Another Awkward Week [3.28.14]

Hey you guys! What's up? How was everyone's week. Mine was very weddingy which is now a real word, in the OED, look it up, fools. Seriously, though, this week was a veritable nuptial extravaganza. Tuesday I went bridesmaid dress shopping and  Wednesday Brian & I went suit shopping (more on both of those below!) and last night I went to a Wedding Expo which was...definitely something! It was a real thing.

Quick backstory, I'm working on this fantastic book coming out in May called Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest by Jen Dollwhich is amazing. I very rarely actually talk about my books here because I don't want the authors to get like, a google alert and read this and realize what a freak their publicist is BUT I already know that both the author (hi, Jen!) and editor (hi, Ali!) a) read this blog and b) know I'm a total freak so it's all good. Also good? The book, so you should probably just go ahead and pre-order it riiiiiight now.

Jen was invited to attend the New York Magazine Wedding Expo and thought: "who could I invite to join me who is engaged and will do anything for a story and some free wine?" The answer was crystal clear. And thus, Jen & I found ourselves in a chic event space in Chelsea at 4:45 PM on a Thursday sipping white wine and stuffing our tote bags with swag.

 

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The expo was super nice but also suuuuper overwhelming. There were tons of people all about, including one woman whose job it was to walk around in a slinky wedding gown carrying a sign advertising the designer and DJ's playing loud party music and hoardes of women roaming in packs - many of whom brought their baby strollers which, like, I don't judge the carriage before the marriage, you do you, but why did you bring your baby here? I know it's tough to get a sitter but like, is this really the establishment where you want to be carting around a toddler? Possibly no.

Like any trade show there were just booths and booths and booths of vendors and everyone had some kind of treat (macrons! mini cakes! LOBSTER ROLLS!) to lure you to stop and peruse their wares and most also had some kind of opportunity to register for a giveaway, which we did with wild abandon. I can't remember everything I signed up to win but the list included:

  • false eyelashes
  • lingerie
  • cake pops
  • skin treatment
  • a full set of bridesmaid dresses (!)
  • earrings
  • engagement photos
  • dance lessons (!!)

I have yet to receive any calls or emails so I'm assuming I won nothing but I am really holding out hope on those dance lessons.

Just kidding. NIGHTMARE.

Finally we reached that point where we were so overwhelmed with people and stimuli and people that we just sort of crashed and had to run for the door.

I also experience this emotion when visiting art museums or shopping at Forever 21.

I'm really glad we went and do think I saw some valuable stuff, but can't possibly imagine actually going to one of those as an outlet for getting wedding ideas like, right at the beginning. The sheer volume of options and images made my head spin.

Just like Brian and I will spin on the dance floor when we win those tango lessons. Come on, phone, ring, damn it, RING!

Ok, enough. This is already a novel and I've barely even scratched the surface. Let us take a look at what (else!) was keeping it awkward this week:

This Microwave:

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First of all please ignore that pile of cardboard recycling in the corner, I know we need to dispose of that!

Second of all, do take note of the smashed glass on the floor below said microwave. That is the glass tray that came with the microwave, smashed into a zillion little pieces after I knocked it out while removing my microwaveable heating pad because I am 86 years old.

Easy solution: register for a new microwave!

Except: This belongs with the apartment, WHOOPS.

So now I have to track down and purchase a very specific microwave tray lest we lose our security deposit over this.

Luckily I am already pretty skilled in purchasing wholesale kitchen appliance parts thanks to the time I broke a glass shelf in the refrigerator of my first apartment in Brooklyn by dropping a heavy container of leftover Thanksgiving food on it.

Liz Ho: destroying one rental kitchen at a time!

These Dresses:

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Front runners for the bridesmaids! I will give you a WHOLE long and detailed story about the endless search for bridesmaid dresses, made extra endless by my deep passion for over-thinking and making everything 80 billion times more complicated than necessary but for now, a tiny tale.

Kathleen and I went to Bella Bridesmaid in Midtown on Tuesday night to check out some options (it was a really nice boutique with a pretty great selection and good customer service, just FYI if this applies to you) and while we were looking through the racks with our assigned stylist, we suddenly heard the sound of crying coming from one of the dressing rooms.

And by crying I mean like weeping. Like heaving sobs. Like me watching Les Mis hysterics.

I mean...bridesmaid dress shopping is stressful but...? YIKES pull yourself together, man!

It turns out it may have actually been a staff member crying over some kind of personal life drama which makes me feel a little bad for judging but whatever the reason behind the tears, it does not erase how painfully awkward it was for the three of us to resume rifling through brightly colored chiffon, acting like nothing was amiss, to the soundtrack of violent sobbing.

AAAAH.

Also did I make a final decision on bridesmaid dresses yet? Probably! Or not. Just ... don't ask.

This Corner:

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I worked out over lunch the other day and when I came back, managed to spill my entire (full!) water bottle on my office floor, right next to a stack of book boxes. I saw the water encroaching on the box of delicate paper books and panicked, looking around the room for some sort of towel with which I might mop up the spill before it ruined our product.

I got the brilliant idea to use my gym clothes BUT I had my fancy stuff that day and they're all made out of some kind of fancy like, sweat repelling material so they weren't really absorbing the giant lake I created (thanks for nothing, Under Armor) BUT the dirty underwear I had just worn to workout were, in fact, cotton, so I mopped up the spill with a pair of underwear.

It made complete sense at the time, for some reason, but then I though about it later and remembered that in our office we have both a kitchen AND a bathroom, both of which are resplendent with paper towels, products which are designed for the sole purpose of absorbing liquids.

And instead I used my underpants.

WHAT is wrong with me? So very very VERY many things.

I must have been a clutz-o-rama that day because later that evening, I met Brian at ...

This Suit Shop:

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My groom and I went out on an expedition to find a suit for him for our wedding and a co-worker recommended this classy place in SoHo called Suit Supply. She assured us they were known for slim cut suits for slim cut fellows and at a good price point.

And she was right! Despite the semi douche vibe of their website (just...ignore those photos) the place was straight up classy and the customer service was outstanding. They helped Brian find a really REALLY good looking suit  and suggested some matching options for his groomsmen, recommended shoe stores, tie colors, etc.

Meanwhile I just followed Brian around making lascivious comments about his butt. It was weird. I felt like someone's creepy sugardaddy (except let's be real, I'm not paying for this). Like, you always hear stories about rich men taking hot women shopping and then just creepily watching them try on sexy clothes and suddenly I understand the appeal. By the time I half-jokingly but mostly seriously asked Brian to "take off his jacket and sling it over his shoulder like he was in a catalog" I realized I miiiiight be out of control.

But seriously, wedding guests, you're in for a treat with this suit. That booty is A+!

Oh, and also while I was there they offered me a glass of water and OBVIOUSLY I spilled the entire thing on the floor and almost used my scarf to mop it up before anyone saw but luckily someone stopped me before I ruined yet another piece of clothing doing what a paper towel could do so much better.

Then later, I pulled my wallet out of my pocket to put in the stylist's business card and dropped a panty liner on the floor right in front of him. Smooth.

Those were the actual points of this story, but then I got sidetracked being creepy about butts.

You know me!

Shut it down, Liz. Shut it down.

And that's that! What are you guys up to this weekend? I was supposed to go hiking but now it's going to rain all weekend (don't even get me started on you, Mother Nature!) so now we're searching for an indoor urban adventure instead. Any suggestions?

Have the funnest weekend, whatever you do, and if you enter any weird raffles, I sure hope you win!

xoxoxo Liz

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.

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

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And punny political signs:

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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:

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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:

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

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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.”

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Yeah.

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

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 "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!

Long Live The Queen

So, I don’t know if you do this but whenever I’m driving, or more accurately, whenever I am riding along in a putrid MegaBus, and it’s all smooth sailing and open lanes I am terrified to so much as think much less say outloud “oh! we’re really making good time!” because I just know that the moment the words leave my lips we’ll come around a bend to a five car pile up and be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and life will be ruined allll because of me. Perhaps I sound a tad fatalistic, but I can’t help myself. I come from a long line of neurotics with bad luck & lots of Irish Catholic guilt. All good things will surely end and when they do, it’s all our fault.

Really healthy bunch we are, mentally.

As I mentioned last week, I’ve kind of been on a roll, life-wise, and I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. Zombie bees are taking over Washington State and according to this week’s New Yorker, we’re under siege from a strain of incurable gonorrhea. Not 100% sure what’s going on there, I don’t read-read the New Yorker so much as skim the headlines so I can casually bring it up in conversation later, but you don’t have to actually read the news to know: this planet’s a sinking ship and we’re all doomed!

And yet, despite this depressing fact, good things keep happening! Well, to me anyway. Sorry if your life still sucks but boyyy, I am on fiyah!

As many of you already know, one of my recent posts was selected for Word Press’s prestigious Freshly Pressed last week, which is like being nominated for the Homecoming Court of Blogland, or so I would guess. I most certainly was never on the Homecoming Court in the real world. I’ve been extremely popular for several days now and it. has. been. AWESOME. I know I’m in a bit of a salty mood this evening but please trust that I am being genuine when I say how honored I am by the warm and positive feedback I’ve received from new and old readers alike. I am so glad you’re all here. I hope you’ll stick around and promise I’ll do my best to make it worth your while!

But first, I have to insult you just a teensy bit. You see, something happened to me last week that was even better that being Freshly Pressed. What, you ask, could be even better than spending two days fielding comments from strangers about how funny and great I am?

BEYONCE.

That’s right. Last week I spotted Her Royal Highness, Goddess of All Things, Homecoming Queen of the Universe Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter live and in the flesh. It was...she is...I...can’t. The English language does not possess the words to appropriate describe the glory that is BK. She is perfection. And then some.

Last Wednesday a few of us went to see my friend Kevin perform at UCB, a comedy theater here in Manhattan (check him out, he’s great!) and after the show, Brian and I were walking across town to catch the subway. We came to a corner at the edge of Madison Square Park that was crowded with people and blocked off with traffic barricades. On our side of the street was a group of rubberneckers and the other side was packed with media holding big cameras and those long microphones that a person less mature than myself might describe as boner shaped, all crowded around a black man in a baseball cap. We both immediately thought Jay-Z but did not want to appear racist, so kept quiet until some other gawker confirmed for us it was, indeed our boy, Young. I started to sweat.

“Do you think she’s here?? Oh GOD what if she’s here?!” I gasped, my breath quickening, my eyes attempting to see over the hordes of reporters. I was about to give up, when the crowds parted and suddenly: there she was.

Radiant. Glowing. Luminous. An angel walks among us and her name is Bay-on-say.

It was barely more than a moment before another mediahound grabbed her attention and once again blocked her from my vision but oh, that moment was enough.

I actually think the only way I survived this celeb spotting and didn’t just hyperventilate to death right there on 26th Street is because it was so quick, such a short, perfect glimpse.  There is a reason we don’t stare directly at the sun for too long, it’s mesmerizing, life-sustaining light will melt our eyeballs to puddles of goo.

And so it is with Beyonce.

So you can see why I’m a little trepidatious about my recent good fortunes. I mean, once you’ve spotted Queen B there’s really nowhere up for your life to go. So I figure there are really only ways this can play out:

My life continues upward: I will meet Jon Hamm and we’ll dine on bottomless bowls of Kraft macaroni and cheese before enjoying some blissful, mutually orgasmic intercourse and then directly afterwards, as we bask in the afterglow of our lovemaking, executives from NBC will call me to announce that they’re creating a sitcom based on my life and I don’t have to do any work or anything, just move to a mansion in the Hollywood Hills which they’ve purchased for me and eat and drink wine and regale them with my stories, so they have something to base their scripts on.

Orrr, I plummet downward: I will be immediately struck down by some sort of gruesome bee-related venereal disease and die.

Or I suppose there is always a door three: My life will go on, day by day, peppered with ups and downs, pleasant highs and stormy lows and the world will turn and the grass will grow and cetera but ugh, how boring does that sound?

 

So, let's all just cross our fingers things go the more Jon Hammy, cheesy route. And in the meantime, let's watch the Queen at WERK:

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