A Rant, A List, A Brand New Week

Hey everybody! How was your weekend?! Mine, although lovely, was not exactly what I had planned. Remember the Pittsburgh wedding I was oh-so-excited to attend? Well, that didn’t happen. I mean…it happened, they are now happily married, yay, but I was not there so, you know. Trees falling in forests and all that. Just kidding! I know that life goes on even when I am not there, I’m not thaaaat vain. (Or am I?!!)

Friday was a drab and rainy day all up and down the east coast, but it was by no means Hurricane Sandy Reincarnate so I was mildly frustrated but not super surprised when I received an email Friday afternoon telling me that my 8 PM flight had been pushed to 9:30. I then received a voice mail informing me it had been pushed back yet again, this time to 10:30, but don’t you worry, we’re still doing everything we can to get back on schedule! In one bit of actual levity for the evening, the voice mail was one of those automated services and I guess they had some confusion over the way my name was written on my ID. The message combined my first name (Elizabeth) and middle initial (M), announcing “Hello. This is a message for Alizabatham HoHENadell.” HA!

I remained calm and unflustered, used the newfound free time to take public transportation to the airport instead of blowing $50 on a taxi, went through security, found my gate, bought a $400 Cesar salad, found a plug to charge my cell phone, which was at a precarious 8% battery life, and cracked open my book, when the phone rang once again.

“Hello Alizabatham HoHENadell, your flight is cancelled.”

WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. WHAT.

I frantically ran around the airport to find the US Airways help desk, while dialing their customer support on my cell phone, now elevated to just 11% battery life. This flight was one of just many cancellations throughout LaGuardia, so the customer service line was, no joke, 75+ people deep. I managed to get an actually super nice and helpful customer service rep on the phone while I stood in line, who told me that the good news was they’d refund my full fare, the bad news being, of course, that they had no other available flights on my route that night or the following morning.  I got out of the US Airways line and went looking for Delta, only to find them also backed up by the dozens.

I found a spot on the floor next to an outlet, plugged in my cell phone, called my mom, cried, stress ate my Caesar salad (worth every penny!) (false), yelled the F word far too loud for a public setting, looked up alternate routes to PGH and finally came to the realization that it was not happening. I would not make it to Pittsburgh. I would not see Brigette get married. I felt mad and sad and guilty and disappointed and basically every emotion you might find on the negative end of a feelings chart. I took a sad taxi home to Crown Heights, the rain pouring nearly as hard as my tears.

HAHA just kidding for dramatic emphasis. I mean, yes I cried, but that’s a tad heavy handed. Trying to spice up my writing with overuse of metaphor! What if I actually talked like that? Yikes!

Enn. Eee. Way. My mom & Margie sent me loads of photos from the wedding and it looked like a truly beautiful day. I’m so happy for the newlyweds! And I was able to see Brian’s sister graduate, so the weekend still  managed to be special and full of family. And also sun. Wait until you get a load of the sunburn I acquired yesterday. It’s one for the record books!

HOWEVER it has come to my attention that God or Mother Nature or SOMEONE is reading my blog and deliberately trying to sabotage me.While I do appreciate the attention, I am not amused. I mean, I had expressly stated on Friday morning just how VERY EXCITED I was to fly to Pittsburgh and my flight up and cancels on me? COME ON, dude. Do you think this is because I couldn’t remember the timeline of Christ’s resurrection? Am I being punished for supporting gay marriage???? Whatever the reason, it is pretttty clear that someone is out to get me, so below is a list of things I am super not excited for. If my logic is correct, which it totally always is, since I’m not excited for these things, that means these days will be bright and sunny and warm and perfect and amazing…right?! RIGHT.

  • My Own Wedding. August is hurricane season, right? Let’s get a storm a brewin’!
  • Similarly: My Bridal Shower this coming weekend and my Bachelorette in June. Two separate weekends being feted by my most special ladies? HARD PASS. 
  • My Cousin Angie’s visit to NYC. Angie is the WORST! 
  • The string of 30th Birthday parties we have this June. Rooftops and pool parties and Brooklyn day drinking? These are a few of my (least!) favorite things. (PS: read that to the tune of the song, please, I tried really hard to make it fit.) 
  • Summer Fridays. 12 PM closing? No thanks, I’ll work til 6! 

And while we’re at it, something I am so totally very super excited about is next week’s big publishing annual conference, BEA. Schlepping to the far west side of Manhattan in what always manages to be the hottest weather of all time for long days of standing around and small talking…I can. not. wait. I will be SO VERY SAD if a lighting bolt just strikes right down into the middle of the Javits Center and burns it right down to the ground. Please oh please don’t let that happen, I long for this week all year!

There. That should about cover it. Everything’s looking up for old Alizabatham HoHENadell!!!

(Arbitrary image b/c photos make blogs better, according to other blogs.)

Here’s to the start of a NEW week for all of us – hope it’s nothing short of spectacular. xoxo

Some Unsolicited Running Advice from a Self-Appointed “Expert”

As I mentioned yesterday in my deeply empowering half marathon recap, I am all in on this running lifestyle. I have drunk (drank?) the kool-aid! Well, Gatorade, if we’re being precise. I might go so far as to call myself a runner. Last week a friend of mine asked me how I got myself into running, saying that learning to love the sport is a goal of hers. I adore talking about myself and pretending to be an expert so I figured I’d share my tips for the whole WORLD to enjoy.

For the record this is a real person, named Katie. I’m not just making this up so I can continue to brag about my physical fitness.

So! Just a few verbose (as always!) thought below, may they inspire you to love running as much as I have. And I knowwww this is getting boring, I swearity-swear this is my last running post for at least a week.

HOW TO BECOME A RUNNER:

ADVICE FROM SOMEONE WHO JUST RAN THEIR FIRST HALF MARATHON AND NOW THINKS SHE’S A TOTAL EXPERT 

1a) Sign up for a race. 

Having a goal to work towards gives you a light at the end of the tunnel, a reason to get up from the couch and pound the pavement. There are plenty of races for every level from beginner to pro. Pro races are also known as The Olympics and if you’re qualified for those you probably don’t need to be reading this blog.

1b) Then tell EVERYONE. 

This step is possibly the most vital step of all. The more people you tell about your race plans, the dopier you’ll look if you drop out.  Registering for a race is a big step, but does it even count if no one knows? If a tree falls in a forest, etc? I suppose you could just rely on your own self for motivation but personally I am most moved by the admiration and acceptance of other people, so I made sure to tell literally the entire internet the moment I signed up for my half marathon and then when I trained, I visualized myself crossing the finish line to applause and then instantly uploading photos to multiple social media forums where my loved ones would heap praise upon me.

I am a) barely exaggerating and b) not ashamed and can’t stress highly enough how important step 1b is to your success.

2) Dress the part.

Until very recently, I was completely unconvinced as to the necessity of quote-unquote workout clothes. Why would I spend my hard earned money on UnderArmor leggings and tank tops when I could wear a free t-shirt from some kind of college volunteer day and a pair of enormous Nike soccer shorts that I have had since literally 2008 when I purchased because they were part of the official uniform of the US Women’s World Cup Team? Girls who wear cute workout clothes can’t possibly be taking it seriously. They’re just trying to look adorable, unlike me over here in my grungy apparel, holding my shorts up with a safety pin. A true athlete!

My attitude was entirely changed this Christmas, when Brian’s parents sweetly gifted me with some warm weather running gear – a pair of black tights with jazzy hot pink pattern zipping up the calves and a matching hot pink zip-up jacket. It was unlike anything I would ever purchase for myself, but it instantly became my favorite outfit and somewhat of a motivational costume. Putting it on I transformed from casual jogger to Hot Running Girl! Fit and fashionable.

I’ve since purchased a few “running” outfits and they help keep me motivated. Putting on my sweat-wicking tank top and compression capris tells my brain: “NOW WE ARE RUNNING!” Silly? Maybe! But it works for me.

If you’re in the market, Marshall’s & TJ Maxx always have tons of name brands on supersale and Old Navy, my #1 favorite clothing retailer has a great line of workout attire at spectacular prices!

All this said, don’t go too overboard, this is still a workout, not a fashion show. And NO ONE likes the girl who matches  her bellybutton ring to her neon crop-top. A little subtly goes a long way.

3) Make a Plan…and Keep Visual Track of your Progress 

The internet is chock FULL of free training plans for all sorts of races. I’ve heard rave reviews about the Couch to 5K program for beginners and Runners World has a series of training plans for every level.

I worked with a plan by some guy called Hal Higdon, with a few tweaks by my personal trainer, Brian. I loved this training plan – simple, adaptable and knowing exactly what was expected of me each week helped me to stay motivated and energized.

I made a series of calendars for myself for the duration of my training process, indicating what was on the lineup for each day and also leaving a space for me to write what I actually achieved that day. Most training plans are very general, just Week 1, Week 2, etc and for me, seeing the physical calendar dates was helpful.

For the first month I was diligent about updating with my actual mileage and though I sort of fell off that wagon by month 2, I still consulted the calendar regularly to remind myself what was upcoming. Seeing the long run distance inch up by one mile per week made me feel like such a badass.

4) Reward Yourself

Cheese burgers after long runs? DON’T MIND IF I DO.

5) Have a Buddy

I ran this race by myself, but had lots of buddies helping me prep for it. I had Brian running beside me on all of my long runs, encouraging me every day and standing on the sidelines cheering for me while I raced. My cousin Dani ran her first half marathon a few weeks before I did and we emailed back and forth about how much we loved it and another cousin, Kelly who took up running around the same time and has been slaying it in races all spring, shares inspirational quotes and photos on Facebook, encouraging me to keep it up too . And my friend Mary also ran her first half earlier this spring, so we’d compare training notes, run along the river together after work and bond over our new-found obsession with running. Weirdly enough, Mary and I got basically the exact same times on our first half marathons! How cool is that.

There are lots of local running clubs in my area, but I’ve been hesitant to join one, the huge group mentality kind of stresses me out and I wasn’t quite ready to make that commitment. But maybe it’ll work for you! Or find one pal to train with or just see who else in your group of friends/office is a runner and bond with them.  It is fun to have someone to comiserate with and, like my crazy mentality that if you tell everyone you’ll be less likely to quit, it helps me to feel like I’m  not alone…I’m running for Brian and Mary and Kelly and Dani and everyone!

In the whole world!!!!!

Grandiose, much?!

7) Rock the Tunes

I never listened to music while running until very recently. I’d either run with Brian and talk to him or run on the treadmill and watch old episodes of How I Met Your Mother. I also didn’t know how to play music on my phone because I am the worlds smartest modern human. Luckily, this spring I discovered both Songza and Google Play Music and with their help was able to put together a pretttty baller running playlist.

Running to Songza (or Pandora, I guess) is super fun because you don’t know what song is coming next, so it’s a fun surprise every time! This helped me to discover some awesome throwbacks from college (ain’t no Hollaback Girl!) and then spend most of my run just reminiscing about listening to those songs on repeat with my pals. I then figured out how to create my own playlists, but still like to play on shuffle so I’m always on my toes. This is really boring…why don’t I just stop talking and share what I’m jamming to lately: 

  • Lorde, Royals 
  • Pitbull & Ke$ha, Timber (I could basically listen to this song on repeat all day and night both while running and just while going about my day.) 
  • Rihanna, Don’t Stop the Music 
  • Danity Kane, Damaged (cue memories of 2008 girls vacation to Miami!) 
  • Taylor Swift, We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together (LIKE I wasn’t going to have some Swizz on here)
  • One Direction, Best Song Ever (I’m an adult!)
  • Katy Perry, Roar 
  • Katy Perry, Teenage Dream
  • Katy Perry, T.G.I.F (I just really like Katy Perry)
  • Nicki Minaj, Starships
  • Kanye West et. al, Monster (I always go extra hard during Nicki’s verse. You can be the king now watch the queen conquer!) 
  • Icona Pop, I Don’t Care 
  • Austin Mahone, Mmm Hmm Yeah (I have no idea who this person is and I’m pretty sure he might be 12 but it came on my songza one day and features Pitbull and I can’t say no to Pitbull and now I love this song.) 
  • Anything Taio Cruz has ever done: Dynamaite, Break Your Heart and my personal favorite song Hangover, which introduces the genius term “shitfaceded” 
  • Flo Rida, Wild Ones
  • Nelly, Country Grammar 
  • Kelly Clarkson, Stronger
  • Sara Bareilles, Brave 
  • Destiny’s Child, Bootylicious
  • Jackson Five, ABC 
  • Little Mix, Wings (again, I have no idea who these people are but this song is a jimmity jam)
  • Avicii, Wake Me Up (I don’t really approve of Electronic Dance Music or “EDM” as the kids/cools are calling it but I do like this song!)
  • Bastille, Pompeii (heyyydey oh, hey-dey) 
  • Cobra Starship, Good Girls Gone Bad
  • Beyonce, Crazy in Love (obviously always and forever) 

6) Don’t Be Afraid to look Dumb

I was talking to someone recently who didn’t want to run in public because they were worried they’d look dumb. And as much as I want to pretend to be above that, I totally get it. Fear of looking stupid is one of the main reasons I quit trying yoga so I need to learn to practice what I preach. So for both me and all of you to keep in mind: who cares! Who cares if you stop and walk or run slow or think you swing your arms weird or if you air drum while running and dance at stoplights. Everybody looks weird doing everything and no one is paying attention to you, they’re all busy worrying about what they look like.

8) Just. Keep. Running. 

This is a little hippie dippy and hard to quantify but at a certain point your brain is going to want to stop running and you’re going to have to tell it to shut the eff up. One of the simultaneously most exciting and challenges for me while training was when I realized that my body could  keep running. That when I felt tired or bored or ready to quit it wasn’t my body giving out but my brain giving up. I had to figure out how to shut off the part of me that wanted to quit, walk and go home and just. keep. running.

I don’t know what to tell you to do this in your life. For me, it was turning up my music, staring right ahead and literally saying, out-loud (see what I said about looking weird?!): “you’ve got this, Liz. Keep going.” And then I’d keep going.

In the time it took you to think about quitting, your legs probably went two, three, four more steps. You CAN do it.

9) Go Ahead and Brag! 

Proud of your training or your race time? Pat yourself on the back! Go ahead and upload that finish line photo to multiple social media feeds and watch the likes roll in.

10) Always End Lists with Even Numbers! 

And those are my tips!

I am obviously super clearly not an expert but people (one person) were begging for my advice (politely asking about my training routine) and I have to give the world what it wants! I hope this inspires at least one person to get out and start running both because it’s super fun and also because I’m DYING to be considered a positive role model.

Now, let me ask you: How do YOU get motivated – to run or otherwise? Runners, anything you think I’m missing? Any workout songs you’d suggest?! 

Thanks for reading this! I have no idea how to end this post. OK BYE!  Smooches!

 

Another Awkward New Year: 2014!

Hey y’al! Remember me? No? Understandable! It’s been about 1 million years since I last blogged (minus a few millennia which I added on for dramatic emphasis.) I barely remember how to type! Mmdfdyumme meep merp.

So Happy New Year, guys! How late is too late to wish someone a HNY? A friend of mine says Martin Luther King Day, so I’m still in the game. Related: when did it become OK to use HNY as an abbreviation? I’m going to go with never and yet, here we are.  I’m having a little trouble gearing up for the New Year. I took some much needed time off from, well, life over the holidays – no wedding planning, no writing, no house cleaning, no work, no pantswearing, basically nothing productive, at all, whatsoever and it was good. Goo-ooo-OOD. But now I’m realizing I may have decompressed a scoonch too much because I’m having some difficulty um, recompressing. Is that a real word? Sure!

Exhibit A: Our Christmas Tree

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Photo taken yesterday, January 14. Maybe time to get rid of the old gal? Related…

Exhibit B: This Poinsettia


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Photo also taken yesterday, January 14. Don’t worry, I pitched this. Lasted surprisingly long considering it hadn’t been watered since like, Benedict was still pope.

Exhibit C: Our Kitchen Floor

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(Un)fortunately it doesn’t come out suuuper clear in this photo but this floor is just COVERED in grime. It’s disgusting. There is enough spilled food caked onto those tiles to end world hunger.

That was symbolism by the way, I wouldn’t actually feed floor food to starving people, ok. I’m not a monster!

I am also not a mopper, apparently. GROSS.

Exhibit D: Our Wedding Website

Created over a month ago and never touched again. Zero helpful information and for some strange reason, listing that our wedding day was December 6, 2013. Congratulations, us! I hope it was fun.

Not pictured: PILES of work to do at the office, PILES of dirty laundry, PILES of money not in my bank account with nothing to show for it, PILES of wine and carbs in my mouth, PILES of tissues from the cold I can’t seem to shake, PILES of me running this piles-of-stuff joke riiiiight on into the ground.

That said, I have been achieving some things. I tested out our new slow cooker. Veggie chili, in case anyone is interested, which you surely are not. I’ve been running a ton! For real this is one thing I’m proud of. And we’re through one whole season of The Sopranos which is on my 30 Before 30 List so it counts as productive and don’t you even dare try to convince me otherwise.

And that is what’s going on over here. January’s always kind of a rough month for me. I get sort of mopey and weird and blue.  I usually find a way to dig myself out come February and these past few weeks, I don’t know. I just felt like I needed to sit back and wait and let the year start on without me. I’ll catch up, I’m sure.

I chose not to make any set Resolutions for 2014 – what with the whole wedding scene (which my wedding day twin Sandra Di points out is just over 200 days away… SILENT SCREAM!) and a cool 27 items left on my 30 Before 30 List, I really don’t need to take on any more goals or responsibilities.

I mean, see Exhibits A-D up there. I think I have plenty of things to deal with on the day to day.

That said, I do have two little goals I’m trying towards this year, which I guess technically means I did make resolutions after all but whatever. Semantics. I’d like to write more (LUCKY YOU!) and take some much needed care of my self in the mental health department. Anxiety, be gone! Both of these are equally noble goals – but then I had a near Tony Soprano level panic attack (it’s not a spoiler if it’s from the pilot…and it aired like 14 years ago) the other weekend because I felt guilty and anxious that I hadn’t written in days, so I decided maybe the Write More business needed to take a little back seat (just for now!) until it came naturally.

And the lucky for everyone what came naturally was this word vomit. Go back in your cave and keep hibernating, Liz!

BASICALLY I just wanted to pop in and say hi. I’ll be back with my reguarly scheduled programming this Friday but I felt like after I’d been gone for so long I needed some kind of intro? In case everyone forgot who I was? Allow me to reintroduce myself my name is Ho (bag). H to the izzo O to the baggo, I pledge allegiance to the American flaggo.

The end shut it down FOREVER.

So happy 2014, a quadrillion years late, my sweet friends. How are you all? What’s new? How was your holiday? Any resolutions? Goals? Hopes? Dreams? DISASTERS?! Do tell. I may be in a (super) weird mood today but I’m so SO excited for this new year  – 2014 has so much in store for me. I’m getting married! And turning 30! And finishing The Sopranos! And, of course, dealing with that whole anxiety thing.

2014: The Year of Marriage, Milestones and Mental Health. Let’s do this thing!

Step One: throw out the Christmas tree.

xoxo Liz Ho

One Lazy Halloween

Boo! Halloween is right around the corner, folks. Are you ready? I am…NOT. After so many years of dominating the scene in my nude suit, I just haven’t been able to muster up a lot of enthusiasm for old Fright Night. I might end up staying in, eating candy and watching television, like I do most every other night, but if I do end up Trick or Treating I’m going to have to scramble, and fast, to come up with a sweet ‘stume.

I figured I can’t be the only last minute lazy bones out there, so wanted to offer up a few creative ideas for costumes that you can throw together at a moment’s notice, with very little energy expended. Or if you’re still looking for a way to get sexy without being dull, do consult last year’s list of creatively slutty costume suggestions!

Feel free to borrow any of these fantastic ideas… or share your own! And if you’re considering black face, might I suggest consulting this website first:  http://shouldidressinblackfacethishalloween.com/.

Let’s do this!

LIZ HO’S GUIDE TO HALLOWEEN FOR LAZY PEOPLE

Skeleton:

(via Pinterest) 

This is a classic from the Maggie HoBags playbook. Black pants, black t-shirt, “skeleton” made of masking tape. Boom.

Yankee Candle:

(image via)

Wear a colored t-shirt, print out an image label via Google Images or just rip the sticker right off your favorite candle. Attach a pipe cleaner or piece of string to your head. People miiiight try to light you on fire, but that’s a risk you’ll need to be willing to take.

Junk Mail:

(via the wikipedia page for “junk mail” which is a fascinating read!)

Just tape all of your junk mail to your body. Easier than opening a New Pre-Approved VIP Credit Card!

Similarly, yet slightly more creatively….

Pinterest:

(image via)

Just print out pictures of stuff you love, intricate first birthday cakes, workout inspiration and other nonsense and stick to your bod. Extra points if you include the Pinterest logo.

Dogwalker:

(image via)

Pretty self explanatory: Kidnap a bunch of puppies and walk them on leashes. Return all but the very cutest one at the end of the night!

Miley Cyrus in Wrecking Ball:

(image via)

All sorts of idiots are apparently paying actual American dollars for this hideous monstrosity...take it one step further, for cheaper, by just stepping out in your underbusiness while carrying construction tools.  Easy AND “sexy.” Good job!

Your Garbage Can:

(image via)

Cover your body in double sided tape, dump your garbage can over your head and see what sticks. Pee-yew.

Leftovers:

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Wrap yourself in tin foil. THE END.

Yard Sale:

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Take all of your unwanted belongings to a bar/party, set them on display with a sign reading Yard Sale. Then sell them to other party goers for money and/or candy.  Have a festive evening and make money while unloading unwanted items? Win and win.

Taylor Swift:

t swizz

I will sell you this wig and HAND MADE glittery pink guitar for $4 plus overnight shipping.

Office Tooth Brusher:

(image via)

The SCARIEST costume ever. Wear business casual and carry your tooth brush and toothpaste. I’m shuddering already just thinking about it!

Streaker:

(image via)

Literally streak around your neighborhood during trick-or-treat time. There is a 150 million percent chance you will get arrested but isn’t Halloween the time for a new adventure?

Kim Kardashian’s Engagement Ring:

(image via)

This one does take some time: darken the lights in your room, put on your sexiest white thong body suit and highest Louboutins, light one million candles and spritz the room with a liberal does of Glam, the Kim Kardashian eau de cologne. Then meditate on fame for three solid hours, taking breaks every 15 minutes to splash your face with Dom Perignon. If you do it right, you will then magically calcify into a 15-karat diamond. True fact!

It should wear off after about 24 hours but you might consider setting your affairs in order beforehand, just in case.

Liz Ho:

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Who doesn’t want to dress as their favorite blogger for Halloween? Oh, everyone? Fair enough! If you change your mind, just toss on some jeggings, a cardigan and a v-neck shirt. Drink all the wine you see and spill 42% of it on yourself. Done and done.

Bonus: make it a couple’s costume by having your partner dress in a JCrew checked button down and dress as Liz and Brian AKA the Will & Kate of Brooklyn.

Hahaha NO.

Annnnd I think that’s enough ideas for now. I trust y’all can come up with more great ones on your own. Happy Halloween, friends! Send me all your Kit Kats!

xooxo Liz

 

Some Hump Day Musings

Goood morning, my fine friends. I don’t know why I just allowed myself to use the phrase “Hump Day” in place of Wednesday. I hate that stupid term. Just call it Wednesday! It’s not cute.

Anyway, we’re not even halfway to the weekend yet (holding out til the clock strikes noon!) and if you’re anything like me, you’re looking for some midweek distractions. Also, if you’re anything like me: lord help you.

So, in the humpday spirit (ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh), here are just a few things boppin’ around my brain lately that I felt the (unnecessary) need to share, complete with some prettttty solid random stock imagery. This post might change your life! Butttt it probably won’t.

1. I know I’m always late to the kool tunez party and say what you will about Miley Cyrus as a human being (preferably say nothing, actually!) but I just heard Wrecking Ball (finally! I know!) and that song is a J-A-M: JAM.

You do you, Miley! But maybe with a shirt on? Just a thought! xo

Other music I can’t stop listening to: Katy Perry’s Roar,  this song by that Avicii person who is apparently popular with the youths and Lady Antebellum’s entire oeuvre, including their Christmas album because pop country holiday is my new favorite musical genre? Sure why not.

2. I’ve decided on what is the officially worst thing in the world. It is when you get all nice and snuggly in your bed…and then realize you kind of have to pee. And you must decide which is worse: getting out from under the covers and

braving the cold bathroom, or just peeing your bed and living with the consequences. Talk about a Sophie’s Choice, am I right?

(I have never read that book.)

tooth brushing

3. How do you guys feel about toothbrushing in the office? I give it two thumbs way, way, WAY down. It disgusts me wholeheartedly. It is such an intimate and personal activity, to me – the scrubbing, the flying germ particles…THE SPITTING. Oh, the spitting is the worst part. I just do not condone spitting your grotesque mouth contents in a shared restroom, where other people can see you and then have to wash their hands over the same sink. I applaud the effort towards good oral hygiene but I think that 2 times a day, at your own home, is juuust fine. And if you have a halitosis issue, try tic tacs, gum, those weird strips you put on your tongue or even see a dentist. Please do not brush your teeth in the office.

Anyone with me?!

4. My friend Amy just shared this amazing quiz with me: Are You A Walking Disaster? 

The first time I took it I got “Yes, you are a walking disaster!” but think I may have exaggerated a bit, because Amy only came up as a moderate disaster and just last week I had the honor of watching her fall face-first into a field during a bonfire so I’m pretty sure I can’t be that much more disastrous than she is. So I re-tried and came back just Moderate. PHEW.

What are you? This is really important stuff, you guys.

PS: while you’re at Buzzfeed, might I suggest: This Post, or This One, Also THIS LIST and, if you’re feeling brave: this one. 

PSS: love you, Amy!!!

5. And while we’re on the subject of quizzes, I also took this one from Time.com: Which State Matches Your Personality? 

I got Illinois! Apparently The I-Nois (what?) is chock-full of extroverted, friendly neurotics. Sounds AMAZING! Also, my brother lives there! Hi, Mikey-boy, I’m movin’ in!

What state are you? What a weird quiz!

PS: I can’t link to any other articles at Time.com because I’m the worst and think pugs in Halloween costumes > world affairs, bigtime.

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6. And finally, because I know you were curious, the photo above is what my landlady is rocking this Hallowe’en. (Does anyone still spell it like that? It kind of weirds me out.)

Let the holiday season begin!

And that’s that! Happy WEDNESDAY, pals!

xoxoxo Liz Ho

Welcome to The Dorkyard, Bitch

In this week’s ‘Holy Shit, I’m Getting Old’ news, apparently the television masterpiece The O.C. premiered ten long years ago, making it a full decade since we first heard the phrase: “Welcome to the O.C, bitch!”

This fact kind of blows my mind. Where does the time go?!

We already know I had a deep, abiding love for all things Newport Beach (fake engagement to Adam Brody, anyone?) and it turns out I’m not alone. The internet is abuzz with tributes to the show, from The Daily Beast to Grantland to HuffPoVulture is even running a full week of O.C. themed coverage. I try not to get too wrapped up in nostalgia, but I can’t help getting caught up in the enthusiasm this time.

You see, this show actually holds a deep and special place in my memories. When The O.C. premiered in the summer of 2003 I was in their prime target audience: I’d just graduated from high school and had nothing but time on my hands and a deep interest in all things teen melodrama. The show aired just enough episodes before school started back up to get viewers hooked and upon arrival at college, it quickly became a sort of ice breaker with the girls on my dorm floor.

“Do you watch The O.C.?” someone shyly asked over getting-to-know-you games in the building lobby.

“Oh I do!” I chimed. “Me too!” said another pal. One of the gals invited us all into her room later that night to watch and et voila: a lifelong friendship was born.

We watched every episode together that year, crowding together on the tiny dorm beds or the floor with the neon pillows and blankets that were de rigeur of collegiate interior decor of the day.  I still maintain that the first half of the first season of The. O.C.  is one of the greatest pieces of art ever created. The rest of Season One and some of Season Two are still top notch, before shit really got cray (RIP Marissa!!) but oh, the beginning of that first season, before Oliver came onto the scene, and life was all bagels and Chrismukkah and Captain Oats and Ryan/Marissa sexual tension, damn, you guys, that was some great TV. And not even ‘guilty pleasure’ watching, either. Just solid, humorous, dramatic, just soapy enough, good TV. 

And whether it was trash or gold, it was a cornerstone of my friendship with my very first college girlfriends, a group which collectively came to be known as “The Dorkyard.” Because, you guessed it, we were dorks. And prouddd of it. We were a group of A+ goodie two shoes who all voluntarily lived in the substance free dorms freshman year. We spent most of our weekend nights watching corny TV movies, eating junk food, going to the movies or Barnes & Noble together and loved every second of it. Time has passed and a lot of us have grown up, changed and moved on but I still hold these women in a special place in my heart and consider our years together in The Dorkyard to be some of the most formative and important in my life.

And The O.C. was there through it all.

Allow me to visually illustrate my story here.

After Freshman Year we all parted ways for the summer and came back the following September equally excited to see one another…and the new Season of The. O.C. To celebrate the premier of Season 2 we had a themed viewing party…complete with costumes and virgin cocktails because, well, we’re the weirdest.

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Here we are in all of our glory. Clockwise from top left we have Summer Roberts, Kirsten Cohen (me in my blonde days! woof!), Marissa Cooper, Julie Cooper and Anna Stern. You’ll note that we’re missing some very key characters, namely Seth and Sandy Cohen and Ryan Atwood but, well, it’s just not that easy to convince boys to dress up like O.C. characters. Or so I’ll have to assume. I’m sure it doesn’t take a detective to realize that we didn’t really hang out with a lot of boys at this period in our lives.

Who need’s ’em! Let’s look at more pictures!

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Here we have frenemies Kirsten Cohen and deliciously evil Julie Cooper snarking it up. That drink in my hand is a foreshadowing of Kirsten’s upcoming alcoholic spiral, one of the show’s low points. Kirsten Cohen will forever be my role model and life hero. I love that women. That said, huge soft spot for old Julie Coops, too. Bad girls are so much more fun.

I just had a memory! I went to an LGBT support meeting in college one time and we all had to go around the room and say our favorite quote from a book or movie or TV and ALL I could think of was a recent episode of The O.C. when Julie seduced Marissa’s ex boyfriend Luke and she shows up at his door and says, really dramatically: “Luke, this is a booty call.” And so I said that as my favorite quote. WHY! I don’t even remember why I thought that was funny AT ALL, I just did. And everyone looked at me like, why are you the weirdest person ON EARTH and proceeded to rattle off inspirational nonsense from like, Shakespeare and Toni Morrison and Shawshank Redemption and all I can come up with is some weird quote about booty calls from a teenage soap opera. Whyyyyyyy!

I never went to another meeting of that club again. I could have made such huge inroads in gay rights by now but I was too embarrassed by how weird I’d been and quit the club. Whomp.

Never not losing the point of the story, am I?

Moving along…

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Romantic rivals Summer and Anna. Who will Seth Cohen pick? The comic book cutie or the unattainable girl of his dreams?!

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And ONCE AGAIN, Marissa Cooper is passed out drunk on the lawn. Will Ryan come to her rescue? Will she finally get her act together and lay off the sauce? Or will she continue on a path of bad decisions (both chemical and romantic), shoot her boyfriend’s ex-con brother and eventually die in a fiery car crash, hunky Ryan sobbing over her dead body, while ‘Hallelujah’ plays in the background?

Ummmmm spoiler alert:

Oh what a show.

Yes, it ran wildly off the rails and do not get me started on the whole final season where Summer is like, a trustafarian wierdo at Brown and Ryan’s in a coma and hallucinating  and what have you, but those first few years, dang they were something special. As were the nights with my college pals -whether we were snuggled up in bed or prancing around dressed as our favorite characters. Memories of the two are linked in my mind as some of the best days of my life.

Did you nerds watch The O.C.? Or do you have any shows/movies/books/albums/etc that are inexorably linked with a particular time and place in your life? I’m always so fascinated by that sort of multi-pronged sensory memory, how for me, hearing a certain Joseph Arthur song (oh those hip soundtracks) or or the word Tijuana (“It’s ‘tia-huannnnna,’ mom, god you are so white”) can ship me right back to the early days of college, to the Dorkyard. I’d love to hear what works that way for you!

Aaaand thus concludes my contribution to The O.C.: Ten Years Later archives and, unsurprisingly, it turned out to be a lot less about the show than it was about ME. Shows may come and go but some things never change.

California, here we come!

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!