Wedding Wednesday: One Day More!

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 The sense of calm that had hung over the previous days had been replaced by low level buzz of anxious anticipation.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imagine that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DUN DUN DUNNNN.

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

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

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

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

Ho. Ly. Crap.

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

LET THE PARTY BEGIN!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Best man Vai & groomsman Adam

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Adam, Sandy, Kathleen & Vai 

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Almost married!! 

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

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

BICYCLES!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GORGEOUS! 

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

PS: I love my friends. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was too far out, maaan!

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

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

One Awkward Wedding: One Month to Go!

Our wedding is in ONE MONTH! Un mes! Un mois! Xahar! Though that last one sounds like Dothraki, it’s actually Maltese. Which is apparently a real language! Who knew! Mhux lili, that’s for dang sure! Mhux lili! (That means “not me”in Maltese...obvi!) Whatever language you say it in, one month from today I’ll be hitchin’ my star to the Brian wagon. And I can’t wait!

One thing that has sort of surprised me about this whole wedding planning process is how utterly goopy it’s made me. I’ve gone all soft and romantical. It’s hard to put into words, but over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed myself being sort of hyper aware of my, well, love for Brian. Vomtastic, I know, but I can not be stopped. I get giddy just thinking about him and can’t look at his face without wanting to smooch it. I find everything he does utterly endearing. The other weekend we spent basically 48 straight hours together, just the two of us, no pals or distractions and very little entertainment, save HBOGo, and on Sunday night I looked back with glee thinking how much fun we had together and how much fun we always have together and how profoundly happy that makes me.

Which is probably for the best because I think that’s kind of the point of this whole rigmarole, no? Well, that and the presents, of course.

I kid, I kid!

I was emailing this week with a sweet friend of mine who is a newlywed herself. She and her brand new husband were faced with some scary challenges just moments into their marriage. They’d been home from their honeymoon a week when her husband had some scary, unexpected health problems. He’s mended spectacularly and back up to fighting speed now but their scare brought into stark reminder that the wedding party will end, but what comes after is the real deal.

And even after all they’ve already been through, she gushingly told me “being married is awesome.”

AWESOME!

In an entirely uncharacteristic instance of making someone else’s traumas all about me (hah!), I’ve been thinking a lot about their experience as we lead up to our wedding - and thus, our marriage. Sickness, health, richer, poorer, happier, sadder, in times of trouble and anger and family drama and work crisis and children and bad hair days and stomach bugs that produce results you’d never want another person to be privy to - these are the things that you’re signing up for, what remains after the champagne has been drunk dry, the flowers have wilted and the dress is packed away. It’s important not to lose sight of that. To go through all that, and more, and still wake up every day - or at least most of the days - thinking “THIS IS AWESOME,” that is my hope for our marriage.

And I know that might not always be possible. There may be days or even weeks or months where we’re struggling  and having a hard time waking up feeling awesome and that's OK. But I still can't seem to help myself from melting into a complete and total mushball at the very thought of spending my life, the good, the bad and the hideous, with Brian.

He is the best!

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If sitcoms are anything like real life, it’s only a matter of moments until we’re grouchy and cynical, bickering over the TV remote and the trash can, having sex once a year. I want to remember what it felt like to be totally gushy and mushy and gloopy and romantical, so below are a few points on my main man to look back upon if I've ever begun to question why I've decided to lock it down forever with this particular person.

I hope you brought your own barf bag today, folks! It's about to get realllll nauseating up in here.

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First of all, he is dead sexy. Let me just state the obvious right up front: the man is a Grade A dreamboat and I derive great pleasure from gazing upon his face (and butt!) every day. Those baby blues? The grin? Mmm-mmm-mmm!

(That’s me trying to type out onomatopoeia for sexy / delicious. Nailed it?)

And he makes me laugh and laugh and LAUGH. Brian is so funny. Not in a “HEY EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME!” way, which is great because those people are obnoxious (trust me, I’m one of them) but he is sly and quick and clever and always knows just what to say or do to crack me up.

We love to eavesdrop on people on the street when we’re walking around and make snarky comments about what they’re talking about. It’s so mean but so fun.

He loves to gossip. He’s almost (almost!) as bad as me.

He is so good at his job. He loves math. Like loves it. Remember that teacher in high school who was like “algebraic equations are fun! This geometric formula is SO interesting” and you were like “UM no this is the worst”? Well that guy is Mr. Scott. And now he’s marrying a woman who barely eked her way out of pre-calculus with C’s.

I am still firmly in the “math sux” corner but he’s certainly doing his best to convince me otherwise!

He’s frugal and brilliant with budgets. And hilariously into low-cost alternatives for expensive things. Like, instead of buying new weights, he filled up an old duffel bag with text books and lifts that for strength training. Weirdo!  He wanted to fill the bag with sand but some killjoy didn’t want sand in her house.

He is playful and fun and adventurous. Why lay on the beach when you can toss a frisbee! Why paddle gently in the lake when you can instigate a six-hour jumping competition? Why eat at the same restaurant when you can try a new one or hang out in the same neighborhood when there are dozens of new places in our city to explore.

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He encourages everything I do, whether big or small, weird or serious. He listens to me complain about work, has been a shoulder to lean on during some difficult family times and always motivates me to do bigger and better things.  When I wrote my piece for Vogue, he was refreshing the internet hourly to see if it had posted yet. He trained with me for my half marathon, pushed me to go faster and better and woke up at the crack of dawn in the pouring rain to cheer me on from the sidelines.

He has this funny way of kind of flopping onto the couch when he’s getting comfy at home - legs akimbo, arms crossed on his chest, pillows propped just so that kills me every time. I can’t help myself from jumping on top of him to snuggle up.

He loves to snuggle. He might find that embarrassing that I just told the whole world, it seems a common misconception that men don’t like to cuddle but this guy can snoogle with the best of them.

I love it!

He cares for my family and for his family and for our family that we’re starting together. He has deep, enduring friendships from childhood. He knows the value of close friendships for both of us and works to nurture his and encourages me to do the same.

He is deeply, passionately curious. He’s always reading the news, listening to the radio, trying to learn everything he can about everything. Everything! I’m serious. Just say a word and I swear to G, he’ll start googling it within the second.

He gets extra curious after he’s been drinking, which is equal parts hilarious and (sweetly) annoying, Some people drink and get angry. Some get hungry. Some get sleepy. This guy just gets more inquisitive. Which is adorable unless you’re one of the sleepy ones, sitting next to him in a cab home from a long night as he rattles off his latest curiosities: “I wish I knew more about Ralph Waldo Emerson” or “what do you know about Kyrzkystan?” or “here are 17 fun facts about race relations in South America.”

What?! Stop reading Wikipedia and let me sleep!

But then, by the light of day, I always think it’s cute again. My clever guy!

I will always remember the first time we tentatively tiptoed into a serious future together, talking about raising eventual children...our children. We were eating at this Italian hole-in-the-wall on the Upper West Side after ice skating in Central Park and it was already the cutest date night. Brian told me that the number one thing he would want to pass on to his our children was a spirit of curiosity. And my uterus just exploded. Straight up, like a firework. Not only have I landed a man who is curious himself, but he recognizes it as an important value to pass to future generations?! JACKPOT! I had this vision of Brian and a little tow-headed kid playing with a telescope – I don’t know why it was a telescope, that just seemed like a natural toy for an inquisitive child and their nerd dad – and it was all I could do not to just fling myself across the table and beg me to impregnate me right then and there, atop the ravioli.

Just thinking about it right now, you guys! My ovaries are leaping around in my torso.

He'll make cute babies, too, based on this photo of him as a five year old that I carry around in my wallet like a complete psycho creep.

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LOOK AT THAT FACE!

Also we're talking like, many a year here for these hypothetical nerd children so don't get too excited. The world does not need another mom blog!

Brian loves Asian food, NPR, Larry David, Buzzfeed lists, America’s-Home-Video-style clips of people getting knocked over or otherwise accidentally injured, IPAs, sleeping in, running, The New Yorker, burritos and, best of all, ME!

He lets me know he cares for me and appreciates me in infinite ways every day, through touches, words and thoughtful gestures.

Brian often gets home from work earlier than I do and every night I bustle in the front door, yelling one of the million strange pet names I have for him (buddy, buns, beans, honeybunch, honeybuns, hot pants, cutels, cute magoot, etc) and he comes and meets me in the hall as I’m hanging up my coat and keys and gives me a big fat smooch and I can see it in his face that he’s genuinely excited to see me and to have me home.

It is my favorite part of every single day.

I hope I always remember these things about my BriGuy. And I am excited to learn more lovable things about him over the years ahead.

I can't wait for a lifetime of homecomings and adventures. Of burritos and This American Life and strange homemade contraptions and late night rambles and snuggles and bike rides and pinching that hot booty every chance I can get. I know it won't always be easy. I know we'll face some tough times. But I also know, more than I've ever known anything, especially math, of course, because I barely know any math, that we'll get through it together.

And there is not a single person I would want to go through life with than this studmuffin.

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warned you I'd gone soft! I'm just a grinning fool over here, counting down the days until our wedding and our marriage.

ONE MONTH! BIR AY!* IB LUB HLIS!** O LUNA!***

* Turkish

** Hmong, DUH

*** Romanian. Seriously do you guys not know any foreign languages like, at all?! Get with the program!


 

One Awkward Wedding: Liz Finally Loses Her Mind!

Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of my wedding planning. Did that make sense to you? No? Me either.

There is no time for sensemaking. NO TIME!!

Our wedding is in 39 days and counting and so much is happening. It’s starting to feel really real in a way that is at once exciting and a tad overwhelming.

And by a tad, I clearly mean a ton. A metric ton! Unless that’s less than a regular ton...I’ve never been one for math and science.

Someone recently commended me on my zen attitude towards wedding planning and I do (honestly!) think I have kept things pretty mellow which is kind of surprising, considering what  a stress monster I usually am. But I’m noticing that as the days slip by faster and faster even I, Zen Bride Extraordinaire, am beginning to lose my cool.

Last night I dreamt that we were in a chapel and they were performing back to back to back weddings and then, suddenly, it was our turn! But, wait! We weren’t ready! Some of the bridesmaids had their hair done. I did not. One bridesmaid had to leave to “go to another thing” and Brian’s parents were missing. I had spaghetti sauce on my wedding dress. There was no music.

Our #Hottwedding was a #Hottmess.

Now I know about as much about dream psychology as I do about metric tonnage (aka nothing) but if I were forced to dig deep and try to decode, I’d go right ahead and say it seems I’m just a pinch worried about getting everything done and not being ready.

For the wedding, at least. I’m totally ready to legally lock it down with Brian. I am going to marry the HELL out of that guy and I can’t wait. It’s going to be awesome! But the wedding is another story. Try as I might to avoid the pressure to make my One Special Day be perfect through and through, I’m turning into a little bit of a crazyperson!

Would anyone like to hear a very insane and long-winded example? No?

TOO BAD, BITCHES. KEEP READING.

Woo, forgive me. Got a little carried away there! But seriously sit back and allow me to regale you with a tale of madness, mayhem and paper products!

LIZ HO VS EMILY POST: ENVELOPES OF DOOM: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO

So! Like I said, must to the surprise of all parties involved, I’ve been pretty cool & calm on all fronts including getting along with mi madre which, if Say Yes to the Dress says anything about real life, is basically a miracle. At this point in the game we should have had about 15 knock-down-drag-out fights renouncing one another as family, her threatening not to come, me screaming back “GOOD, YOU’RE DISINVITED!", both of us in hysterics, but so far, we’ve managed to avoid major arguments.

Weeeeellll except that little tiny one over the invitations.

Not the actual invitations, mind you. Those I’m pleased as punch over. My pal Jamie who is a stellar graphic designer (and available for hire!) (SRSLY email me if you’re looking!) designed our “invitation suite,” as I would call it, if I were the sort of person who used fancy terms like that. They are everything I could have wanted: classy, simple, whimsical, gorgeous.

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AMAZING, RIGHT???!!!!

Oh, and, did I mention cheap? They were so cheap!

Everyone has their priorities in weddings, as in life, on what they think is worth a lot of money and for me, paper products was at the bottom of the list. I like looking at pretty paper and I respect your right to blow the bank on whatever the H you feel like but, the way I see it, that embossed, lined, monogrammed envelope stuffed with 12 different letterpressed cards all tied up in a satin bow and hand addressed by a professional calligrapher are going one place and one place only: the garbage can.

Rough stuff but it is true. I barely remember what most of my friends wedding invites looked like (or birthday invites or baby showers or anything) except in the cases where they were really fancy pants and then I only remember how guilty and horrible I felt when I inevitably chucked them because as much as I love my friends (SO MUCH!) and value their right to fancy invitations, ain’t nobody got space for all that fancy paper.

And YES I know every single aspect of wedding planning is a waste of time and money, duh, but we all pick and choose how to waste our time and money and for  me, this was just not it. Friends and countrymen, feel free to toss these in the garbage can guilt free!

That said, I didn't want the invites to look like actual garbage. Luckily for me, two of my best friends, Jamie and the World Wide Web teamed up to create magic and bring us something that is hella fabulous for UNDER BUDGET. Boomshackalacka. In case you are curious, which you are surely not, but I’ve already started telling this story there’s NO STOPPING ME NOW, we used a Gilt Group coupon for the website Wedding Paper Divas to print our invites, hand designed as a generous gift by Jamie. I would probably never have used this website were it not for the coupon - I cringe at the word “diva,” as it is usually used in a derogatory manner towards women considered to be “difficult,” in a way that is very rarely flipped back on men (am I right, Nicki, or am I right?) BUT sometimes my frugality gets in the way of my morality (I know, I'm the worst) so I couldn't say no to this coupon. And I’m super glad I didn’t. Silly name aside, WPD was beyond professional. They send complimentary samples of their stationery, their customer service was quick and helpful and the quality was A+++.

And our designer was A+++, too! Y'all should hire her. The best way to get a good deal  is to become her friend, because then you get free graphic design and you get to hang out with her and she’s the bomb.com, so it’s kind of like you’re getting paid in the end, really, but if you can’t find a way to worm your way into her life/heart, you could certainly email me for an intro and I bet she’d offer you a fair deal. Just sayinnnn’!

Ok so now we have learned that a) I didn't care much for invites to begin with and b) loved the ones we ended up with so why did c) they lead to the d) most intense melt down of Liz Ho’s Wedding Planning Extravaganza Extraordinaire?

‘Twas not what was inside the envelopes (plain white, came free with the order!) that upset me, you see, ‘twas what was written outside of them.

As I’m sure you can surmise, I was not about to pay for someone to calligraphy (caligraph? is there a verb for this word?) these bad boys, I would have been happy printing them out on a laserjet printer like an uncouth monster but we did still want them to look nice, so my dearest Schmoopster offered to hand-write all 101 addresses. She was very cute about it, sending us samples with different pens and practicing a little bit each night and all was right with the world until we experienced what I am now calling a minor communication breakdown. Others might call it a major meltdown. I'll let you be the judge.

My one and only request with these invitations what that none sent to married couples be addressed in the so-called “traditional” manner, to Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirstname Lastname because that makes my skin crawl. Like, what is that even about? It’s not enough for a woman to take a man’s last name? AND change from a Ms. to a Mrs. when he gets to keep Mr. all along? She also don’t even get her own first name anymore?

I know this is the “proper” way and how Emily Post would do it but I think it’s sexist and stupid, Emily. That bitch is like, 700 years old and not even invited to our wedding so who even cares what she thinks.

Apparently a whole lot of people!

Somewhere in this whole process this point was not made clear and it came to my attention after about ⅓ of the invitations were already addressed that they were, in fact, going out in this traditional manner. My mom and I had a huffy, mildly dramatic phone conversation but managed to end on a civil note, with me agreeing that the already written invites could go out as-is, and Schmoops agreeing that any going forward would at least mention the woman’s name on their somewhere, Emily Post be damned, and we hung up, end of story.

J to the K. One of us, I won’t mention any names (women don’t get names, remember?!) (calm down, Liz) could not … ok...would not… let it go. This person was me, obviously. I hung up and stormed around the apartment, fuming, getting more and more upset.I am a feminist! And now I’m sending these misogynistic envelopes all over America! HOW WOULD THAT LOOK?! What would people think?! Just as paper crushes rock, so will these paper envelopes crush my sterling, powerful reputation! This could not go on!

So I took the mature route, called my mom back and oh, the doody hit the fan. I started weeping - and I don’t mean like, gently crying or sniffling, I mean like, tears down my cheeks, hyperventilating, weeping -- about feminism and individuality and last names and choice and envelopes and women and identities and demanded that my mom re-do all of the invitations,even the ones she had already written.  I could NOT have my return address associated with a Mr. and Mrs. HisFirstname situation. At one point I actually shrieked “THIS IS MY BRIDEZILLA MOMENT! I AM THROWING DOWN MY BRIDEZILLA CARD AND YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO ME!”

Oy yoy yoy.

(Spoiler alert: I did start my period the next day so I blame my hysteria on the hormones. But I stand by the subject of my hysteria!)

My mom fired back that it was a silly thing to waste my bridezilla card on, some people like to be addressed in such a manner, that she likes cares about adhering to certain types of tradition, she is helping to fund this wedding so her reputation is on the line too and maaaayyybe, just maybe, I should think about other people’s values as much as I think about my own.

Game, set, match: Bernie.

Loathe as I am to admit it. And oh, I am so loathe. She's totally right, guys.

And lo, we managed to reach a conclusion. All envelopes already written would remain “proper” as well as those to anyone who might like to be addressed in such a manner, because some people do like tradition and that is ok (it is!), but all others would be a little more progressive.

My sweet  mom, trying so hard to prevent another meltdown took it to the furthest level, addressing married women as Ms. instead of Mrs. or in some cases, completely omitting gendered pronouns at all.

I loved it!

Of course, after all this, I will bet you all a haypenny and a half that not one single solitary person even noticed how they were addressed. And if they did and they were offended, oh well. Please trust that we were just two ladies doing the best we could under the pressures of tradition, the patriarchy, the Wedding Industrial Complex and the most stressful situation in all the land: mothers and daughters planning a wedding together.

We tried! We really, really tried.

I still maintain it was a worthy cause for throwing down my Bridezilla Card. Flowers, playlists, party favors - these things are silly details about one day which will eventually fade into memories in a photo album and therefore not worth truly stressing over. But my anxieties re: the traditional manner of addressing couples reflect something actually life-altering. I have gradually come around to the idea of possibly (probably) (ok, more than likely) taking Brian’s last name, a saga I’ll delve into another time, but I still can’t shake the fear that marriage means sacrificing my personal feminine identity. Elizabeth Scott is one thing. Ms. Scott? I’m still on board. Mrs. Scott, less so. Mrs. Brian Scott?

No way, Jose.

And by Jose, I could mean Jose OR his wife because married ladies don’t get their own first names!

Enough, Liz. ENOUGH!

Like my pal Elsa, I’m letting it go. I understand that women have different ideas of what feels right for them and it is important to honor their decisions and that you can still be married and be a badass individual feminist lady, and names are just names and all that other good stuff and perhaps I need not take everything so seriously all the damn time. And maybe stop reading Jezebel. But I still reserve my right to throw occasional temper tantrums on my road to self enlightenment.

I’ll be sure to send you my mailing address when I get there. Just don’t send any correspondence to Mrs. Brian Scott ;).

And that, my friends, is my tale. What a mess, right? I'm a nutjob.

But other than this, and the dreams, and the nail biting, and the various Google rabbit holes I keep falling into, I'm doing pretty a-ok. I might just survive the next 39 days with my sanity (and relationships!) in tact.

Wish me luck! JK wish my mom luck. And Brian. That poor guy is stuck with this nutjob for LIFE.

Sucks to be himmmm!

The end.

Liz

PS: I am very sorry, I realize this whole post this is probably insanely rude and awkward to talk about/show off wedding invitations because not everyone who reads this is invited.  Believe me, I would have liked to invite the whole wide world but that’s just not a possibility...a post for another time. I’m still too busy barfing with guilt over guest list cuts to discuss it.

One Awkward Wedding: Lemme, Lemme Update You

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Hot damn we're good looking.

Ok stop reading literally right now if you don't care about wedding nonsense.

Otherwise, buckle up because I have SO MUCH to tell you!

 It is official:  On August 16, 2014 I will become Ms. Has Yet To Decide If She's Changing Her Last Name (more on that later) aka a married lady! Whoop whoop! And we're planning to pull a full Kardashian and sell rights to our photos to the highest bidder so start making your offers now.

Yay! I'm making weird, dumb jokes, because you know I can't handle genuine emotional conversations, so I'll just go ahead and get it out right here at the top: I'm so excited! In 247 days (but who's counting?), I'm getting hitched! To Brian! My favorite guy. He makes me so happy every single day and I honestly can't contain myself from grinning ear to ear like a damn fool at even the slightest thought of calling him my husband. Squee!

Ok, we're done with that.

So. As is customary in all engagements, the moment that Brian popped the question, the world began to pop the other question which was: when? And also the other, other question, which was: where? And thankfully, no one has yet asked the other, other, other question of "why?" so I think pretty much everyone's on board with our impending union.

Phew.

We quickly stepped to planning because we knew a long engagement just wasn't for us. I know it works for some people, but it's just not our style. Because Brian is a teacher,  he has less flexibility in taking time off from work so we pretty immediately zoned in on August 2014 (between his summer teaching gig and the start of the regular school year) or March 2015, during his long Spring break. I was fine with either but ol' Briguy said he didn't want to wait all the way until 2015 to lock this down.

(One more quick interlude to mention how much I like this dude.)

And thus, we had our sights pretty well set on August 2014.

And the rest, they say, is history!

Just kidding, the rest, they say, is many weeks of researching,venue visiting, budgeting, list making and extreme emotional roller coastering.

I know it is gauche to talk about money but it's also gauche to talk about poop and I've never let that stop me, so a quick note on el dinero. I'll go into budgeting in detail another time (who's excited?!) (no one!) but will say here, just in case anyone didn't realize, weddings are motherflipping expensive. Like, SO EXPENSIVE. I always knew they were pretty pricey but now that I'm actually looking into planning one in great detail do I realize the incredible cost that goes into pulling off a wedding.

And I do understand (deeply) that none of these costs are necessary, but we've decided that it is important to us to celebrate our wedding in the so called "traditional" manner and therefore will incur the costs associated with such an event. Just to give you a sense of what we're working with here I've dubbed the term "Regular Classy" which is to say a mid-sized gathering of friends and family for a non denominational ceremony followed by a meal (with adult beverages) and boogieing down in a festively decorated room. She wears white, he wears a suit, toasts are given, tears are shed, badda bing, badda boom: married.

Despite the many hours I've spent reading wedding blogs and attending actual weddings, I honestly didn't have much of a concept of what it cost to pull this sort of spectacle off and let me just tell you, the results are staggering. Hence the emotional rollercoastering. Every time we find something we like we get super excited (UP!!) and then we see the price tag (DOWN!!) and then we become despondent (WAY DOWN!) and decide we're calling the whole thing off and getting married in city hall (SO FAR DOWN!!) and then we have a heart-to-heart and decide no! We love each other! We want to throw a bomb-ass wedding, we'll figure out the money and make it work! And then we're UP UP UP again, repeat, repeat, repeat.

And we're not talking like, releasing humanely raised turtledoves off a yacht in the south of France while Bruno Mars croons live in the background, oh no. Just REGULAR CLASSY in the middle of Pennsylvania and still we're looking at thousands (yes, like 3 zeros) more greenbacks that I ever dreamed of spending.

Blergh!

So gauche as it may be, I can honestly say that money was a very large factor for us when picking where to do this thing. We toyed with the idea of marrying here in our beloved Brooklyn (Go Nets!) but quickly learned that pulling off a wedding in the New York Regional Area is pretty much impossible if you are on our budget range. One venue I reached out to charges $19,000 just to reserve the space. That does not include chairs, tables, decorations, music, food, liquor or doves of ANY kind. The coordinator did say it might include cocktail tables which, for that kind of moolah, better be made out of solid gold or like, human bones.

NINETEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! For a room! I will never get over that fact for as long as I shall live. And that's probably not even that expensive in the grand scheme of things! What is this world we live in, you guys? What is this world.

(And HERE is where I put the note that if you personally spent that kind of money on your own wedding totally good for you, do your thang. Also: how are you so rich and can I get in on that? Let me make a blanket statement that henceforth, every snarky thing I say about weddings or the WIC is but crazy broke judgmental lady's opinion, don't let me stop you from getting your nuptial onnn in however you see fit.)

And thus, we zeroed our sights on my ancestral homeland of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Armed with a date range and the knowledge that we needed to find a venue that fell somewhere within the tricky Venn Diagram of LOW COST and REGULAR CLASSY, we prepared a list of targets, set up appointments and made the arduous journey back to Good Old Pee-Aye.

And that, my friends, is where I will stop my story today. Return tomorrow to get the skinny on exactly what went diggity down on said wedding venue hunt, because this is already basically an epic novel and I'm just vain enough to think that my wedding planning journeys warrant a cliffhanger.

Until then!

Liz Ho

One AWESOME Announcement

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

Brian and I are engaged!

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

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

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

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

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

HOORAY!

Another Awkward Week [10.4.13]

Hello, pumpkins. It's October! It's also 85 degrees in New York City right now.  Ridiculous! Is there anything more exciting than talking about the weather?!  No siree. Except maybe this announcement: I have completed the first of my 30 Before 30 challenges, holla! As of this morning, I am only in debt on one credit card! And also in student loans. And most certainly to my mother. But still: baby steps.

I started my foray into credit card debt  while studying abroad my junior year. I know I'm amazingly irresponsible but I still maintain that travel is a worthy cause of debt. Live a little! See the world! I would, however, recommend putting the card away when you return and not breaking it out at the first pair of riding boots that catch your eye. The "I swear I'll pay it off the second the bill comes" trap is far to easy to fall into, trust me, I'm an expert. I would also recommend not opening a second credit card - especially if it is a specialty store credit card - for me, The Gap - no matter how much of a discount they offer you just for opening. Sure you saved 40% on that chambray tunic but suddenly it's three years later and thanks to copious 'members only sales' and promises of points and bonuses for non-clothing purchases you're a thousand bucks in the hole with little more than some flimsy cardigans to show for it.

I'd also recommend not moving to New York City or working in publishing but far wiser people than I have done it quite successfully with little to no financial hardship so maybe just don't listen to me at all when I'm dishing out money advice and/or life?

Long story extra long: I dipped into my savings account (which up until last January was at a standard balance of like $32, but that's another story for another day) to pay off my Gap credit card. It was scary to write such a huge check, from money I'd worked so hard to save, but it feels like the right move. The interest rates were staggeringly high, and every minimum payment I made felt like a sad drop in the bucket. I still have a long way to go on my other debts but I feel like I'm headed in the right direction. I am pretty flim-flamming proud of myself, I'm not gonna lie about it.

Whoop! One (major!) challenge down, 29 to go...

Is this what responsibility feels like? It's refreshing! And terrifying. Mostly terrifying. Someone give me back my credit card. I see some pants I need...

No! Let me distract myself with story telling! Why don't we take a look at what was keeping it awkward this week:

This Feast:

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Did everyone watch the Breaking Bad finale on Sunday?! OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! No spoilers but I will tell you this much: my friend Kamran and I pulled out all the stops on our epic finale party. Or wait, the opposite. Across the interwebs we saw blue cocktails with home made rock candy and Heisenburgers...my own brother even made a blue cake decorated with blue "meth" sugar candy (well, it was more green than blue, such a Todd that guy!).

Kam and I managed to put down some blue (meth!) berry ice cream, three dozen "Pollos Hermanos" wings, a few slices of pizza and half a bottle each of scotch and Pinot Grigio.

Classy and festive. Or lazy and gluttonous. Little of both?

And if you don't know what any of these things mean, WELL, it sounds like you've been wasting your time doing dumb stuff instead of catching up on Breaking Bad so, sorry I'm not sorry. Get your life together, man.

These Gifts:

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Let's see...the largest of the bunch is a housewarming gift for my friend and her husband who bought their home in oh, May. The smaller in gold and silver is a wedding gift for my cousin who was married on the 5th of July... the colorful package below that one is another wedding gift for my friend Maureen, who was married on the 6th of July, wrapped in birthday paper because I ran out of the fancy wedding stuff. 4 months late and inappropriately wrapped. Regular old Emily Post right over here.  (Also, both gifts are the same, involving the couple's initials and wedding dates. Both couples are M+M and married within one day of the other so the probability that I mixed them up is about 80 to 1. Just cross your fingers this all worked out.)

The stack of birthday wrapped packages are gifts for my godson and his twin brother on their 3rd birthday, which was just Wednesday so I'm only like 3 days late on that one.

I actually bought all of these on time, but let them linger in my office for months because I'm just the laziest. Or, OR, hear me out guys: it's strategic and thoughtful. I understand that there must be a sense of sadness after a wedding ends or several months post-birthday or house closing - all of your planning and saving and celebrating has come to a close and you go back to your sad, dumb, boring life with no presents, or parties or cake. UNTIL! Six months later, suddenly, you open your mailbox and, what's this?!?! A gift?! For me?! The celebration lives on! Once again your bask in the glow of your newly wedded/habitated/born bliss and feel special and loved again.

THAT is why I'm always late. It's not that I can't get it together...it's alllll  a part of my master plan.

You're welcome, everyone.

Wondering what's in those packages? Not telling...except this one peek.

These Books:

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Best book EVAH! Got one for my godson....annnnd a copy for me. I haven't read it in years! What a classic.

My godson Michael is one of a set of twins - they each have separate godparents. It doesn't feel right to get just Michael a birthday gift, but I felt like I needed to do something special for the guy, since I am his spiritual mentor and all. I realize that I'm not exactly a pillar of Christian morality (whoops) but do think I could teach the kid a thing or two about something that I believe is truly valuable: lit-rah-chaaa. Every year for his birthday I'll help to build his library, supplying him with my favorite books I read as a young person. Last year I got him The Phantom Tollbooth and this year, the Mixed Up Files. He just turned three, so he likely won't be diving into these for a few years, but when he's ready I want him to be prepared with a fully stocked, totally badass library.

I'll make this kid a bookworm if it's the last thing I do!

I guess that's not really awkward, unless you count me reading books for 3rd graders on the subway. I just wanted to show off that, though I send them way late, I DO give solid presents.

Now, time to overshare. You ready for this?

I don't know if you are.

This Toilet:

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Some BOLD color choices up in this apartment.

Last week when I wrote about my multiple public restroom disasters, my friend commented thanking me for keeping the toilet humor classy and I was so honored. I don't want to reach too high for the stars, but that's kind of my goal. To be the classiest inappropriate person on earth. Can it be done? Well, this next story might push the limits but I think it's important to share.

So. Wednesday evening I was going to a friend's house in the neighborhood for a ladies' grilled cheese evening and stopped off at my apartment between work and her place to drop off my things and rinse off, as I'd gone for a run near my office and was smelling like a real peach.

The house I grew up in was pretty old, with a plumbing system to match - flushing a toilet anywhere in the house would set the hot water totally haywire, so you had to be really careful before taking a shower. Any flush action within like, 20 minutes pre-shower could have you shivering in ice water the whole time. Consequently, I never, ever flush if I you knowww before hopping in the shower, even if it's a number twosie, which is totally never is because girls don't poop. Except when they do, which is sometimes before they get in the shower. Or so I've heard.

I just close the toilet lid, scrub up and flush when I get out.

WELL. Wednesday evening I was rushing around to get to Abbe's house, my brain a million places at once. Brian was working late, so I came and went before he made it home. I was halfway to Abbe's house when I got that horrible, sinking anxiety feeling in the pit of my stomach that I'd forgotten something. You know how you can convince yourself that you didn't unplug the iron or turn off the stove? Well I was suddenly just horribly, devastatingly positive that I'd forgotten to flush the toilet, leaving a delightful surprise waiting for poor Brian.

Now, we're pretty open (some might say too open) (some would probably be correct) with discussing our bodily functions, but there are some lines that can't be crossed, you know? Not yet, anyway. We've lived together for TWO MONTHS, we gotta save something for the future! If we start seeing each other's doo-doo two months in, what's left at two years? Twenty-two? I literally can not imagine...nor do I want to.

I contemplated turning back around but it was too far for just a hunch and plus: what if Brian beat me there? So I did what any weirdo would do and texted him:

"Listen. If you get home ant he toilet seat is down...flush it before opening. Don't ask any questions."

Charming.

Guys: this is real life. No one prepares you for this stuff! When you make the decision to move in with a romantic partner, whether it's pre-marital or post, no one clues you in to the actual HARD TRUTHS of cohabitation. Sure you hear all about splitting finances and chores and making sure you get alone time but NO ONE prepares you for the very real and probably inevitable possibility of seeing the other person's poop.

Well, now you've been warned. Tread lightly. Double check that you've flushed.

Luckily it turns out that I had, in fact, remembered, so this whole situation was just an act of unnecessary oversharing, anxiety and weirdness (my three best qualities) but I still think it the creep-o text was better than the alternative. And Brian still seems to be attracted to me (what a freak!) so I think we're in the clear.

FOR NOW.

You can count on me to always report the most vital of information from the front lines of living in sin...whether anyone actually wants to hear it or not.

Annnnnddddd I think that's as good a point as any to shut this mother DOWN. It's Friday y'all. We made it. What's everyone up to this weekend?

I trust you'll keep it an appropriate mix of classy and shameful, whatever you do.

xoxo Liz Ho

A Cohabitation Proclamation

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

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

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

A prospect both terrifying and exhilarating. Mostly exhilarating.

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

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

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

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

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

Indeed!

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

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

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

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

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

Barf times one million and two.

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

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

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

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

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

Love Awkwardly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

I = one letter LOVE = four YOU = three

143.

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

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

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

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Happy Valentines Day, Haters!