30 Before 30: Run a Half Marathon!

America, guess what?! I did it! First (and hopefully not last) half marathon is in the books and I can check one more thing off my 30 Before 30 List. Just 26 items & 5 months to go. Yiiiiikes. Not the point! The point is I did it and it went way better than I imagined it would! The morning got off to a rocky start, with chilly, damp weather and a potentially dramatic incident involving a lost shipment of porta potties but by the time the starting gun went off at 8:30 AM it was bright, breezy and perfect weather for running. Which was a relief both athletically AND sartorially as it initially looked like I might have to do 13.1 sporting this HOT get-up.

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Thankfully that fashion faux-pas was averted and after some hemming and hawing about what sort of layering/sleeve situation I was going to go for, I made a game time decision to rock just a tank top (and bottoms, obviously) so I looked like a sexy sporty gal instead of an adult Morton Salt Girl slash homeless fisherwoman.

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Ok maybe “gangly and weirdly chipper sporty gal” would be a better descriptor but today is about CONFIDENCE not self-deprecation so let’s go with sexy. (In case you’re curious, this tank top was a gift from my BFF Maureen. In the card she said it would help me combat my STS aka “Sweaty Torso Syndrome” and she was right! What a great top. And an even better friend, one who also sent me tulips to celebrate finishing my race. She’s basically my guardian angel.)

ALSO in case you’re wondering if I yelled mid-run “Hey! Brian! Take my picture!!! While I’m running!” the answer is obviously. Do you even have to ask?

The race itself went totally superbly great. The course was perfectly flat and scenic, taking us under the Verrazano Bridge. The course sort of just looped around on itself so you ran the same path up and back, up and back, which could seem dull but worked for me – I was able to pass Brian 4 times, which helped keep me motivated and gave me something to look forward to and the flat, blank landscape of the course allowed me to completely zone out and just RUN.

At mile 4 I wanted to quit, by mile 7 I was ready to start training for a full marathon and by mile 12 I was just ready to get it over with.

So how’d I do? Awesome! My initial goal was to finish in 2 hours and I smashed that, crossing the finish line at 1:53:04. I placed 110th overall, out of 264 and 19th out of 67 finishers in my bracket of women aged 20-29. This was much better than I could have hoped for and I’m so proud of my accomplishment. I didn’t feel too bad after the race either, minus a horrific stomach ache (TMI as always, but any other runners out there deal with major gassy cramps during/post long runs?! I was dying!) and sore hips and hamstrings. We met some friends for celebratory beers & BBQ and then I passed out by 8:45 PM. It was delightful.

I’d DEFINITELY do another half marathon and would love to try to improve my time and work on pacing myself to run more smoothly and consistently. As for a full marathon? No. Not yet. Mostly I don’t want to put in that much time training and, despite the speed, pride, etc, I struggled through that 13th mile, I don’t think I’m ready to double that.

I’m mostly just surprised by how much I enjoyed this whole process. I don’t know why I decided I should run a half marathon, I just kind of got the idea in my head and decided it would be a good thing to do before I turned 30, and somewhere along the way I came to love running.  I’ve dabbled in jogging in the past, first just as a tool to stay svelte and then as something to do with Brian. He ran competitively in college and running is as much a part of his life as breathing or eating cheese or quoting Liz Lemon is to mine. When we started dating, I’d run with him because I wanted to share that with him and I wanted him to think I was a cool sporty person and sometimes I enjoyed it but other times I just got frustrated that I couldn’t keep up with him and worried I was holding him back and would get weird and dramatic – “just leave me here! This isn’t Saving Private Ryan! I know I’m slow and holding you back and I’m sorry. I never should have come with you today. I’m ruining everything!" – and that was just no fun for anybody.

When I started training for my race, I was in so-so shape. Essentially I could run the 3.4 mile loop in Prospect Park without stopping, occasionally adding on an extra mile here or there, if I was feeling particularly fit. I trained for three months, doing short runs throughout the week and one long run on weekends, adding on a mile per week. Every single week I had a one mile indicator of how much stronger I was getting. It felt awesome. I realized this morning that I could now run the 3.4 mile loop in Prospect Park 3.85 times without stopping. Boom.

Two of my cousins got into running right around the same time I did and we’ve been chatting together about how empowering it is physically pushing yourself to new levels. I usually shy away from that sort of self help-Oprah Winfrey-feelgood nonsense but I can’t help myself. I’m an empowered lady. Hear me roar! Or something.

I also realized that, in addition to empowering me (how many times will she say empowering?!), running calms me.  As you all know, I have some issues with anxiety and a, shall we say, overactive brain. Somehow when I’m in a good running rhythm, my brain just stops racing. I was telling this to a friend recently and she asked me what I think about when I run and I had to tell her I don’t know! I daydream. I sing along to songs on my phone, imagine dancing to them at my wedding or let them pull me back into nostalgic reminiscences. I mentally draft essays I never get around to writing. I focus on my breath, my feet, one step after the other.

I was in kind of a low place earlier this year, emotionally, and I’m feeling worlds away from that dark space. Yes, the weather and general passing of time have a lot to do with that, but I truly think the running did too. I know running isn’t for everyone, I wouldn’t push it on anyone, but I can not more wholeheartedly get behind anything than the importance of physical activity – whether it’s sprinting or Zumba or yogilates or powerwalking. It’s basically free Xanax! Y’all know I love TV as much as the next guy but I think all of us can and should spare a few hours of Hulu Plus per week in favor of getting those endorphins.

Ok now I’m getting a little self-righteous where I just meant to be celebratory! I think this is as good a place as any to cut the rambles. I’ll be back tomorrow with a few more words on running – a friend asked me for my advice on learning to love running, so I thought I’d share some more practical tips, now that I am super totally an expert on all things track and field.

HA!

Thank you all for your sweet encouragement and support while I trained for this little shindig and for not being too harsh on mo while I ramble about running. I know there is nothing more boring than listening to someone talk about their exercise routine (looking RIGHT AT YOU Crossfitters) so I truly appreciate you tuning in. You're all gems. Gems, I say!

 

Xo! Liz

Another Awkward Week [11.1.13]

Hello, friends! How is everyone? Sorry I'm so late today (I'm sure you've all been barely able to function without me), I just got back from a whirlwind trip to my very favorite place: the gynecologist.  I spend the AM running all over town in the rain to get to my appointment, only to learn that my most recent annual exam (aren't you glad I didn't say pap smear?) (sorry for then actually saying pap smear) (smear!) was not a full year ago, and there was a chance I'd be sent a big ole bill from the insurance company if I went ahead with the exam, so did I want to just come back in a month? Sooo I put my pants back on and moved on with my day. What an excellent use of my pre 9 AM hours. My ineptitude in understanding the complexities of the American health care system remains impressive.

But don't worry, I still managed to get my fair share of clinical nudity this week with a Monday visit to the dermatologist. The derm might be even more uncomfortable than the gyno, now that I'm thinking about it.  At least when you're at the lady doctor, you're situated in a way so that you can't really see what's going on, you know? You can cover up with the paper robe, then just lay back, think of England and pretend you're anywhere but there. But at the derm you're just kind of throwing it all out there. Skin covers 100% of your bod, there's nowhere you can hide. 

My doctor found a mole on my back that she thought might be semi-suspicious, so decided to remove it and do a biopsy.  I know that this is totally common and I'm sure I'm fine ... by which I mean I am certain that I have melanoma and won't live to see 30.  I'm well aware that I should just be a chilly Billy about it but I can't help freaking out a little. Is that so wrong? I'll should hear back from them by early next week - GAH!

Anyhoodle, this surgery situation was hilariously awkward. Because the mole was on my back, I had to be at least topless - the doc said I could put my pants on but of course I wore a dress that day, so all I had to wear were my underbottoms. I was then instructed to lay on my stomach on the exam table, which I did, and they lowered the table, mechanically. It was on some kind of lifts that just made think of cars at the auto-body shop. The doc removed the mole, easy peasy, and then moved around to the front of the table, where she stood over me and gave me some skin-care info as the nurse began to sloowwwly raise the exam table. There I lay, like a Buick in for repair, topless, with my chin perched on one hand, senior portrait style, pretending to take in her advice (something about the ABCD's of moles?), but mostly trying to hold it together enough not to burst out laughing in her face.

It was real weird, you guys. I will never understand how medical professionals actually become accustomed to nudity...I swear I would just crack up all the time. Probably for the best I'm not a doctor. Also: I barely scraped through 9th Grade bio so...yeah, just a solid decision all around.

And with that, why don't we take a look at what else was keeping it awkward this week.

This Wild and Sexy Halloween Celebration: 

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Ain't no way anyone partied harder than Brian & I did last night. After dinner we caught up on New Yorker back-issues (him) and mom-blogs (her) and were lights out by 10 PM.

And we can't stop. And we wonnnn't stopp.

I didn't even get it together with a costume. I should have just walked out of the house sporting...

This Hair-Do:

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Which is how I woke up Halloween morning. Au natural, baby.

This Bottle:

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1) Please observe that label. That is some delicious Swedish Festive Drink, the signature carbonated beverage of Ikea. It is disgusting.

2) Get ready for your Liz Ho Overshare of the Week: Sunday afternoon I went to the bathroom and noticed that my pee seemed slightly pinkish (why was I even looking? Don't ask) so I did what any sane person would do which is PANIC. I quickly chugged two large glasses of water, found an empty plastic bottle in the recycling bin and peed into it in order to closer investigate. I was going to make Brian look at it (RIP sex life) but he was in the bedroom with the door shut talking on the phone, so I quickly visited my very favorite website Web MD. And would you believe it, for once they actually HELPED me instead of encouraging my hypochondriac tailspin.

Turns out, y'all, that if you consume a lot of beets, your urine (and um, the other thing) will be tinged a delightful shade of pink.

My mind flashed to the five large beets I'd juiced that morning in an attempt to clean out my fridge and there you have it. Crisis averted.

The more you know!

(For the record, I got rid of the specimen without Brian ever noticing - the mystery is still alive!)

This Bouquet:

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A gift from some sweet friends...one month ago. I think it might be time to bid farewell? I can't even be trusted with dead plants.

This Cabinet:

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My colleague Margaret just moved and needed to get rid of this cabinet. Somehow I ended up being the lucky recipient  - I was going to DIY it (LOL, I know) into a bar cart  - it was mine for free if I could meet her at her old apartment on the Upper West Side...and somehow transport it back to my apartment in Brooklyn. Easier said than done, friends.

The cabinet is set on wheels, so we were able to push it out of Margaret's apartment and into the elevator but got our first cold hard dose of reality when we reached the building's front stoop. It was a bear to get down one step...how would I get this up the 27 steps waiting for me back at my elevatorless home?

No matter! We'd forge on.

We pushed the cart down to the end of the block drawing many a stare and lucked out to hail an SUV taxi right away. The driver hopped out to help us load up the trunk, took one look at the size of our cargo, leapt back in the front seat and sped away.

We still refused to give up.

We pushed the cart across the street for more optimal taxi hailing but didn't want to try to haul it onto the curb, so mostly just stood in the middle of a busy road, forcing cars to swerve all around us. We hailed down another SUV taxi, who once again dashed at the sight of the gigantic furniture. I tried the Uber taxi app for a van, and the price estimate told me it would be at least $99 to get back to my home. Thus making my 'free' chest actually cost more in the hundred dollars range.

A super nice man with a van full of garbage did stop and offer to give us a ride which was SO nice and we totally definitely should have taken him up on his offer (it's always a good idea to get into cars with strange men, right?) but we decided enough was enough and called it quits.

'Twas not to be.

We rolled the cabinet back to Margaret's apartment, where it is likely still sitting in the hallway, if anyone in NYC is looking for some new furniture. It's all yours, for free! Plus $100 for transportation and/or the possibility of being murdered by a garbage van man.

And that, my friends, was my week. I'm REALLY sorry that I said "pap smear" and also that I told you that story about my pee. I'm considering establishing some boundaries, maybe? Eh.

Hope everyone has an utterly delightful weekend!

xoxo Liz Ho

Another Awkward Week [6.21.13]

Hello you sweet turtle doves. How was everyone's week? Thanks to everyone for your enthusiasm over the Cohabitation Situation. And especially for your advice. I have lots of great nuggets of wisdom tucked away for once the shacking up begins. I think we're going to nail this thing. One wonderful tidbit passed on was to 'Keep The Mystery Alive' - aka have a little separation when doing personal things like nail clipping, eyebrow plucking, bikini waxing, defecating, etc - ain't nobody gong to want to make out with you after they see you on the john. Unless you're into that kind of thing, in which case, carry on with your freaky self!

With this lesson in mind, it's a good thing we're not yet living together because tonight, Thursday, as I type this, I a preparing for an early morning colonoscopy. YUPPPPPPP. This is the latest development in the never-ending saga of my stomach ailments, I know you've all been waiting for the new chapter in my intestinal melodrama. Well lucky you, I'm in the process of writing a wholeeeee series dedicated to The IBS (pronounced to rhyme with fibs) and nothing but The IBS.

GIRD YOUR LOINS, Pulitzer Prize Committee, this is happening.

Anyway, I'll save the dirty deets of what is happening in my life right now for that post...and share a hearty Read At Your Own Risk warning when I do...and just say that I'm currently typing this while sitting on the bathroom floor because colonoscopy prep basically involves eating nothing for 24 hours and then chugging this monstrous cleansing medication that clears out anything that may have ever been inside you and thus  doesn't allow you to stray too far from the commode. If you know what I mean.

Which, how could you not know what I mean, I painted a grotesquely clear picture. SORRRYYYYYYYYYYY! My mean medical condition is chronic oversharing. So anyway, it is a blessing that Brian is not here seeing this...and instead he and the entire world (the whole thing!) are just reading about it on the internet. Because if there is one thing I know how to do it is keep that sexy mystery alive.

YIKES.

Ok and here's where I'd say "let's see what (else) was keeping it awkward this week" and I started to do that, I did, but then my computer busted out this fun new trick its been doing which is to overheat and crash, right when I'm in the middle of something. It's pretty cool you guys. If your computer just like works all the time and is speedy and efficient and virus free, well, I feel sorry for you. You're missing out on some good stuff.

Buuut I realized it may have been a bit of a blessing in disguise, all of the items I'd bookmarked to chat about this week - an errant dress hem, a falling basil plant, a teapot, were at best, not very funny and at worst, completely pointless. SO better to have written dumb crap and lost then never have written at all.

Huh?

All I've had to eat today is two mugs of vegetable broth, a few cups of apple juice and four Werthers' Originals. I am dying. My body is eating my brain from the inside out. I'm shutting this mother down.

Plus, I have to go ingest the next round of my horrid, horrid laxative juice. Bottoms up!

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If you made it all the way to the end, you deserve a serious prize. Better next week, I swear!

Now go keep that mystery alive, kids!

xo Liz Ho

Another Awkward Week [6.7.13]

Hello, old friends! Have you missed me? I've missed YOU! I am so sorry for being away so long, I was sunning myself on the shores of St. Lucia and just plain lost track of time! Just kidding, I've been here. Working. Like a dawg. Here's a question, what is up with that expression? Except like, sheepdogs and police dogs, do pups actually work THAT hard? I think no. Ok, I guess there are also seeing eye dogs and huskies who have to pull sleds and rescue dogs and Clifford, he's got that sweet mascot gig for Scholastic...so, fine, dogs work hard I guessss. But don't you think there are harder working animals out there we might give a little credit? Lions prowling around on the hunt? Bees making honey. Woodchucks chucking all that wood, could those woodchucks chuck that wood?

Poor woodchucks!

Me, I've been working like some kind of exciting animal, busy with an author in town and that horrendous publishing conference I mentioned, and a bigbigbig launch of a very special book I've been working on that's really been a labor of love for me, you can read the rave New York Times review here. #Humblebrag. No, just #Brag. I've worked hard and I'm proud of myself and the author and the rest of my team and I'm just going to Own. It. Gurl.

Snap, snap, swish.

So that's what's the what on this end of the world! Tell me - what's new with you? Heard any good gossip? Read any good books? Tripped and fell in public? You know I want to hear about it!

Now! Why don't we take a look back at what was keeping it awkward this week  these last two weeks, whoooops:

These Galoshes:

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Pictured last roundup in a deep puddle of rain water and this week in the blinding sunshine. Um? Yeah. One of the terrible things about rain is...well, pretty much everything. With the exception of it's role in the growth of new life and how the sound of it hitting a tin roof inspired that one great Norah Jones song, I think we can all agree that there are verrrryyyy few good sides to rain. Am I missing something? But one of the worsticles is when old Sally Rainstorm doesn't hang around all day and you can't get a solid read on what sort of apparel to wear and have to dress for any possibility and end up clomping around in the bright sunshine in your even brighter galoshes.

I need to move to somewhere with a more predictable climate. Any suggestions?

This Bike:

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(The one on the left. My left. Well, everyone's left unless you're someohow viewing this photo from behind the screen, in which case, what are you, a wizard?!)

One of my favorite things about my pal Brian is that he's always up for trying new things and likes to be on the go and explore and have adventures. It keeps me on my toes. He's fun. Last weekend's adventure was a casual 17 mile roundtrip bike ride to Coney Island. It was a delightful little jaunt but possibly a little advanced for me, who's only just hopped back into the biking life. It turns out I live on top of a gigantic mountain that is so steep, it is basically just a 90 degree angle right into the air. TRUTH. My 'hood is called Crown Heights and I've just realized, the hard way, where they got that "Heights" from.

B & I biked most of the way back together, but parted ways at the end of our trip, me to my home, he to his, leaving me at the bottom of  this Mount Vesuvius of a hill. I, of course, chose the busiest street possible to ride up and, you guys, I thought this was going to be the end for me, I really did.

I stopped four times on the ride up to catch my breath, dreaming of the water bottle I'd left in Brian's backpack. I could have easily dismounted and walked my bike up the hill on the sidewalk but GOD DAMN IT, I had not rode this far to quit. And plus, I thought it would be more embarrassing to be seen walking my bike than to be seen stopped dead in the middle of a busy road,  hunched over the handlebars, panting for mercy and oxygen, as cars swerved around me.

Don't worry, I made it home, alive! Was it worth it? Aaaabsolutely not.

These Lanes:

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As should surprise zero percent of my readership, I am terrrrrible at bowling. A bunch of my pals and I hit the lanes the other weekend to entertain ourselves during a rainstorm and played two rounds of girls v boys. In an epic blow to feminism the girls team lost.

Both times.

I contributed a career high of 86 total points. Out of a possible 600.

I'm considering going pro.

This Sunburn:

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Just ignore my weird Harlequin Romance Novel pose and focus on the red and white racing stripes on my seductively bared shoulder. I'm diligent about sunscreen but every year manage to bust out at least one or two pretty solidly idiotic burns. Got this year's first one in before Memorial Day Weekend even came to a close. Summer is off to a great start, kids!

This Coconut Oil:

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My coconut oil above...and what it's supposed to look like:

(via theKitchn)

Ok, so, here's the story. As you knowwww I've been on a bit of a health food jag of late and all of the clean eating blogs I lurve are all UP ON coconut oil. So clearly when I saw it on sale at the Teej, I knew I had to have it. The thing is, I find it utterly grotesque to look upon. Unlike other oils which are liquidy and yummy looking, this stuff looks like lard in a jar and smells like Banana Boat.

Apparently there are all SORTS of benefits like it has no cholesterol and can be used as a hair conditioner or body moisturizer or even a healthy and natural sexual lubricant.   Brian and I did NOT test this theory out (or did we?) (we didn't!) but we have made zillions of jokes like "let's put on a little Barry White, light some candles, pour some wine...pop open that coconut oil...and just see where the night goes."

Really clever stuff over here. We need to get out more.

Anywhoo, really dumb story extra long and extra dumb: I finally got up the nerve to test out my C.O. last evening not as a food product but as a moisturizer for my dry feet (why do I feel the need to share these things?!), but when I went to the cabinet, it had somehow transformed from a thick, creamy, white substance (no one say TWSS, plz) into this weird, thin, clear liquid.

Did it melt?? Did someone eat all my coconut butter and replace it with water like cool kids would do with their parents' liquor while I was busy at home watching Touched by an Angel with my mom?! I will never ever know because I am too afraid to open the jar.

Gross.

Here's why I'm sharing this, though. Last time I had a food related mishap, with that fresh mango, my beautiful friend Mallory, who is adorable and lives in Mexico and has a truly fabulous life, dedicated a whole post on her blog to cutting and preparing fresh mangoes. So now I can do it right! What a pal!

So, I'm kind of hoping one of you delightful gems out there might clue me in on this whole coconut oil mystery. Why is it so great? And how do I use it? Is it supposed to turn clear like that?

Or, alternately, if one of you has a great story about at time you used coconut butter or any other sort of butter as a sexual lubricant, well, you KNOWWWWWWWW I'd love to hear about it.

And on that note, I'm out! I hope everyone has a most splendid weekend full of sunshine and butterflies and incorporating health foods into your lovemaking.

xoxo Liz Ho

One Awkward Hike

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

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

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

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

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

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B-E-Yootiful!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Exhibit A.

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

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

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

hike2

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

 hike3

And punny political signs:

hike4

Zing!

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

 hike5

And this broken down woodshed:hike6

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

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

 hike7

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

 hike8

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

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

 hike9

Yeah.

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

hike13

 "You Shall Not Pass!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Awkward Week [5.3.13]

Good morning, y'all! I caught up on a lot of Nashville last night, so I'm feeling especially twangy this morning. I'm also up before the sun, because the early bird gets the worm! But worms are gross, so I'm going back to bed. Blergh, I wish. I'm in the office way sooner than I'd like to be to tackle some serious werk, but I have a golden light ahead:  I'm leaving at 1 PM this afternoon to catch a  bus down to DC to visit some pals. Hoorah! I am tres excited for a little weekend get away.

I'm also really sorry I used the word "tres."

Forgive me?

It's too early, y'all. Let's see what was keeping it awkward this week:

This Shirtsleeve:

20130502_122243

This weeks' addition to the What Is Liz Spilling On Herself Now files. Trying to carry a cup of water from the office kitchen while my hands were full, I put the cup in the crook of my arm, started walking, and promptly tipped the whole thing all over myself.

Soaked.

Awesome.

Use two hands kids. Or just one hand. Elbows are not the best for carrying things. The more you know!

This Tupperware:

20130502_212825

I always pack my lunch and lots of rando snacks and end up lugging bags and bags and bags of tupperware with me, everywhere I go. Earlier this week I was shopping in Soho (ok, it was in an Old Navy, but it was in Soho, so, ho, it counts). I had something to return and of course it was in the very bottom of my tote bag, underneath a solid layer of dirty plastic containers, so in order to present it to the clerk, I had to dig throught my gross old lunch dishes like a hoarder. You should have seen the look on the checkout gal's face when I lined up all of my tupperware on her counter one by one by one before handing her my return item and then throwing them all back in the bag.

#classy

Related: Old Navy is having some serious sales in-store and online and their spring line is pretttttty OK you guys. This is not a sponsored post, because again, I'm not that bigshot, I just really like Old Navy and want to share my joy with the world. Only the fanciest brands over here!

Women be shoppin!

Also somewhat tangentially related (can you tell I'm writing this pre caffeine?):

This Egg:

20130503_070653

Or one of many like it. I've been eating a lot of hard boiled eggs lately because they are easy and good and cheap and relatively healthy and my body seems to be able to digest them. I bring them to work and mix up with half an avocado and salt and pepper. It looks and sounds pretttty gross but trust me, it is delicious.

A few things about this. 1) Hardboiled eggs are extremely difficult to peel. Does anyone reading have a trick? I've tried running them under cold water as I peel (which just leaves me with a mess in the sink) and boiling with oil in the water (which just makes them slimy) but I still end up spending forever scraping off tiny little shell pieces and wasting half the egg in the process.

Tips? I'd love 'em.

Meanwhile, thing 2) I found myself on the same kitchen schedule as our office manager, every day I'd be in the tiny kitchen, in the midst of mutilating my breakfast, and she'd walk in to refresh her coffee or get a snack or whatever and just kind of give me the side eye as I made a big 'ol mess. The other morning she walked in, did her thing, and on the way out just said "You sure eat a lot of eggs."

Um, yes?

Ah! That is just one of those open ended declarative sentences like "you got a haircut" that I hate!! Like, I am noticing your behavior/appearance enough to point it out but I'm not going to share any follow up constructive criticism or information, I'm just  going to call attention to whatever it is you have going on and then walk away and leave you standing there wondering what I meant by my cryptic comment.

Do I need to worry less about what other people think about me? Probably.

Do I need to eat less eggs? Perhaps. Perhaps.

This Tableau:

IMG_20130427_112647

So. Last week's stuffy headedness (real word) has only gotten worse. I woke up Saturday morning with a severe, wet, chesty cough & congested nose and the whole 9 and recognized the symptoms of a sinus infection right away. Not to brag or anything, but I've had a lot of sinus infections in my lifetime, so I know the signs when I see 'em. In the past, whenever this trauma has befallen me, I've rushed to the doctors, been prescribed an antibiotic, and been cured faster than you can say post nasal drip. So! When I woke up Saturday with clear signs of the plague a mild sinus infection, I quickly looked up a nearby walk-in clinic and hoofed it over there.

The clinic was clean and quick and efficient. I waited about ten minutes before being whisked into an exam room where a doctor looked in my ears, at my throat, listened to me breathe and told me to go buy some DayQuil.

Ughhhh. Apparently it is no longer popular within the medical community to prescribe antibiotics for sinus infections, instead they encourage patients to just ride it out. Just riiiiide it out. Just surf on a wave of phlegm until they either get well or die. Which, I guess is fine? I mean, I know that overprescription of antibiotics is an issue her in 'Murica and I'm all about the natural homeopathic stuffs but I feel like the meds have always worked for me in the past! And now they won't give me my drugs! And I feel horrible, still!

Plus, after all of that - those four minutes wherein a man condescendingly told me to go to CVS and stop being such a baby, I went to check out and was slammed with a $50 co-pay. FIFTY DOLLARS! For that! I actually made the receptionist spell it out for me, I couldn't believe him. It turns out the walk in clinic was actually an urgent care facility which I guess I knew? I mean, I knew, but I didn't know what that meant. I just thought it meant like, I urgently want to stop coughing, heal me, miracle workers. But under my medical plan, urgent care appointments, which I suppose should be saved for actual near-death ailments, run $50 a pop. 50! that's half of 100! For four minutes of medical care!!! WOOF.

I know I lean kind of hard into the messier areas of my life, because they're the funniest, but I mean, on the big things, I am actually slightly more together than I allow myself to realize. I have a job. An apartment. A fancy winter coat. But one thing I really and truly do not understand or even try to fathom, is health insurance. When I got my job six years ago, I just emailed all the options to my mom and signed up for whatever she told me to. I don't know how much I'm paying, what I'm getting, I don't know what a deductible is, I pay 50 bucks for pointless appointments and the only reason is sheer laziness. I just don't make it a point to figure out. This is ... not great. I probably should hop up on that, lest I find myself in even sticker situations than this. But I don't wanntttt to! I think that's the real issue with the American health care system. They make everything so freaking complicated that everyone's either too stupid or too lazy to figure out and then they just pay millions of dollars.

GRRRRRRRRRRR. I'm mad!

Oh well. Can't win 'em all. After my appointment, I walked home through the park and decided to sit and enjoy the sun. I ended up falling asleep face down on top of my coat, like a homeless person, and scored a wicked sunburn on the back of my neck. Sexay!

Oh, also! Duh, explain the photo. While I sat in the waiting room, I was reading this book (3 out of 5 stars) about a serial killer nurse who killed dozens, maybe hundreds, of patients over the course of a few years. NOT the best doctors' office reading, my friends. I kept looking around suspiciously, trying to determine which, of any, of the staffers in the clinic was most likely to murder me. Luckily, no one did. But still! Maybe don't read books about killer nurses while on an exam table. Just...don't.

Related...

This Neti Pot:

20130503_072057

Are you guys into Neti Pots? They're all the rage in the allergy community. I was into it for a while but stopped after a few people died from brain microbes after neti potting with contaminated water. I got back in the trend this week, in hopes it might help with this latest ailment. A trusted source informed me that if I boiled my tap water before pouring it in my face, it would be uncontaminated and non deadly. So I've been doing that for a week or so and was feeling totally calm and relaxed until last night, when Brian casually mentioned he thought you needed to boil water for at least an hour before it is clean. I'd only been boiling for like five seconds! I'd just put water in the teapot and when it whistled, I'd turn off the heat, let it cool, and neti it it up. So OF COURSE this new scientific information sent me on a wild internet anxiety spiral.

My current google search history:

Neti pot deaths

Boiled water and neti pots, how long

Decontaminating water by boiling

Desanitizing neti pots

neti pots + dead

Brain microbes, neti pots

Symptoms of brain microbes

Someone come over here and rip this computer out of my panicked hands!!

Luckily, from what I'm reading on the web, you really only need to heat your water for 3 - 5 minutes, so I should be fine. Probably. Maybe? AAAAH!

These Ensembles:

polka dots

Ok, so this is not a fashion blog and never will be, lord knows the internet has enough of those, but I did something super dorky this week and just had to share. On Monday I got dressed in a new polka dotted top and was thinking about how I had another outfit in mind for later in the week that also involved dots and decided that I'd wear polka dots every single day this week. And so I did! (It might be hard to tell in that masterpiece of a collage I made with the help of Paintshop, but trust me. ) No one noticed, except me, but I thought it was so fun. And it helped me think about different outfits instead of my usual black skinny pants + cardigan getup. Important life issues I'm dealing with over here.

I've decided I'm going to have a sartorial theme every week. It's fun! A confessed to a friend of mine and she said it was "very spirit week." Which, yeah! Some people live every day like it's shark week. I live every day like it's spirit week.

I just think the adult world would be a lot better with more pep rallies, is all I'm saying.

Aaand that was my week. How was yours?! Do tell!

xoxo Liz Ho

Another Awkward Week [4.12.13]

Happy Friday, my ducks! (Ducks? Ducks!) This week was SO good. Spring has finally sprung and I think the sunshine and warm weather and a few glasses of sauvignon blanc on a sunny patio was just what the doctor ordered to whisk away any remains of my winter doldrums.  I'm back, baby! I'm not even that bummed by today's torrential downpour because I finally get to tell my VERY BEST joke that I save up and break out once a year on the first rainy day of April.

Is everyone ready for this? Hold onto your hats, it's a good one...

April Showers Bring May Flowers, but What Do May Flowers Bring???

Answer in the comments and I'll select one correct jokester at random to win a prize! The prize is a secret and could range anywhere from me mentioning your name in a post next week OR me sending you a bust of my head made of one million Sacajawea dollars, so you probably want to just gamble on it and take a guess.

But don't rush into it, this is some pretttty sophisticated humor and might take a while to land.

Aaaand on that note, let's see what else was keeping it awkward this sunny, beauteous, Aprilicious, Springalingadingdonging week:

This Banana:

banana

I've been making a lot of smoothies lately because they are a healthy, delicious, relatively easy treat that my body seems able to digest. I kept using regular bananas as a base, but read online that frozen bananas really take smoothies to the next level, so I tossed a nanner in the freezer and it came out this horrible grey-ish brown color and ROCK SOLID. It took me at least 15 minutes, using our sharpest knife, to saw through the peel and try to salvage some of the banana meat for a smoothie that ended up tasting no better, at all, than my regular mix.

And incidentally, my smoothies have been looking a lot like what I'm trying to prevent with all this clean eating:

smoothie

But they taste really good, I swear! My fave recipe: one NON FROZEN banana, handful of frozen blueberries, handful of frozen strawberries, handful of spinach, dollop of almond butter, 1/2 cup of almond milk and some water as needed, blend away until smooth and drink up! And if you really want to get fancy you can add some chia seeds which are the trendy new superfood, according to the internet, and I am obsessed with superfoods, even if they are the base of chia pets.

One of the articles I read about chia seeds gave a warning that, good as chia seed are, people should NOT eat their chia pets. AWW. People are so dumb!

These Pants:

lotion pants

Which I laid out on my bed to put on yesterday and then promptly managed to get lotion all over the butt.

Whyyyyyyyyyyyy? I am not exaggerating when I say that I have to change my clothes at least once a week before I even leave for work, because I can not get out of the house without first covering myself in food, cosmetics, lotions or other products that usually leave vaguely sexual stains all over the clean outfit I just put on four minutes ago.

I am like a toddler. Just once I would like to make it five days in a row without requiring an outfit change, is that too much to ask??? I don't know why I'm getting so irate - who am I yelling at, besides myself, the only person to blame for all of my stained clothes? God?

Are you there, god, it's me, Liz, stop spilling stuff all over my jeggings!!

Phew, that feels better.

This Salad:

salad

Mixed greens with artichoke hearts, olives and...yum, cardboard!

My latest cleanse: only eat corrugated paper products.

OBVIOUSLY I threw the c-board away and finished the rest of the salad because a) I'm disgusting and b) that shit cost TEN DOLLARS AND EIGHTY THREE CENTS. For a bowl of vegetables. It would take like, an entire severed human arm popping up in my lunch for me to throw it away after dropping that kind of dough.

This Bookshelf:

glasses

Mine, in my boudoir  where the magic happens. I try to keep things generally tidy in my home and I am practically perfect in every way, except one, which is that I am a notorious cup hoarder. Once a week or so my roommates will go into the cupboard to grab a drinking implement and find the cabinet empty and they'll know exactly where alllllll of the cups are: in my bedroom. Every time a glass or mug goes in there, it never comes out again, until we're forced to drink out of empty jars and I finally lug my dirty half-full water glasses and mugs of tea and things back into the kitchen, usually requiring multiple trips.

I was worse in college, when I was at the peak of my laziness/messiness/liquid consumption. I reached my record one day when we counted and I had thirteen cups with varying levels of old liquid in them including like a 7-11 big gulp, a plastic margarita glass, five wine glasses, three coffee mugs and so forth. Gross? Gross!

I can't help it. It is my weakness. Now I usually just let myself get to approximately five cups or so, before bringing them back in. Usually they're scattered about the room between the bookshelf and the desk and the bedside table, but the other morning I realized that every bare surface on my bookshelf was covered with a dirty cup.  Whoopsicles!

These Ankle Boots:

booties

Aren't they cute? They're Steve Madden and were originally over $100 but I got them for $45 at Loehman's, cha-ching! It took me literally 11 tries to get a photo of them that came out halfway decently - at first  I tried them on their own but they just looked like weird disembodied Wizard of Oz witch shoes (minus the cute glitter) so then I put them on my feet and couldn't get a good angle and had to turn the flash on and it was a whole thingggg and I REALLY should not have gone to all that effort to tell you what I'm about to tell you, which I should probably tell no one but I have no filter whatsoever, so I'm doing it:

These boots make my feet smell.

Big whoop, you say? Everyone's feet smell! (Except Kate Middleton's!) Well hold your horses and let me go on (no, stop me!):

These boots make my feet smell like corn chips.

HAHA isn't that gross?? For whatever reason, every time I take these shoesies off my feetsies the insides of the shoes and my feet smell EXACTLY like a bag of Fritos and I am not even joking. It is the weirdest, grossest thing ever.

Annnnd isn't your life better now that you know this information? I think I may have just crossed the overshare line into a bad place, one I can never return from.

You're welcome!

And for bonus fun, here is a photo of me this morning, modeling my Frito Boots (future band name, I call dibs!) for a blog photo:

robe

Just GLAMOUR 24/7 up in the Liz Ho household.

And how was YOUR week?? Spill anything on your favorite pants? Rock ankle boots with a hot robe? Eat any good smoothies? As always, I'd love to hear from you.

Have a delightfully awkward weekend - get out and enjoy that spring weather! Unless you live in the snowy, icy Midwest in which case yikes, sorry guys. Hang in there!

Peace, love and corn chips,

Liz Ho

Another Awkward Week [3.29.13]

Happy Friday! The very BEST Friday, if you're down with JC. Have you missed me? I've missed YOU! I was such a Busy Betsy this week, it was unreal. You know, I could have been an actual Busy Betsy, had things been different in my life. When I was in the fourth grade (never forget), I went through this phase where every week I tested out a different version of my name, Elizabeth, on my school papers. I'd sign them Lizzie one week, Beth the next, Betsy, Ellie, even Betty until finally my teacher pulled me aside and said that, while she admired my creativity and search for identity, could I stick with just one name in the classroom, for consistency's sake. And so I stuck with Liz.

Can you imagine? I wonder how my life would have been any different if I chose something else. I feel like Liz is very suited to me - kind of spunky and that 'Z' is pretty wacky - Liz! But what if I was like, Beth. Beth Ho. HA! I can't even imagine such a person. I've always assumed all Beths to be very quiet and serene and responsible and kind, almost 100% because of Beth from Little Women (seriously never forget!). Do you think  if I had stuck with Beth in 1994 that today I would be like, a peaceful kindergarten teacher with two kids, a responsible husband, a 401K and a love for knitting?

Wellllll, I guess we'll never know! #philosophy.

Aren't you glad you're stuck with me instead?! Let's see what was keeping it awkward this week:

This Coffee Shop

If you'll recall, I first shared a photo a few weeks back about a new coffee shop in my neighborhood who apparently had named their cafe Nouvelle Vag:

vag

Now, I don't know what "Vag" might mean in foreign nations, but here in America, where we speak American, that word stands for vagina. So, was this coffee shop intending to brand itself  Cafe New Vagina?

Well I guess they caught on because this was their sign when I passed by a few nights ago:

20130326_201603

 

Reallll smooth, dudes. No one will notice that "ue" is in a different font size AND color, is clearly a sticker instead of painted on or that the word 'Brooklyn' randomly pops up in the middle of the word. Keep on keepin' on Cafe' Vague Vagina. You're doing great.

This Egg:

20130328_075839

One morning this week I was hard boiling an egg and forgot about it and managed to set off our always delicate fire alarm in the process. I didn't want to throw out a rotten egg in our apartment and had just put in a fresh trash bag the night before - I wasn't about to waste a clean empty T-bag, those things cost like 79 bucks a pop - so I decided to just carry the rotten egg in my hand and throw it out  in a trash can on the street. After I styled it for this photo, obvi. Of course the first can I found on my walk to the subway was literally at the subway, four blocks away, so I was just walkin' along for blocks and blocks, gently clutching an overcooked egg.

NORMAL.

One of These:

 

tamps

Yes, boyz, those are tampons. (I actually uploaded this photo last night for some reason and saved as a draft, so when I came back to write this AM I had a post saved that was just a photo of a box of Tampax with the caption "blah blah tampons!" I should have just hit publish right then and there.)

 So, I am blessed enough to be experiencing my special monthly magical lady time this week, which is always a real treat. I strive to be a pretty body positive feminist so I know I'm supposed to view all this intrauterine bullshit as a sign of my beautiful fertility and strength  and uniquely feminine powers but I'm sorry, no. It is disgusting and uncomfortable and just plain the WORST. Ever a master theologian, I once said that I know there is a God because of French Fries (uhh, it makes sense in my head) and the reason I know that god is a man is because of this whole menstrual fallopian vaginal scene. Do you REALLY think that if god were a woman she would have stuck her own peeps on earth with all this grotesquerie? And pregnancy and childbirth? I mean! I've never been there, and I'm sure it is a blessed and powerful and beautiful thing and I'll change my tune when the time comes but as someone looking on, that looks like a nightmare. A pure torture hell Saw IV Human Centipede nightmare. Hormonal changes and you can't drink wine and you have to carry around a gigantic human being inside of your own body and then somehow push that human out of your own Cafe Nouvelle Vag and then struggle to lose the baby weight and postpartum depression and aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh horrifying. Why would a woman god subject her kind to that sort of terror? MEANWHILE what in this whole lifetime process of periods and pregnancy and the whole 9 does a MAN have to do to procreate? Oh, right: have an orgasm. Rough stuff, dudes. That's not even close to a fair trade.

So yeah, pretty sure god is a man and maybe kiiiind of a jerk sometimes.

Um, ANYWAY, wouldn't it be neat if just one time I sat down and wrote something that didn't turn into a 750 million word tangent about my bizarre philosophies?

Tuesday of this week I had a straight up Seventeen Magazine Traumarama Moment. I had thrown a bunch of tamps in my purse as I was running out the door. Rushing down the steps into the subway station, I reached into my bag to grab my wallet and in pulling that out I also managed to fling a rogue tampon down the steps. I stooped to pick it up but just before I could a guy stepped on it. He realized he had stepped on something and that I was going to pick it up so HE too stooped, to pick it up for me, what a gentleman,and then he realized it was a tampon and we both just kind of locked eyes and I was like "oh, that's mine" (obviously) and stuck out my hand and picked up my stray period plug and he ran away.

As a grown ass lady I should have found this less embarrassing than a 14-year-old in gym class but nope: still awkward.

This Mess:

20130324_170851

So I've been working on a whole long post about my various strange food diets over the last few weeks - I know you've all been obsessively refreshing your internet browsers just dying to hear what's going on in my large intestine - but have not had the time to sit down and focus. Mostly because I've been cooking up a storm. I'm doing a two week cleanse to reset my system, which sounds hippieish and is and I like it, so sue me, wherein I do not consume soy, dairy, gluten, corn, peanuts artificial sweeteners orrrr alcohol. OK I've totally cheated on the booze thing once already but the food stuff I'm doing GREAT! I've been cooking a lot of my own food to make sure I'm always stocked with healthy snacks and meals even on the go. It's actually super fun and I feel like I'm doing great things for my body. Go me.

One day this week I decided I'd whip up a big batch of homemade hummus. I've always maintained (and, uh, still do) that hummus is just one of those foods that tastes better store bought, but making at home I could know all of the ingredients and avoid any gross chemicals and preservatives, so I got my Sabra on right in the comfort of my own kitchen, using this recipe.

First I tried chopping the garlic in my little food processor, but it wasn't getting it small enough, so I decided I'd transfer over to our large blender instead. So I unplugged the food processor, plugged in the blender, dumped all of the ingredients in there, and hit start. Unfortunately the blender blades were having a really hard time mushing up the chick peas, so I attempted to move the process along by occasionally jabbing a spatula down in there to get the unmashed garbanzos closer to the blades. It's ALWAYS a great idea to shove things willy-nilly at sharp blades. Always.

The spatula hit the blade which caused a chain reaction of things flying out of the blender, including one chick pea which burst out and literally hit me right smack dab in the middle of the forehead.

20130324_170811

Literally.

Incredibly sexy. I then had to re-transfer the hummus ingredients BACK to the original food processor where they whipped up into a so-so batch of hummus that was not near as delicious as store bought hummus and 100% not worth the 42 minutes of cooking time followed by an additional 42 minutes of dish, kitchen and face washing time.

I've also been drinking a lot of homemade green juice which has basically nothing to do with this story, aside from the fact that it's part of this whole cleanse, but it's really a trendy thing to do these days so I just wanted to show off to the world.

20130329_092314

This includes kale, romaine lettuce, spinach, parsley, green apples, ginger, celery and lemon. I am a Green Goddess.

It's OK to be jealous.

And that is THAT! My week. Well that + tons of work + work related evening appointments every single night + laundry + errands + a while lotta other stuff that has me feeling exhaustified. Luckily I took today off, holla! Brian and I are headed to Philly to visit our sisters and have Easter brunch with his parents. It should be a nice little getaway and there is a 150 billion percent chance that I will cheat on my cleanse the moment I am faced with a peanut butter egg or any sort of fermented grape product.

Happy weekend to all of you! I hope your Easter baskets are stuffed with goodies or if you are Jewish, your Passover whatevers are stuffed with lots of ...unleavened bread? Or basically everyone have a beautiful weekend with appropriate celebrations related to their own religion, culture or lack thereof.

xoxo Beth Ho

Nope. Would never work!

As I Lay Dying, or One Awkward Home Remedy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worship me, I am a healer!

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