Wednesday, November 16, 2016

eb takes europe: my london photo diary

I went to Europe. That doesn't even seem real. It's like I'm going through all these photos from somewhere else or something, I'm not sure.

It's true though. A year ago, I found out the Redskins were playing in London and laughed when someone said we should go. Then I realized the timing was perfect, and if I could convince someone to make the journey with me, I needed to make it happen.

On Halloween weekend, I headed straight to England, or Great Britain, or the UK.. or WHATEVER THE EFF THEY WANNA BE CALLED, to start a weeklong journey that would eventually end in Ireland.

Where the hell do I even begin?

The flight was 7.5 hours and so much easier than I anticipated [maybe because of the free booze and movies, I'm not sure], and once we got to the city and arrived in Brixton, where we were staying, there were people dressed up everywhere. They were more spooky than in the states, though. Make-up seems to be a bigger deal than the costume itself. It was 10:00 and the streets were rowdy... so I was quick to change into my costume.

Hi, I'm Britney's comeback. Duh. Not only did I GET TO MEET HER, but she's had such an amazing year. One side is the night she cut her hair off, one side is her Billboard Awards performance. It may not be the most well-done costume I've ever done but the fact that I got it done and got it to London is a feat within itself. [Shout out to my Mommom who helped me sew the main parts together so it would stay!]

By the time we got out, though... it was sloppy. In fact, the main impression I have of London is the first impression I had in Brixton- people smashing bottles everywhere, not being able to walk but being completely alone in the middle of the street for some reason, awkward fights, and lots of cigarettes. Unfortunately, I've since learned that it's not the best place to stay, but ya live and ya learn. 


Being in a completely different continent where they don't really love football like we do, there was no way to have expectations for how it would go... but I imagine it was kinda like being at the Super Bowl. There were all different kinds of fans there, not just people rooting for the Redskins or the Bengals. And there were a LOT of people there.

The stadium was beautiful, the people were friendly [unless they were taking extra money from me without me knowing because ya know- pounds are tough], and we had some pretty sweet seats thanks to meeting Nick Sundberg, Redskins long snapper, a few weeks before. We were a part of the popular crowd- sitting with all the players' families.

It was unfortunate that the Bengals were technically the home team, but I wouldn't say they had more fans than us... nor did they have more talent.

Oh. A freaking tie. My first NFL tie was all the way in London. I guess that just checks off one more bucketlist item, or something. We celebrated by greeting Nick and then downing a lot of pints with funny people with cool accents. Turns out- the NFL IS smart. British people really are starting to fall in love with the sport!

The fantastic Nick Sundberg!

I took the first pic when we kicked the field goal.... that wasn't good.... so.... that's awkward.

Day two in London- I learned that drinking too much of their beloved ciders while dealing with jet lag isn't smart. Migraine took over, and I didn't get out of bed until noon. THIS IS NOT OKAY. *CUE PANIC ATTACK, POP SOME PILLS, GET OUTSIDE IMMEDIATELY.*

Brixton during the day was pretty cool- a lot of markets to walk through, fun graffiti, and THE David Bowie memorial. People were stopping by with all kinds of flowers and gifts that the homeless people probably steal in honor of David.

Did you know London is a pretty big place? There's a lot to see... and not just from the top of a double decker bus or inside a telephone booth that has since been turned into a wifi hotspot/pee stall combination.

When doing my presearch for the trip, everyone kept saying to do picnics for lunch. While walking through a street market, we ordered some french food to eat in front of Buckingam Palace, which makes total sense except not really. It was neat to sit on some dirty stairs and watch people take all the selfies. It might even be my new favorite past time... just watching the possible captions cycle through in their head.

With limited time after that [damn you, Daylights Savings], a bus and quick walks over the bridges was the best option before stupidly talking politics with businessmen in an English pub. Just when I thought they'd all think we were insane for letting Trump run, they say THEY LIKE HIM. I guess that should have been my first wake up call.

The biggest shocker of London: The prettiest bridge they have.... it's NOT London Bridge! It gives you a view of the very boring London Bridge... but it's actually Tower Bridge. I forgive them for this confusion because I assume the original London Bridge that fell was extra great and because Tower Bridge was my favorite spot in London.

 As for our home in London/Brixton, it was a cute little apartment with antique pieces everywhere. It was their home that they left for a few days while we took it over, which made things a little more awkward... but with super easy access to the Underground/metro system, it was perfect. Plus, look at the keys! They actually use keys like in the movies or fantasy lands! [CLICK THEM if you wanna see more of where we stayed.

There's a lot more that I missed within the city... but it was time to move on. Traveling within the countries in Europe is ridiculously easy. It's easier to travel within their countries than it is for us to travel within states or cities. LESSON LEARNED: Don't book a train ticket last minute. Like flights, they go up in price. We got a quick train to Paris for $180, but had to sit between the cars in fold down seats. It gets better when you just go drink in the food cart the whole time, though.

The beautiful train station // Our peasant seats vs. the drink car
 As for Paris- It was so much better than I anticipated, but more on that later Mr/Miss Impatient.

Right now I wanna take the time to point out how rude it was for the beers/ciders in London to tell me I can't drink as much as the boys. How dare you.

Although.... I did say too many ciders caused me to have a migraine so maybe I should just shut up right now....


PS... is the *we* and *us* and *our* sticking out to anyone else? It's weird, but it's true. There's an us now. I still struggle with the whole talking-about-that and sharing-too-much thing because... well.... relationships will always scare the s#!* out of me. This is a big step. That is all for now. You can stalk and learn more yourself. I feel awkward right now. okay bye.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

some things have been growing around here....

If you thought this was gonna be about a growing stomach or family or something, shame on you. We've been through this before. FIVE CONDOMS, remember?!?

There's no need for a build up here. The thing that's been growing is my career. I never thought I'd come to the point where I'm not making HUGE ANNOUNCEMENTS every time I make an advancement, but I'm here. I've been given some opportunities that I've just let happen without throwing a #ELIZABETHANYTAKESOVERTHEWORLDPARTY. [Mostly because that hashtag is like.. WAY too long.]

In non-chronological order..

If you live in Cleveland, you can now listen to me every night! WAKS/96.5 KISS FM has added me to their line-up at the most exciting time- when the Indians are in the World Series! It's pretty hard to jump right into a city that is literally lit up right now, but it's exciting and it's a total honor to be picked out of A TON of fantastic national talent.

If you live in Baltimore, you can now watch me every Tuesday on FOX45! It may or may not have been obvious when I went to school for TV news and made this awful resume tape that I've always wanted to do SOMETHING with TV, so I've been hoping for an opportunity in every market I've been in. FINALLY.... I totally killed off Rob Kruz in Baltimore and taken his spot with Candace Dold and The Buzz segment every Tuesday at 8:45am.

You should know, though... I'm normally at the station til after midnight Mondays, then need to leave for Baltimore at 7am Tuesdays, so this could get really interesting. Day one came with a wardrobe malfunction because getting dressed in the dark is tough, I guess. Luckily, I caught it just in time.

And last, but total opposite of least.... Ever since I joined the iHeartRadio team, I've had one specific goal in mind: Being a part of what we insiders call "Premium Choice." It's basically syndication... and a few of the best talents get picked to record shows that will be heard of several stations throughout the country. [The other shows I do in Vegas, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, and Atlanta are each prerecorded so I can really personalize them!]

I got an email a couple months ago from the guy in charge of it and teared up so hard. The whole time I thought I was going to have to do an interview of sorts but I was clearly delusional- interviews rarely happen in radio. They already knew they wanted me for an overnight show. [!!!!!!!] The amount of stations that will hear this show will [hopefully] continue to grow, but as of Monday you'll be able to hear me in Raleigh, NC, Allentown, PA, and a little town in Mississippi!

There was this weird moment I had while sharing some of this news at the bar last Friday night.... I'm not even sure if there's a way to explain it. For so long, I've worked so hard... and lately I've felt that my work ethic hasn't been as obvious as it always was in the past. I haven't flaunted it or been all over social like I'd like to be. I haven't been producing videos that are like "SOOOO FUNNY AND OMG I LOVE WHAT YOU'RE DOING." I've just been focusing on the show, the music, and the things that need to get done. Apparently, it's working. The moment of feeling relief, pride, and my brain finally getting a second to untangle itself... it provided a 1.3 second breakdown until I quickly pulled myself together again.

There's another thing, though.... I've had to say goodbye to being on the air in Albany. Saying no or turning down an opportunity or walking away from one- it's not me... but when you feel your body shutting down because you've taken on too much, you should listen to it. You don't have to do THE MOST, to be THE BEST. [It's something I'm still trying to get myself to believe.]

Heyzeus, I sound SO 29 1/2 years old right now.

And with that, I realize I'm way behind on tonight's to-do list and I'd really like to reward myself with an episode of How to Get Away With Murder and a glass of wine tonight, so.. BYE.

GLASS OF WINE?! Maybe I should be scared of what 30 will do to me... I might want a wedding or something weird. 


Friday, October 21, 2016

interview: comedian hannibal burress talks about... body parts

Hannibal Burress was a name I would have never known before the Bieber roast.... but I loved him from then on. I've thought we kinda have the same style in telling stories, without putting too many bells and whistles in there.

Did I just say bells and whistles?!? HOW OLD AM I?!?!

I was pumped to have a comedian come in to the show. It's different and there are a lot less expectations... plus I had unlimited time to chat, as far as I was concerned. So we chatted, joked, got extremely ADD, kept chatting, laughed, and it kept going for a long time.

As usual when I talk to someone who is also open to talking about their sex life, there's a lot of talk about body parts. Turns out, when you're famous, body parts just show up in your DMs ALL THE TIME! AND THEY'RE NOT EVEN BAD!

He had no problem talking about the biddies he hooks up with, and totally called out a girl in San Jose who was trying to sneak some selfies. Idiot girl.

There was also an educational portion, of course. Hannibal had no idea "sex trees" exist! They do. They're Callery Pear trees.

And for my fellow radio/entertainment peeps, it starts out talking about how to plan what to talk about- which I LOVED.

To be honest, I had no idea how people would receive him on my show. Did a lot of people know his name? Would they like it? I played one clip and posted a pic, and everyone was obsessed! So, thanks to Hannibal for giving me an entire show's worth of things to play. You da bomb.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

watch/listen: public shaming myself

 I have something to admit: I'm ADD... and extremely forgetful.

Oh wait, you knew that. duh.

Some people forget and for some reason, they expect a lot out of me. They expect me to remember little things and they're shocked when I don't.

Case #847632: I forgot to turn my gas/fire stove off.

HELL YEAH, I'm worried about myself. HELL YEAH I know it's not okay... but like, that's not gonna prevent me from doing it again, unfortunately.

I went a step further to call my mom on the show to possibly get more punishment.... Mama Plog is a worry wart.

I'd say she has about 50% faith in me in life. She actually freaked out WAY MORE once we hung up and she got back on Facebook. I don't think she'll ever learn that I just can't help the way she made me.



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

photo diary: iheartradio music festival 2016

*This is gonna be a long one. I'm treating it like my diary... and a way to motivate myself [and maybe others] in the future if I'm ever feeling down.*

Truth: Every year in September, I watch a ton of my coworkers and idols and big bosses head out to Vegas for our iHeartRadio Music Festival, have the time of their lives, meet each other, be merry, watch incredible performances, and post all of their pictures to accomplish what I assumed was their only goal: to make me extremely jealous. The FOMO really turned into a physical pain last year and I decided no matter what, I was going next year.

More truth: Not many people get "picked" or awarded trips out there from the company. We're amongst the peasants to find our way out there, buy tickets, etc. That's what I had to do. I bought a solo ticket, planned on dancing alone in the crowd, and hoped I'd be able to hustle my way backstage or at the very least- find a friend. No matter how many friends from home offered to come along, I knew I needed to make this about networking and didn't want the baggage.

Turns out- Being in Vegas alone is weird. Luckily, everyone's drunk and if you're out early enough, you'll find people to talk to who haven't gotten to the belligerent and creepy level yet. That's what I did on Thursday before dinner.

Anyone who has come to me [or maybe didn't ask but I gave it anyway] for career advice, I've always said networking is the biggest thing.. and not just "good to meet you," but also genuinely keeping in touch with them. Thanks to doing this, I was invited to dinner with some VIPs in iHeartMedia. Next thing I know, we're doing porrons, which looks a lot like awkwardly pouring olive oil in your mouth.

Yeah, we keep it real professional 24/7 in this biz.

From there, I got the invite to check out the club everyone talks about in Vegas, and where Tiesto has his residency- Hakkasan. Suddenly I'm sitting behind the opening DJ, sipping on drinks and looking like a kid who just got a gift they couldn't even dream of under the Christmas tree.

Day two was actually day one for most people, and for the festival. After a slow recovery [turns out it's possible for me to get a handicapping hangover], I head to another dinner that I luckily got invited to by simply mentioning to someone that I didn't know what was going on. They called their people who set me up with free food, drinks, chats with Martin Garrix and Tinashe, and more networking.

At one point, this convo happens:
Me: My bosses all took bets on what would get me arrested first, and it's probably gonna be a restraining order from Britney Spears. 
Big wig at RCA Records: Do you like her or something? 
Me: *complete shock* I. LOVE. HER. 
RCA: Well, have you ever met her? 
Me: *eyes start watering up* No I don't know if I could even handle that. Don't say that. 
RCA: What if I could make it happen? 
Me: No, really, don't tease me. *more tears* I need to mentally prepare for something like that.
He looked like he was gonna be up to something, but I couldn't count on it. It was time to head to the show, anyway.

As I'm walking there with friends in the biz, we run into the right person carrying a pocket full of passes. He says hello, asks if we wanna go backstage, and HOLY HELL I'M GOING BACKSTAGE JUST LIKE THAT.

Seriously y'all, I knew I would have to hustle hard and it COULD happen, but I really didn't think it would on night one.

Charlamagne tha God
Being back there was surreal. It was Jingle Ball on ecstasy. Celebs EVERYWHERE. Bosses EVERYWHERE. People I knew I had to meet EVERYWHERE. It was gametime. There was no holding back. I decided I would say hello to everyone I could, and I did. I talked to the program directors of other radio stations. I talked to other on air personalities that I've looked up to [the amount of times I told Charlamagne tha God that he's brilliant = 12, at least]. I talked to the freaking CEO of iHeartMedia like it was nothing. I just walked right up to him with my hand out, introduced myself, and thanked him for letting me be a part of a company that puts on such an incredible event.

I mention talking to these people before anyone else because it was meeting the fellow iHeart people that gave me such a high. Every time I introduced myself and they had heard my name before, I was stunned. My boss here in DC walked up and could tell I was happier than I had ever been in my entire life, and she was right. I was living in a dream that I never thought was possible.

But of course, there were the celebs. The artists, the reality stars... THE OLYMPIANS. I've gotten in trouble before for being in the way, so I made sure I was never doing that, but I seized the freaking moments and said hello/got a selfie with everyone I could.

Skeery Jones, Elvis Duran Show
John Ivey, PD of KIIS in LA

Laurie Hernandez + Ben and Lauren from The Bachelor
Scooter Braun, Bieber [and more] manager
Carla Marie and Anthony from Seattle

I was hanging with Raven, another fellow night chic out of Minneapolis, and just kept telling her we had nothing to lose. We're either going to fangirl from afar over everyone, or we're gonna be their friends.. OR we're gonna fangirl to their face and have a good story to share. If we're not doing any of the above, none of this would have been worth it. It became the motto of the weekend. 

I genuinely can't even explain the feeling I had beyond bliss and pride. I had a pride in myself that I'm not sure I'd ever had, and I hadn't even done any actual work! It was just a successful night of meeting everyone. Then we got to hang behind Martin Garrix, and next to Miley Cyrus + Liam Hemsworth. It was tough, but I let them live their life without bothering them... plus I was mesmerized by Garrix, the huge moving circles in the middle of the club, and the fact that Zedd showed up to show love and just stood in the corner of the booth jamming along. I LOVE mutual respect within any business; there's nothing sexier. 

Come Saturday morning, well noon, I was still drunk and getting ready for the Daytime Village. I have a reputation to live up to: Party all the time, have fun, and do it all again. Seriously. Professional reputation that I mentioned being proud of before....

A couple dozen people were chillin and eatin and enjoying even more music when I get the text from RCA: "Be at the venue no later than 6."

PANIC FREAK OUT @#*($@#&$*@#&$^&@

Rush back, get ready, and tear up the entire way there. Then tear up in the hall. And this is not like me. I won't pretend like I don't get a little starstruck sometimes, because I do... but when I said I'd cry while meeting Britney I didn't think it would really happen.... til it did. BUT WHO CARES I MET HER. She called me baby and did this interesting "mouth pose," as my friend said. 

I walk out to find Jordan Fisher, who I absolutely adore, and I'm shaking and freaking out and he's just laughing at me and trying to calm me down.... until John Stamos and Taylor Lautner walk by. What do I do? I walk in front of them and yell HI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *pause* Uhhh... that's it! Just wanted to say hi!!!!!! *another pause and awkward smile* John laughs, says an Uncle Jesse hi, and they walk around me. 

There's Jordan again, laughing... Wishing someone had caught the moment on Snap or something. It was clearly going to be a very awkward night. 

Saturday night was another night of networking [with a much more awkward touch, but I still owned it as much as I could without being medicated...] and trying to get into the super special invite-only after party. Everyone talked about it all weekend. It was my main goal and I let everyone I talked to know it.

JoJo the Bachelorette, Becca from Bachelor, and Dr. Oz!!

Big D, afternoons on 95.5 the Bull, and Raven from KDWB
At one point, out of nowhere, someone walks up and hands me a pass to get in. Just like that. BAM. WHAT IS HAPPENING AND HOW DID THIS ALL COME TRUE?!? I'm not trying to ask any questions out loud that other people might be wondering in their minds.

Here I am, in a Vegas club, in a booth... with a few coworkers, a few people I've idolized, and then Ryan Seacrest and Lil Jon in the booth right next to us. I feel like some of this sounds so non-chalant, and to some people it was, but I was freaking out on the inside. I'm STILL freaking out. It was almost like an out of body experience [and no- not because of Vegas' beverage of choice for once].

A week later, I've been working on this post for several days, but there's always more that I'm thinking about... and SO many thank you notes that I'm working on sending through snail mail because handwritten notes are the best notes... and again, if you're not going to keep in contact and really stay friends with these people, what was the point?! [Well, beyond a bomb ass time in Vegas and stories that'll take over an entire night if someone asks me how it went...]

Once again, I went on a trip where I was technically alone, and came out learning so much and feeling so motivated. Don't be afraid to travel alone. Well, you can be afraid, but don't let it hold you back. When you do something that scares or intimidates you and then really follow through with it, the reward is that much better.

This post should end here. I should really learn to STFU sometimes.... but also, I shouldn't. Talking got me here and it's gonna get me to wherever my future is waiting. Still, I'm done. for now. Right after I share some more pictures/views from Snapchat so you get the whole vibe in case you were also way too drunk and missed it.