One Awkward Bit of Self Promotion

Hi OAY friends, fans, followers and hopefully not foes! I just wanted to pop in and remind y’all that I’ve up and moved URL’s and can now be found oversharing here:

http://www.hottsauceblog.com/

I’m dipping my toes back into the internet after a busy winter of work and travel and am currently writing my way through my honeymoon in Southeast Asia (don’t worry, there is plenty of poop, food spilling and general social anxiety to keep it spicy), in addition to my usual self indulgent nonsense.

Like…what is the deal with this peacock?

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Who ate all this cheese???

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And WHATTTTTTTTT are we wearing?!

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All that and more!

Still ahead: more on marriage, books, food and other done-to-death topics.

Anyway, I am bad at self promotion but THAT is what’s up and if you’ve liked what you’ve read here in the past and wondered where you might find some more, well, now you know.

And on that note, fellow blogger pals, my reentry into the digital world means catching up on all of YOUR lives so do know I’ve not been ignoring you…intentionally anyway! Sometimes real life is just such a butthead, you know? Like, enough is enough, adulthood. I’m planning some serious catch-up in the next few days but if you DO visit HottSauce (and oh, I hope you might!) please leave a comment or say hello!

Have a wonderful weekend! THE END!

Another Awkward Week [9.12.14]

Hiii guys! What’s up?! Guess where I am?! MAINE! Pretty cool stuff, huh? I posted this from my cellular phone because I am a hip millennial. I know what’s up.

JK I don’t have a clue. But it’s OK because I’m turning 30 in TWO DAYS so I don’t need to worry anymore about technology and apps and twerking and any of that young people stuff. I’m officially and oldster and THANK GOD. I’ve been patiently awaiting the day when I could start unironically wearing holiday themed sweater sets and listening to Joni Mitchell all day and my time is almost here. BOOM. But enough about my impending old age for the moment…I have some deeper thoughts to share on that next week.

Do try not to die of anticipation in the meantime.

Ok enough jibberbabber, these lobster rolls aren’t going to eat themselves. Let us all gather round, join hands and take a look at what was keeping it awkward this week.

 

This Chocolate Fountain:

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HOLY YUM.

We went to a wedding last weekend (and are attending another tomorrow!) and they had so much amazing food, I honestly think I gained 14 lbs before the day was through. hashtag worth it. hashtag bigtime.

One of the highlights of the evening was the chocolate fountain and then another highlight was watching me try to scrub chocolate out of my dress.

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Oh did I mention the dress was borrowed?! 

Sorry, Mary! I love you!

Don’t worry, I took it to get dry-cleaned.

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The cleaner was super impressed with my spillage skillz. In addition to the obvious chocolate stain, there was another lighter blob running down the front of the skirt.

“What’s this?” He asked. “Water stain?”

“WATER?!” I chortled. “OH that, good sir, is wine.”

You literally can not take me anywhere.

#literally

This Cup:

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Guys, I went to get an iced coffee yesterday morning and when I tried to put my straw in the lid it had no straw hole!! WHAT! So I went to the counter to ask for another lid and she exasperatedly told me those were the only lids they had.

Like I was the obnoxious moron asking for a lid with a straw hole.

Am I living in an alternate reality? Are we no longer doing straw holes? Out of trend for Fall 2014?

Help me.

This Finger:

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Good news is the knife set we received as a wedding gift is S-H-A-R-P!

Bad news is I’m a spaz and now missing a large chunk out of the top of my finger.

Oucherson.

I was rushing around to get dinner on the table because despite my protestations to the contrary last week, I do NOT know how to go with the flow and was having a light about how it was Sunday night and I needed to eat a healthy dinner and it was already 8 PM and I need to go to bed at 9 PM and there’s so much to DOOO and slice: right into my fingie. It hurt so much! And bled all over the place.

Lesson learned: CHILL OUT.

JK but I’m working on it.

Also thank GAWD this happened after the wedding, seeing as how it’s my ring finger. Would have looked real cute.

Some women like to draw further attention to their engagement/wedding ring fingers by adding a little gems or designs to that finger nail (I like to judge these women because come on, girls, you already have a ring…we get it) but I’m taking it a fun, sassy step further by accessorizing with a gaping wound and huge bandage.

Now THAT is what’s Hot for Fall 2014.

This Shirt:

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Photo taken on a different day…same week…as the photo above. I think I need to spice up my wardrobe.

This shirt unbuttons really easily around the booble region. It’s not a huge deal, it is barely noticeable and usually I catch it but apparently not always. The other  morning I came up out of the subway lugging my big bag, walked a few feet and caught the eye of a woman and thought she was smiling at me so I smiled back and then I realized she was actually silently mouthing something at me.

I focused.

“Youuurrrrr braaaaa” her mouth said, soundlessly.

I looked down and sure enough, my entire left boob was hanging out.  And I mean all of it. OUT.

The shirt had not only unbuttoned but fallen fully open and the whole thing was out there for the world to see.

Luckily the actual boob itself was still covered…but by THE most sensible nude bra imaginable so…maybe worse?

Oy yoy yoy! Happy Morning, New York.

This Hot Look:

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OH YES the laundry backpack still lives! I decided to multitask the other night by getting happy hour beers with a pal whilst simultaneously doing laundry at the laundromat across the street, which resulted in this SEXXXXYYYY look of me sipping IPA’s with my laundry backpack strapped high and proud.

2 KEWL!

And that was my week! If you would like to read more about awkwardness, someone wrote a hella long, boring, overly introspective article about it for the New Yorker this week. Apparently people enjoy awkward humor because we live in a post 9-11 world and something about our parents never teaching us about sex? Or something? I don’t know. I couldn’t get through it. A little too intellectual for my taste but maybe you’ll enjoy it?

You snob!

Just kidding. Have a fabbo weekend, my chicklets. Any fun plans?!

xoxoox 29 YEAR OLD LIZ LIVE FROM MAINE!!!

One Awkward Mini-Moon

Guten tag, amigos! Summer is over and it’s suddenly 9,000 degrees. Perfect time to reminisce about our lil mini-moon.What is a mini-moon, you ask? Well it is when you take a short trip after your wedding (hence “mini”) and then take a long trip later and call the second one your honeymoon so you can justify taking multiple weeks off work and also extending the length of time you can drag attention outta your newlywed situation.

No shame in this game.

 

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Look at us mini-mooning. We are so white. My sister commented that all I need is a big floppy hat and I’m basically starring in a Nancy Meyers movie. Later that night I wore white on white. I am taking to this waspy Liz Scott life REAL quick.

Anyway! In March over Brian’s school spring break and my personal spring break that I’m taking even though I have a major book coming out 2 days later (whoops?) (but it’s ok b/c it’s our HONEYMOOOON!), we’re going to do a big adventcha all around Southeast Asia: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam. I mean, we haven’t planned one second of it but in our imaginations it is quite the wild and perfect trip.

Any tips?

We knew we wouldn’t have the time or energy right after the wedding for our dream vacation, but did want to get away so we planned a little mid-week getaway the week after the wedding to our favorite local beach Fire Island which is the best place on earth because you don’t need a car to get there or to get around there. Everyone walks around pulling wagons or riding bikes, everything is casual and relaxed and low key. Fun Fact: Tina Fey has a vacation home in one of the towns there. We have yet to hang out but it should be any day now.

At any rate, Fire Island kind of has two parts – one which is more family oriented, where we’ve vacationed before with friends – and one that is known as more of a gay party scene. You may have seen this part portrayed in the opening minutes of that HBO movie The Normal Heart and it is AMAZING. Lots of beautiful, oiled up gay men men drinking and cavorting around the seaside. I stopped watching after 20 minutes because I heard it gets sad and (spoiler alert!) Tim Riggins gets AIDS and dies and I just don’t see myself coming back from that sort of trauma.

We found a cute little guest house to rent for a few days that had a private deck, a kitchenette and was just a block back from the beach that happened to be on the gay party side in the town of Cherry Grove. A few weeks before the ‘moon, we had drinks with a colleague of Brian’s, who frequents this side of the island and participates in the festivities and were telling him all about the cute place we rented – close to the beach, the general store and this beautiful wooded forest area.

“Oh yeah. You mean the meat rack!” he replied.

“The what now?!!!?”

Turns out, the “beautiful wooded forest” area just steps from our newlywed cottage connects Cherry Grove with The Pines, the other hot gay party spot and is known as quite the locale for revelers to go get some strange.

It is at this moment I was almost saddened by how open minded Brian and I are. What a dream comedy film this would be. A sheltered young couple goes off on a romantic honeymoon only to find themselves in the midst of a wild gay party week! She accidentally does ecstasy. He ends up covered in body glitter. Shenanigans ensue and they leave the trip a better, happier couple than arrived.

Instead it was just us, two jaded New Yorkers who thought they’d seen it all.

Bring on the Meat Rack!!!

I’ll go right ahead and ruin the anticipation by revealing that we did not see anyone getting bajiggity in the forest. We DID however, see about 800 dongs, 900 butts, 50,000 ladybushes and more boobies than a 12-year-old virgin could ever fathom seeing in his whole life. Turns out, Cherry Grove is a nude beach!

And by nude, oh we mean NUDE. There’s another nude spot on the other end of the island where we’d vacationed with friends in the past which is frankly, a little underwhelming. Nude bathers have these funny shield things, almost like a tent with no top (even their tents are topless, ho ho!) which still provides privacy despite their lack of apparel. We imagined we’d encounter the same sort of situation but oh no, friends, this was a whole new ball game. And by “ball,” I do mean of the male anatomy sort, of which we saw so many, they haunt our dreams.

Bathers in Cherry Grove don’t bother with modesty shades. They walk their dogs, stroll the coastline, swim, eat sandwiches, do pushups, hunt for sea shells, anything you might do on a regular beach vacation but naked as the day they were born.

It was…definitely something.

I don’t mean to be unkind, I’m sure these were all lovely people but, as with most situations where nudity is approved, none of the participants were people I’d actually want to see nude. NOW, I think all bodies are beautiful and everyone is special but we did not take the subway to the train to the other train to the ferry allll the way out to this sexy gay party island to see a bunch of normal people walking around in the buff. Enough with these reggos – where were all the toned, oiled up young men and porn star lesbians?!

I will ruin any other anticipation by revealing that we did not sunbathe starkers. We briefly considered it but chickened out. I did go topless, how Euro, for about 12 spicy minutes but just couldn’t get into the full monty.

Can ladies go full monty or is that just a man thing?

I don’t know, guys. I just don’t see the appeal of having a bronzed mons pubis, you know? Not to mention all that sand all up in everywhere. I hate to be so American about it but perhaps some parts should just stay covered.

As for the Meat Rack, we didn’t even end up entering. And by entering I mean like…walking into the woods, not anything dirty, pervs.

We actually confused the Meat Rack with another wooded plot of land, The Sunken Forest, which is nearly a mile walk from the heart of town, and even further from The Pines. As we trekked through sandy, mosquito filled dunes and wild sea brush in hopes of spotting the infamous Meat Rack I couldn’t hep thinking it just seemed like an awful lot of effort to go to for an anonymous BJ.

But, then again, I’m a straight prude who’s seen enough Lifetime movies to know you should never go into the forest with a stranger, no matter what fun activities he’s promising, so I might not be the Meat Rack’s target audience.

It turns out the Meat Rack and the Sunken Forest were entirely unrelated – the Sunken Forest is part of the National Parks service and is very well maintained and family friendly and you can learn about birds and foliage and stuff so that was slightly more my speed.

Here is us in the Sunken Forest…we’re so waspy we wear collared shirts even when hiking through national parks/possible illicit wooded sex dens.

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Basically the Meat Rack had the opposite effect on us that it had on the imaginary Midwestern couple of my comedy film dreams. Instead of opening our minds (and legs!) we just kind of got bored with public nudity and went for a nature hike.

SEXYYY.

Andddd that was our mini moon! It actually was super fun. We just laid around and read and ate junk food and drank bloody marys and I got legit tan and I cried on the ferry home because I didn’t want it to end and also I am a drama queen. As for the freakydeaky stuff, there’s always next time! I’ve heard that Thailand has lots of ladyboys and sex tourism so maybe we can re-try the racy lifestyle on that visit. I mean, we’ll probably just end up like, touring a historical museum or something but you never know! Anything could happen.

How do you say Meat Rack in Thai?!

Off to Google Translate I go! While I am gone, here are some (clothed!) photos from our lil trip if you should so care to see…and why wouldn’t you? It is a proven fact that everyone adores looking at photos of someone else’s romantic getaway.

 

 

xoxoxoxoxo Mz Hott

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

One Awkward/Awesome Day: Storm King Style

Hola amigos. First, I have to thank you all for the excitement and warm wishes re: Brian’s & my big news. (If you haven’t heard, we ended the government shutdown! JK we got engaged. Eleventy billion times more newsworthy.) We’re supremo excited round these parts!

Secondably, can we all just overlook the fact that I skipped my usual weekly recap last Friday? I have a few lame excuses that I’ll bore you with this Friday, so you can just start holding onto your seat righttttttt….now.

Meanwhile, I wanted to share more cool nooz: have checked another item off my 30 Before 30 List, holla! 2 Down, 28 to Go.

Last weekend, Brian and I visited Storm King Art Center, this amazing, gorgeous outdoor sculpture gallery about an hour north of New York City. Oh, we also got engaged there, so full disclaimer: I’ll start this as a 30 Before 30 / Travelogue post and then suuuper quickly veer into talking about how we came to be betrothed, so you’ve been warned. I really don’t want to become that girl who’s all like OMG I’M GETTING MARRRRRIED but also OMG I’M GETTING MARRRRRIED!  So I figured I could kind of sneak it in a bit? Also I’m aware that I have a short window of time where people still find this interesting before they’re like shut the H up, we get it already, SO I’ll just make the most of this before everyone gets sick of me.

Too late? No turning back now!

30 BEFORE 30: STORM KING; OR, HE LIKED IT & PUT A RING ON IT: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE: BASED ON THE REAL LIFE OF ELIZABETH HOBAGS

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I’m pretty sure I first learned about Storm King a few years ago while lightly stalking the facebook page of a very distant connection who has a cool life and decided it was a Must Visit Establishment if I’m ever going to embody the kind of cultured, hipster lifestyle I so dream of. If you would like to learn more about Storm King, visit their website and/or look at this sad batch of phone photos I managed to snap during the 11 minutes of our trip when my phone wasn’t dead (more on that saga below).

Basically blah blah it’s 1.5 hours north of NYC, you can get a discount if you drive up in a zipcar or you can take a bus. Great scenery. Foliage. Art. Etcetera, etcetera. Highly recommended, the end.

Now let’s get to the good stuff: ME!

We begin with a Lost style flashback to earlier this summer, as Brian and I are making the decision to wonen samen. I’m VERY into timelines, plans and attempting to control every aspect of my life – typically everything still totally falls down around me, but you can’t stop me from trying, world! We’d both agreed that, for us, moving in was a step on the path towards officially locking it DOWN and didn’t want to live together long before taking the next step. Basically, as I explained it to my mom, moving is a horrific nightmare and we wanted to get that whole scene over and done before making any other big decisions. We’d put “post Labor Day” as the basic timeline for when an engagement might occur, so true to form, the moment the clock struck midnight on Labor Day I was on HIGH ALERT.

We’d talked about engagement rings and though I knowwwww that engagement rings are ridiculous and paternalistic and basically just a marketing scheme by big diamond companies, and the path to our fingers is littered with the bodies of diamond miners… well, no DUH I still wanted one. (I seem to be like, equal parts angry modern feminist and deeply romantic traditionalist and have a feeling that the push-pull between these two dualling personas will be a recurring theme throughout this whole wedding planning process. That should be fun for everyone!) I do still maintain that it is absurd to spend a ton of money on an engagement ring (unpopular opinion alert!) but I mean, if Brian wants to buy me some nice jewelry and love me forever, well, I’m not going to say no to that. We didn’t want to go shopping together for a ring, that felt anti-climactic to us, but he still wanted my input on style, so I took an exploratory trip to a few jewelers in late August with my friend Kathleen, who then reported the findings to ole BriGuy.

And then…I waited. Ever so patiently, constantly touching up my nail polish, just in case. 

This was sort of a weird time for me, like, emotionally. I like to be the one making plans, taking control and felt like we were on the brink of a Life Event and I just had to sit back and let it happen.  Surprise, surprise, I think the idea of an “engagement” is sort of backwards and old fashioned – I think it is important for couples to discuss their future as a unit, to make plans together but then when it comes time for the official asking, the man is in charge? Oh hell naw! Butttt then when it came down to it: hell yes!

Brian told me early on that it was very important for him to do this, to propose, to buy a ring, to be the man with the plan and I wanted to honor that – gender parity is important and deciding things together are important, yes, but I guessss that occasionally letting go of the need to be in charge and allowing your partner to do what feels right for them is important too. So I sat back.

And I’m glad I did – in the moment when he asked me to marry him, I could see how happy he was – how happy we both were and it was the right choice for us.

But I’m getting ahead of myself!

Ok that Lost style flashback got long and unnecessarily dramatic. Just a small glimpse into the internal life of Liz Ho. A fun place to be!

So, now it is Sunday, October 6, 2013, skies over Brooklyn are misty and grey but we decide to take our trip nonetheless. By this point I am 99.4% certain that IT IS HAPPENING TODAY! Clues include: it is our only free weekend all fall, Brian has been extra specially nice to me all week and, most convincingly, he had rented the zip car for the day (pickup time: 8 AM!) weeks in advance. Love this guy, but planning in advance is not usually his M.O. I was prepared. I put together a semi-decent outfit, despite the weather and had SPRINTED to the nail salon at 5:01 PM on Friday for a preemptive mani so you can trust my nail game was on point.

We bundled up and picked up our car and the whole while I was giving Brian the old up and down, wondering where he might be stashing a ring. There were no box-sized bulges in the pockets of his jeans or coat…he’d brought along his school bag so I’d assumed it was in there, but he was being super casual and blase about the whole thing. I mean, I was mildly suspicious when he packed a bag in the first place, but it all made sense- he threw in an extra sweatshirt and dry socks, just in case, and tossed in some deli sandwiches, too – and he never acted like he was hauling precious cargo – he let me shove in some clothes of my own and at one point even asked me to hold it for him. I began to attempt to regulate my expectations to a normal level in the event that this was just a regular day trip after all, no life moments to be had, but we all know how great I am at operating in a relaxed emotional state so let’s just say I was buzzing like a bumble bee with a Zac Efron sized coke problem the entirety of our trip. (Too soon? Love you, Zac!)

Adding to my nervous state, my cell phone was once again breaking down. This was my second phone in two weeks, this time with a brand new battery, but I kept encountering the same issues I’d had in the past. Today was NOT the day for a phone break down. Not only is Storm King basically an Instagrammer’s wet dream, there was a chance I’d have to make some SERIOUSLY important phone calls!

So we wandered the park, checking out the sculptures, goofing around but neither of our heads was 100% in the game. Brian was trying to think on his feet of when and where to pop the big Q and, as I just mentioned, I was… let’s go ahead and say mildly preoccupied with both my phone and my naked ring finger. At one point we came upon my very favorite sculpture, this long, winding stone wall curving its way through the natural landscape to a gorgeous lake at the bottom of a wooded hill. We lingered and as we walked away, I mentioned to Brian how much I loved it. Also, at that moment, I managed to get my phone to re-start and pulled Brian back to the wall so I could snap some photos.

Brian was overjoyed with this plan, thinking it the perfect way to get me back to my favorite sculpture without arousing my suspicion but WAIT! We are foiled. Back at the wall we encounter a nice woman snapping a few photos. I strike up a convo and ask her to take our picture with my now functioning phone. She obliges:

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And informs us that she’s on site for a photography class and will be hanging around that wall alllllll afternoon snapping photos.

Thanks for ruining our perfect engagement, woman. I hope you get a big fat F in photo class.

Justttt kidding.

We ambled onward (do you like how I’m making this into like, the longest novel ever written of all time? Forget Infinite Jest, just read my blog!) and found ourselves in a sort of remote, secluded area towards the back of the park, with a few funky sculptures and tons of trees. Brian knew this was his moment, but just needed to distract me long enough to catch me off guard.

Luckily for him, I made it easy just by being my usual attention hog of a self – I spotted a statue of a gigantic head, like Easter Island, and ran towards it, yelling “Brian! Take my picture with this head!” I handed him my phone and struck a pose. Brian took a few snaps and handed me back the phone, and then it went a little something like this:

Brian: “This picture is awesome.”

Me, looking at the phone: “Yeah, it’s pretty good.”

Brian: “It’s really big!”

Me: “Yeah, the Samsung Galaxy has a really large screen (followed by several seconds of idiot chatter about Samsung Galaxy phones)

Brian: “No, I mean it’s awesome and big because it’s exciting, we’ll always remember this as the picture I took right before I asked you to marry me.”

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My memories after that are a little hazy – I cried, there was some one knee action, Brian said the nicest things a human has ever said to another human and I, of course, said yes.

The ring is perfect, a vintage Art Deco ring from 1939, gold and gorgeous and delicate. Brian said he’d had it for a month (!) and had been practicing opening the box so he could get it right.  All other fellas on the planet, good try, but ain’t nobody cuter than this guy. It’s a fact.

We excitedly called our parents, or tried anyway. I couldn’t get my mom on the phone – it turns out she was on a bike ride with her pals and out of service. I wanted to tell her before anyone else, so left about 73 frantic messages on her cell and at home and then my phone died, so I sent a few crazed texts from Brian’s phone. I finally managed to get mine up and running again on the drive home and sent my sister a series of absolutely bananas texts: “WHERE’S MOM?!” “I NEED TO TALK TO MOM! ALSO SIT BY THE PHONE! YOU KNOW WHY!” until my mom called and we got to share the big news. My phone then proceeded to die on regular intervals for the remainder of our trip and despite a super romantic stop at the TMobile store, met its ultimate demise a few hours after we got home, but allowed me just enough time to chat with my siblings, dad and a few pals.

I started making corny remarks about every single thing we did all night as being the first _________ as an engaged couple – our first sandwiches, first drive over a bridge, first bottle of water, first trip to the TMobile store…first time going to the bathroom. God bless Brian, y’all, he’s in for a long life.

And then we spent our first night AS AN ENGAGED COUPLE (!!!) sitting around our house in our underwear, eating Thai takeout and drinking fancy champagne. It was the perfect end to a perfect day – one that felt just right for us. There were no helicopters or flash mobs but just a little bit of adventure, a few mishaps, sandwiches, cheesy jokes, bathroom oversharing and pantslessness. All of my favorite things with my very, very favorite guy. I can’t wait for a lifetime of days just like this.

*** The end! Thanks for reading all of this! I know I tend to shy away from the heartfelt stuff but I can’t seem to help it thee days. #barf! I hope you might let me share, from time to time, our adventures on the marriage train. I promise this won’t become some boring wedding blog, believe me, the world needs another wedding blog like it needs another Mormon mommy blog (zing!) (which is to say millions more, love you, Mormon moms!) but I have a feeling there will be some major shenanigans along the way (aren’t there always?) and think it might be kind of fun to write through the process, especially working through those battling ideologies, as the Liz Ho who hates the Wedding Industrial Complex and the Liz Ho who has had Style Me Pretty bookmarked since her single days meet in the ring to duke it out. Let the next great adventure begin! ***

Another Awkward Week [8.30.13]

Guys, hi! How are you! It’s been awhile, what’s new?

I’m sitting here eating pickles and drinking wine and trying to come up with my usual witty (“witty”) Friday recap of the past week but coming up blankety blank sooo I’m just going to ramble on for a while about my vacation. How about that? Could get long. Could turn into a stream-of-consciousness word vomit but hey, it’s the Friday before Labor Day, were you really going to do any work anyway? Didn’t think so.  I figure, you could either read about Miley, Syria or whatever it is I’ve got going on so…your choice!

And letz begin.

So two weeks ago I took a  most magical All American Vacation with my boo (haha gross! What if I really called him that?). We visited my family in Pennsylvania, and took a quick road trip to the Shenandoah National Forest in Virginia for a few days of hiking and sleeping in a tent.  Here’s a few highlights from le trip:

1. In Lancaster County, even the pool clubs are barns:

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(I don’t mean to sound snide, I only tease ya cuz I love ya, Lancaster. Photo snapped during a fab afternoon  visiting my dad.)

2. Shenandoah National Forest is G to the Orge to the U to the S…that didn’t really work, did it? 

Anyway, as I was saying:

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G to the O to the…let it go, Liz. Let it go.

3. I’m not so great at taking self-timer photos:

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That’s a framer.

4. But AM pretty great at hiking. 

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One of the best days of our trip was spent climbing Old Rag Mountain in Virginia, a rocky peak which sounds like it was named after a used feminine hygiene product (sorry, but true) and which Tina Fey once climbed to impress a boy, a story she recounts in Bossypants aka My Bible.

At any rate, Mount Tampon is known for its stony face over which hikers must “scramble” to get to the summit. When I read about this in guide books I craved fluffy eggs…and then pictured goats kind of running around a rocky field. It couldn’t be that hard, I thought. Tina Fey did it. At night! I was somewhat wrong. The trail started as a sloping, gentle forest climb but quickly turned difficult. Blue painted arrows marked which way we should go and often they had us scaling down into tiny crevasses between giant boulders…or heaving ourselves over slippery rocks with no place for a solid foothold.

We made it to the summit and y’all, It felt BAD ASS. I’m sure it’s not even a three on a 1 – 10 scale of difficult hikes but for me, it was a pretty big one. Despite being thin and in decent shape, I tend to suffer from some poor self-image issues (thanks, Hollywood!) and fixate on flaws instead of actually appreciating my bod for all that it can do, but climbing Old Raggedy Andy made me put some things into perspective. There were moments when ahead of me lay bare rock and I had to somehow find a way to get my body up and over with nowhere easy to put my feet. I had to use my arms, my back, my legs and my brain and make them all work at once and I did it. I did it!  Often I lead the way in our twosome. I may not look like Giselle or Heidi Klum or Queen B but dang, I felt bold and I felt strong and it was really, really cool. I am hoping to maybe tackle a few even more difficult hikes in the future. Look out Everest!

Juuust kidding.

Also…

5. I’m Sweaty.

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So remember that terrible self image we were discussing? Let’s dig into that. I have always suffered from what shall henceforth be known as Sweaty Torso Syndrome or STS. When I am active, my stomach sweats. This is probably totally normal but because I am a crazy girl, I have always felt ashamed of this. My abs also tend to be my least flattering feature and I tend to fixate, to an unhealthy degree, on my tummular pooch (I was a vulnerable tween in the prime of the Britney years, how could I NOT be obsessed with flat bellies) and for that dumb reason I have always been extra insecure about sweating in my midsection. I have memories of summer soccer camps in high school in 100+ weather, and me slathering Secret Antiperspirant on my stomach because I’d rather smell like a rotten baby powder factory than be seen with a sweaty middle.

You guys, it is NOT GREAT being a teenage girl. Not great.

So flash forward 10 years older and zero wiser and here’s me and Brian, after a seriously strenuous hike and I should feel nothing but pride about this photo but I can’t stop fixating on my drenched tank.

I made this my profile pic on Facebook and had a cleverr poem written for the caption, read to the tune of On Top of Spaghetti:

On Top of Old Rag

All Covered in Sweat

Don’t Look at My Torso

It is Soaking Wet

But then I thought to myself: stop being self deprecating. You were hiking. You got sweaty. OWN IT. I deleted the caption and hit print.

Four minutes later my (well intentioned, I sincerely believe) cousin (hi Jamie!) (no hard feelings!) posted a comment asking if we were in a “mountain top wet t-shirt contest.”

No, dude, we just suffer from STS, big time and you know what? 16 year old Liz Ho would have probably hurled herself right OFF of Old Rag had anyone drawn such public attention to her sopping stomach but 28-for-two-more-weeks Liz Ho has decided to flaunt it.

On Top of Old Rag

My Torso is … Damp.

I Climbed a Fucking Mountain

Cuz I am a CHAMP!

6. Sleeping in the great outdoors? Over rated.

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This was our homesite for a few nights. See that clothesline? Made it myself using nothing but rope and trees. Pretty proud, guys. Prettty pretty proud. Anyway, we camped in Shenandoah for two nights (Big Meadow Campground, highly recommended, despite what I’m about to say) and I’d say we slept a collective 6 hours of sleep during those two evenings.

The first night we enjoyed a delightful dinner of cheeseburgers and macaroni salad and retired to our humble canvas abode when no sooner than we had zipped the tent closed did it start raining, and hard. I was convinced the tent was going to collapse upon us and drown us both and Brian was just trying to figure out logistically if he could unzip the tent enough to pee out the front window without letting in rain water and we both just laid there, awake, willing sleep, morning or death to come.

Spoiler alert: we lived.

The second night we were strategic: we were getting CRUNK. A light buzz would lull us into a delightful slumber and we’d wake up the next morning refreshed and revived.

We polished off a bottle of wine and a plethora of PBR’s (you can take the girl out of Brooklyn…) and checked off the” fall into a delightful slumber” part which worked until I woke up at about 1 AM with WICKED dry mouth and spent the rest of the night laying awake itching my 400 + mosquito bites and taking every sound to be a murderer while Brian lay wide awake beside me, having been up all night on a vigilant patrol for bears.

Next time, we’re staying at the lodge.

Why was Brian scurred of bears?

7. They’re Everywhere!

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That dark blob surrounded by professional graphic editing is a black bear, y’all. Live, up close and in the wild.

Pretty cool, huh?

Speaking of cool, did you know that

8. QUIZ on a triple letter score is a 66 point word.

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Just FYI. Here’s a snap of Brian getting BURNT.

Annnd then I lost the next 2 games in our Best of 3 competish but still: Q-U-I-Z, dude. Never forget.

And then we went back to PA and ate..

9. CHICKEN WINGS

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I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times. I love me some wings. So when my mom asked if we wanted to go catch a game of our local baseball team (obviously called the Barnstormers) on an all you can eat wings/ all you can drink Yuengling package, well, my chicken lovin’ Pennsylvania heart just about up and stopped.  And then started again and then actually stopped because between my brother and I we polished off this graveyard of wing bones:

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Disgusted? You should be!

We kept the All American Fat Kid trend going into the next day with a stop at

10. The Elizabethtown Fair

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I know I seem supremely cosmopolitan but my heart, which is deep fried like an Oreo, belongs in a small town. Our town has a designated Fair Ground where every August the finest in agriculture and teen moms congregate together for an event known as the E-Town Fair. There are cows and goats and a talent show and rides and cotton candy and funnel cakes and alllllll the people watching your judgey heart could desire and tractors. Did I mention tractors?

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And OHHH the milkshakes. About 100 years ago there was this agricultural collective known as The Grange Movement where some stuff involving farmers’ rights happened or something…I don’t know. We learned about it in history class but all I took away is this: the Grange Movement is still alive and well and making the BEST GODDAMN milkshakes you have ever tasted. Don’t try to contradict me, I don’t care if you come from Milkshake City, Capital of Milkshakeland on the planet Milkshake, you ain’t never had a shake til you’ve had a Grange shake, am I right, E-town readers, or am I right? (85% sure that none of my HS pals read this blergh so I’ll go ahead and answer for myself: I’M RIGHT!)

The fair happens every year on the last week of summer and when we were in middle and high school it was THE thing to do. This was pre cell phones and snap chat and One Direction and whatever the youths are up to these days, so every night we’d meet at a pre-ordained time in front of the tractor display. We’d all wear our new clothes that we bought for back to school because the REAL debut happened at the Fair, not in the hallways, and we’d spend the next several hours just circling the grounds in packs, again and again and again.

I hadn’t been in somewhere between six and 10 years but the second I stepped back on that midway I was rushed back to high school summers and we were so silly…but how fun was it?

I find I get especially nostalgic during summertime. Is it just me?

Brian was XXXXtra cute during the fair, his first, he was like a kid in a candy shop.

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If by candy you mean gigantic stalks of corn.

Also cute, this prayer station, where we picked up a pamphlet with advice on how to love Jewish people.

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Good old LanCo, getting more open minded by the century.

Whoa. I feel like it might be time to shut this down, I think I’ve done and gone wrote a novel! One thing I just realized din’t make the narrative somehow was a fantastic BBQ with my extended family, most of whom were meeting Brian for the first time. I have to give a shout out to all my Aunts, who I know read this (hi guys!!!) and are hilarious and wacky and who I thought might do something crazy with Brian just for fun, like sing or pretend to interrogate him or … who knows. But they were all totally cool and charming and normal and it went GREAT! Not like I would have blamed them if they had, you KNOW when my future nieces and nephews and children start bringing home dates I’ma embarrass the heck out of them and then probably write a blog about it, because I’m nice like that.

Don’t worry, Aunts, we can make him sing at Family Christmas!

Annnd that’s what’s been going on round these parts. What have YOU been up to? Loving the Jews? Twerking? Overcoming STS? As always you know I’d love to hear about it. PS I just accidentally deleted literally this entire post – when I typed that capital “A” at the start of “As always, instead of hitting shift-A I h it control A and then delete for some reason and hoooooooly shit I thought we were a goner here but I saved it. I saved it!

Let’s get this weekend started IMMEDIATELY. Hope yours is sweaty and delightful!

xoxo Liz Ho

Some Awkward/Awesome Travel Tips

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In case the 146 billion degree temps + fireworks + corn on the cob haven’t tipped you off: summer is upon us. It’s here, drink beer, get used to it.

Summer + travel often go hand in hand, hence the term Summer Vacation, so I thought I’d toss out a few fun travel tips to help take your summer trip from zero to hero. These tips are also applicable to fall, winter and spring vacations – timeless travel tips, that’s what I aim for.

But listen. I’m not going to tell you how to dress or how to efficiently pack a suitcase or what to read or eat on a plane or any of that jazz, you already know that and if you don’t, you can flip to the latest and greatest issue of Real Simple and they’ll hook you right up. No,  thought I’d share some special, supplemental travel tips that will have you the star and hero of your own vacation, making the most out of any trip whether you’re headed to Little Rock, Arkansas or Paris, France or somewhere in between.

You’re welcome in advance!

  • Always wear good underwear when flying. You never know what those full body scanners might show up and if, God forbid, your plane crashes and you end up in some kind of Lost island scenario, you’re going to want to be looking and feeling your sexy best.
  • Speaking of underwear: always have an extra pair in your carry-on and pack three times the amount you think you might need for your trip. You can never be too prepared when it comes to underbusiness.
  • Don’t bother bringing toiletries when staying with friends, it’s fun to use other people’s stuff.
  • DO bring toiletries when staying at a hotel, you can never guarantee the quality of the free products. That said, if they are high quality, obviously and no duh, stock up.
  • If your hotel has a continental breakfast, it is your duty to go back for thirds and fill your bag with leftovers.
  • When going on a road trip, make your companion drive 93% of the time.
  • Always bring your exercise clothes. Never use them.
  • Sneak a razor onto a plane by hiding in the running shoes you’re bringing but not using. Yes, you might get caught and shipped right off to Guantanamo buttttt it’s a risk you have to be willing to take not to have to buy razors at resort prices.
  • If your travel destination has a special local cocktail, just drink it. No questions asked. And order another round.
  • Same goes for food – whether it’s chicken fried steak or boiled monkey brains, just try it! As the youths say: YOLO.
  • To be frugal, pack your lunches.
  • To experience the best of local culture, eat at all of the finest restaurants.
  • To get the most bang for the all of your money, do both: pack a lunch, eat it by 11:05 AM and then hit up a fine dining establishment an hour later. By the transubstantiatial property of 2 x 2 = 4, you’ll be four times happier and t is a proven fact that credit card debt doesn’t count when you’re on vacation, so just go for it.
  • Don’t wear a string bikini in the ocean unless you’re prepared to go accidentally full-frontal at least once.
  • Pack a lot of bandaids. You never know.
  • Take 70 billion photographs. Upon your return, print them out and invest in a fancy scrapbook. Keep the photos in a box for 6 + years and eventually just throw the scrapbook out.
  • Before you travel, watch a movie set wherever you’re going and then reenact scenes all over town. The cheesier the better. (See photo above of a pal & I reenacting a pivotal scene from the Mary Kate & Ashley CLASSIC Passport to Paris in the Luxembourg Gardens, circa 2006.)
  • Send postcards! It’s cute and makes someone’s day. Write dirty stuff on the back and make the postman’s day, too.
  • It’s 5 O’clock somewhere
  • Two Words: Sun Block
  • Two More Words: Aloe Vera
  • If you’re travelling by bus, don’t change your entire outfit, including bra and underpants in the bus bathroom while en-route, even if you’re on the way to see your new long-distance boyfriend for the first time and you want to be as fresh and sexy as possible. Just take my word on this one.
  • And finally, do your best not to be a crazy stress monster even if that is your natural state of being. Your job – that’s back at home. You missed a connecting train? Get drunk at the station bar. Trip not working out exactly as you envisioned it in your brain all these weeks – that’s ok! Slow down, go with the flow and enjoy it as it is. You can get right back on the anxiety bus the second you get home but for now, you’re on vacation. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

And there you have it.  Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a top notch vacation at any destination.

Now your turn! What do you think makes a perfect vacation even perfecter? That’s a word now, just roll with it.

Happy Summer, my fine friends!