stuck. This is good! At this point, you want your hair to look a little like this:

You are beautiful! Now you're ready to involve other people in your hair styling. Call in the one of your two assistants who has NOT already seen you with a brush stuck to your head (for me, my roommate K), and put him/her to work on your hair! Remember - your assistants can be anyone! Sister, brother, roommate, friend, neighbor, the pizza man, your cat, even your boyfriend. Although, if you're the kind of adult who gets a hairbrush stuck in their hair you're probably very single but hey, there's someone for everyone! That's another thing I always say.

So this is really quality bonding time. For the next hour - 1.5 hours, you sit on the toilet in your fuzzy robe while your assistant rips at your hair and you try not to cry and she tries to refrain from wondering out loud what she ever did to end up with a roommate like you and you are having SO MUCH FUN:

Look at you two! Such a good pair!

11. So step 11 is not mandatory and happens like, concurrent with step 10. This is where the wine/meatballs come in. Remember: you're having FUN. Start snacking! Get assistant two to periodically come into the cold bathroom where you're just hanging, styling, and bring you your favorite nosh. It can be anything you want bourbon/pretzels, beer/marshmallows, tequila/tater tots - it don't matta, just as long as the beverage is alcoholic and the snack is small enough that you can shove a lot of it in your face reallyfast, in an attempt to quell your rapidly increasing anxiety. And by anxiety, I mean the fun kind, like when you're riding a roller coaster, or having a pregnancy scare or trapped in the Saw basement, not the bad kind.

12. After you've been at this for at least an hour, it's time to reevaluate. Give your former self one last look:

Now hand your assistant those scissors and SNIP!

SNIP SNIP SNIP! This should take at least another 30 minutes, if you really want to do it right. SNIP!

13. Get back in the shower (your 3rd shower of the evening), have another cry, get out of the shower and style your hair just like you normally do every single day.

And you're done! A beautiful, simple, big-night out hairstyle! The most exciting thing is how, after just 2.5 hours, your hair will look exactly the same as it did before, except with little short pieces hidden all around the crown of your head. Like a LITERAL crown. You now have a crown of hair and a guaranteed attention-grabbing story at whatever special event you happen to be attending. TA-DAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

Here's to a very happy awkward 2011, y'all!