the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Brokeback banana

This post is sponsored by Banana Republic which is pretty daring of them considering what you are about to see. Sadly, my butt had nothing to do with it.



Yeah. That’s a car. A branded car. A branded car covered in a turquoise floral pattern. On purpose. Like, it didn’t go through some shady car wash in a bad part of town and come out the other side with a rash. No. Someone meticulously applied that design to its entire exterior. Someone who’s probably gay and very proud of his work.

Over Memorial Day weekend I headed up to Park City with some friends including Tyrant and Dane to spend a few days in various states of relaxation. My ad network had approached me a few weeks earlier with an opportunity to work with Banana Republic to celebrate the release of their new Milly Collection, and let’s just say that you will totally understand why Tyrant and Dane needed to be a part of this trip:


Can you spot the gay man? It took me a few hours to find him. He is the part of the car that’s smiling. Wait. The whole car is smiling. It’s singing opera, in fact. And it’s totally judging your hair.

I’ve joked quite a bit about how we’re a traveling circus, the lot of us. Now imagine us in this car driving through Park City, Utah. I would forget that we were inside this thing until the cars around us would honk or almost hit a tree. People on the sidewalk would stop and stare with their mouths wide open, shaking their heads. At one stoplight I suggested that Dane take his shirt off, stand up through the sunroof and swing it over his head, but I realized, wait. Then people might think that there are homosexuals in this car.

Quick side note: Dane’s younger brother Dylan joined us for the weekend, and on Friday afternoon Dane picked him up in his high school parking lot IN THIS CAR. Dylan had no idea what was happening, only that this THING had pulled up and his brother was screaming his name through the driver’s side window. Dylan is now currently being treated for post traumatic stress disorder.

When we were brainstorming ideas for something recreational to do, the idea of mountain biking got thrown out and I immediately thought of everyone in unflattering bike shorts and helmets and those gross biking shoes that look good on no one’s feet. Ew. Yuck. No. We needed something as photographically brilliant as that car. And then it hit me:



Had Jake Gyllenhaal been wearing that shirt this movie would have totally won the oscar.

The weather is notoriously awful in Utah during Memorial Day weekend, usually raining or snowing or a combination of both. But this year it could not have been more magnificent. Saturday afternoon we headed up to Red Pine Adventures to set out on a 90-minute horseback ride up through the hills around The Canyons ski resort.




Joining us was Dylan, Dane’s mother Jenny, one of Dane’s closest friends Natalie, and our guide Roger.






I don’t remember who was on which horse, there was one named Pilgrim and one named Top Gun and some others whose names I forget, but of course they stuck me on the horse named Deuce.




Dooce on Deuce.

Yes, you are totally allowed to make a poop joke.

So I guess this is the thing about horses… much like chickens and dogs they have a natural pecking order, and I was warned that when we set out Deuce was going to try to fall in line RIGHT behind our guide. He doesn’t hang toward the back of the pack, and that’s totally fine with me. Good for you, Deuce. Way to be assertive. That’s the kind of personality trait I like in a 1,200-pound animal who poops as he walks and doesn’t even stop to see how big it is.

(1,200-pound animals don’t poop little poops, Dad. I knew you were wondering.)

If you haven’t ever been horseback riding, oh my god, there is so much you need to know. One, yeah. They poop while they are walking. Maybe even mid-trot. Just right there in the middle of the path. They have no discretion or dignity whatsoever. They don’t care who’s behind them or whether or not we can all see that they had a whole bunch of corn earlier.

Two, if your horse doesn’t like my horse and my horse keeps nudging your horse in the butt with his nose, your horse could just, you know, kick my horse in the face. This totally happened. Boom. Horseshoe right in the kisser. And instead of wailing or falling to his knees or calling an ambulance, he was like, FINE. I will stop sticking my head up your butt, PILGRIM.

It’s like gang culture.

Three, you’re going to experience an irresistible urge to make sound effects whenever your horse does something unexpected. Deuce would start trotting and I found myself going, “PUTT, PUTT, PUTT, PUTT, PUTT.” Tyrant grew up around horses and he was like, “What are you doing?” and I didn’t even know I was doing it. Deuce slipped on a rock in a stream and suddenly I was yelling, “NEEEEiiiiiiiGHHHhhhhhhHHH!” It just started spewing from my face. I couldn’t help it. When we pulled into a clearing to take a break Dane was like, dude. You’re more embarrassing than the car.




Four, THE PAIN. I can’t even describe… you guys know I work out a lot, right? I’ve mentioned this a few times, and I went into this activity thinking, ain’t no horse worse than a 60-minute session with my trainer. I swing kettle bells and fire off four sets of burpees and do weighted lunges the length of a football field. This ride will be nothing compared to that. Famous last words, my friend. More famous than, “I wonder what will happen if I set fire to this can of aerosol hairspray.”

My knees started to ache about five minutes into the ride, and then the pain started to shoot up my thigh and down into my shin. Thirty minutes later I thought, hm. This is one of those instances when having a bony butt does not come in handy. As opposed to all the other instances when a bony butt is just the handiest thing ever. It can slice tomatoes, for example.

An hour into the ride I could hear moaning from various corners of the group. Everyone was in pain. Everyone was grinning on the outside and on the inside thinking, “I am never going to be able to walk again.” I was using a breathing technique I had read about in a textbook when I was studying natural childbirth, turning the pain into oxygen and expelling it through my mouth. Yes. It was a hippy textbook.

When Roger told us we had about ten minutes until we were back at the ranch Dane couldn’t take it anymore. He shouted from the back of the pack, “MY BUTT IS SO SORE!”

That’s when I told everyone I knew exactly what the title of this post was going to be.






A couple of hours later we were settled into a room at Stein Eriksen Lodge up at Deer Valley. Listen, I know. I am a spoiled mommyblogger who gets to stay at expensive resorts and dress in free clothes and drive around in homosexual vehicles. How can I possibly relate to the average person when… wait. Hold on. My butler just walked in. He’s telling me that the caviar I had imported from Russia finally arrived. Phew! What else was I going to feed the dogs tonight?




You know what the best part about my job is? Other than the fact that it pays my bills and feeds my kids… other than the fact that I am lucky to have one… those are very awesome parts as is the male strip club downtown that keeps sending me free coupons. The best part is that I get to share so much of it with the wonderful people in my life.







This is what happens when you have someone like me on a caveman diet and someone like Dane who will only eat something if it is organic and believes that the chemicals in most food were put there by evil covert agencies to program our brains.



You get gluten-free pasta and free-range, very tenderly raised turkey sausages.


Hey everyone, meet Joseph, one of Tyrant’s close friends, and now one of mine, too. And not just because he gave me two free tubes of the most fabulous mascara.


It was the mascara and this outfit.


NOTE: This outfit was not brought to you by Banana Republic.

Well, I guess they were “wonderful people in my life” until they broke out the civilization-building game.



The what? YEAH. You just moaned, too, right?


Of all the games we could play it had to be about building settlements and cities and stockpiling grain? Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s because the first serious boyfriend I ever dated started to play civilization building games online for 20 HOURS A DAY which of course prevented him from maintaining gainful employment, and now I have a bitter taste in my mouth. But who wants to have to collect sheep and ore and bricks to build roads and then settlements and see? Already it’s too complicated and asdna KSJdvdkvfmRRllmsfaksfjiafjs,..,,. I fell asleep typing this.


Worst game ever.

Until I figured out that it was just a simple game of math. And then I won.


I totally won. Best game ever.

Okay, technically “I” didn’t win. We were on teams. My team won. I got paired up with this guy:


But that’s another story for another time.


This post is brought to you by Banana Republic. Visit for the hottest summer fashion trends.

  • Suebob

    2013/06/03 at 9:39 am

    You don’t need a bony butt to be miserable on a horse. I rode a mule at my heaviest and had to do the childbirth breathing too, and I wasn’t even trained in it.

  • Kristi K.

    2013/06/03 at 9:43 am


  • Becky

    2013/06/03 at 9:44 am

    Thanks for all the laughs….:-)
    Joseph lives in Vegas right? 😉

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/06/03 at 9:45 am

    Joseph IS Vegas.

  • Tom

    2013/06/03 at 9:49 am

    Hello, new boyfriend, nice to meet you!

  • TheAndreaK

    2013/06/03 at 9:53 am

    Pro tip for riding horses: take two ibuprofen and one aleve BEFORE you even get on the horse. I don’t like to load up on unnecessary medications/chemicals but it saves you a ton of pain while on the horse and after.

  • Ann Snyder Rishell

    2013/06/03 at 9:55 am

    Great and hilarious! Love the car!

  • Heidi

    2013/06/03 at 10:00 am

    Awesome! Looks like a really fun weekend! What a hoot! Also, delighted to see a blog-introduction to Mr. Ray-Ban.

  • Sue

    2013/06/03 at 10:04 am

    This post screams HAPPY. Like, Heather is happy. HAPPY is hard won. Glad you’re feeling it.

  • Liesel

    2013/06/03 at 10:05 am

    Oh you are such a jerk. I recognized some pics from his IG feed and thought for sure you’d address it. Damn you.

  • Casey

    2013/06/03 at 10:10 am

    I think this is one of my favorite Dooce posts of all times. I love what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Mommyblogging rules. Good work.

  • Nicole Morgan

    2013/06/03 at 10:11 am

    Last trip to Carmel was to ride horses up mountains, like huge mountains compared to the flatness which is FL, because really … landfills don’t count. But the pain, and my butt is not even bony. Pinot Noir was more effective than Aleve.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/06/03 at 10:13 am

    Thank you for this. I really appreciate it. I try my hardest to make everything work, and I’m so glad you like it.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/06/03 at 10:18 am

    They offer a half-day tour and I was like, wouldn’t that be a Gilligan’s Island kind of thing where no one comes back alive? How… I mean… I may need hypnosis to stop the pain in my thighs.

  • Tracy

    2013/06/03 at 10:28 am

    catan!! I LOVE catan!!!

  • Jared

    2013/06/03 at 10:29 am

    Story for another time?!?!?!?!? How about a story for RIGHT NOW!!! I’m entitled to know everything when I want to know it. I kid. I kid. Great post and you looked wonderful in that dress.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/06/03 at 10:30 am

    Yes, Catan! I love it now!

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/06/03 at 10:30 am

    Thank you. I’m not used to wearing dresses, so I was worried a bit.

  • The Absent Minded Housewife

    2013/06/03 at 10:31 am

    Okay…just what does the mascara man do to get legs like that?

  • Former fan

    2013/06/03 at 10:34 am

    I find it tiresome how you treat Tyrant as a minstrel. Gay people are not toys to point at and laugh about.

  • Ruthie

    2013/06/03 at 10:39 am

    LOVE this post. Happiness looks good on you.

  • Guest

    2013/06/03 at 10:49 am

    Oh please… grow some humor sense.

  • Natasha

    2013/06/03 at 10:50 am

    you looked gorgeous in the dress! love your blog (even if I’m a silent creeper)

  • Mrs. Kennedy

    2013/06/03 at 10:50 am

    That man has the most incredible calves I’ve ever seen.

  • arrigato

    2013/06/03 at 10:51 am

    The best description of horseback riding came from my daughter’s friend after an hour-long ride in Bariloche, Argentina. As she limped toward the stable she said, “I feel like I have been having sex for 8 hours. With a Sumo wrestler.”

  • Jennifer Cafferty

    2013/06/03 at 11:03 am

    What a great post – the smile looks great on you! I just have no words for that car, or that shirt….too funny! And you are dangling the carrot, you know we are all biting, let’s hear it! 🙂

  • Lynn Bossange

    2013/06/03 at 11:04 am

    Great post. I love how you bring in the sponsors and that they don’t seem to care (yet) about how, exactly, you really do bring them in. Looks like you had so much fun. Can I go on the next trip? I’ll wrangle the horses…

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/06/03 at 11:07 am

    When I share this comment with him he will be so proud.

  • Elizabeth

    2013/06/03 at 11:09 am

    You are dating Tim Roth? Holy Bananas!! 😉

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/06/03 at 11:09 am

    I’m sorry, but Tyrant cannot sing.

  • Jamie

    2013/06/03 at 11:29 am

    So… was Dane’s mom like 13 when she gave birth?!?! She looks amazing! I love that we’ve been seeing smiles on your face more often, too <3 Also – I was smiling at the overall outfit as I was scrolling down then *BAM* they were shorts too – that made me giggle. Glad you had a good time and I love that Dane totally embarrassed his brother picking him up. He gets bonus points.

  • Nicole B.

    2013/06/03 at 11:56 am

    My friends play games like these too. I always just want to play Uno and get buzzed but, noooo we have to play some new game one of my nerdy friends picked up.

    Dress is super cute btw!

  • Cindy O

    2013/06/03 at 12:00 pm

    We LOVE Settlers of Catan. Wait until you get the expansion pack and add Cities and Knights. Total game-changer.

  • Kathleen

    2013/06/03 at 12:01 pm

    HEATHER! I know all about boys who like to play games more than be employed, or like, leave the house.
    BUT HOW COULD YOU NOT LOVE A GAME WHERE YOU GET TO SAY “Do you have wood for sheep?”

  • Ari

    2013/06/03 at 12:09 pm

    Thank you, that was my EXACT thought. Also, this post rules, Heather. Well done, you.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/06/03 at 12:16 pm

    Hahahaha! STAR. FOLLOW. LIKE.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2013/06/03 at 12:17 pm

    We actually had a guessing game about her age that night because she looks more like his sister than his mother. None of us were even close. She is even more stunning in person.

  • greeblemonkey

    2013/06/03 at 12:37 pm

    We have a dude ranch here in Colorado that we have been lucky enough to visit many times and it is magical. Great pics, as always. And I literally snorted at “can you find the gay man?”

  • Ehms.

    2013/06/03 at 12:38 pm

    Forget the calves, those are some meticulously groomed eyebrows. Michael K at Dlisted would have a fit!

  • Stacey

    2013/06/03 at 12:44 pm

    I love stories with cliffhangers! And cute ones too.

  • KristenfromMA

    2013/06/03 at 12:49 pm

    Point at and laugh about? How about worshiped and admired? (Man is some damn fine eye candy!)

  • Robin Cole

    2013/06/03 at 12:56 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this weekend with us. I moved from SLC to Germany about a year ago, and I love checking your blog both for your stories/life and your amazing Utah pictures.

  • Sarah C.

    2013/06/03 at 1:00 pm

    Love the story. Love the dress. Love how happy everyone looks. Love that cute boy at the end. This type of sponsored post just makes complete sense. And, yes, that man’s calves are to be COMMENDED. Good genetics, sure, but also some serious effort.

  • Kate S.

    2013/06/03 at 1:02 pm

    One of my favorite posts ever. Lately your posts have seemed so vibrant and extra funny in a very natural way. Something huge seems authentically better (‘better’ as in like when you ‘get better’ after being sick, not ‘better’ like you sucked as a human before) about you now. I’m really happy for you.

  • Carmen Cheevers

    2013/06/03 at 1:04 pm

    This is a sponsored post I can totally get behind. I literally was crying laughing at my desk. Also, I totally do horse sound effects and I OWN a horse.

  • Anastasiya

    2013/06/03 at 1:11 pm

    I was getting pissed off thinking you won’t mention a certain someone who is making you smile lately…. and then BAM!

  • jessicafromsf

    2013/06/03 at 1:12 pm


  • specialkrispy

    2013/06/03 at 1:12 pm

    You have really beautiful people in your life. And OMG was RYAN GOSLING on your team??

  • Sue

    2013/06/03 at 1:16 pm

    What Casey said. You strike the balance perfectly.

  • Kristan

    2013/06/03 at 1:19 pm

    Oh you are such a tease. 😛

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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