This here bringer of the pooper to the fun party

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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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It was the mascara and this outfit.

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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.

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UGHHHHHHH. MOAN.

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

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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.

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Worst game ever.

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

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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:

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But that’s another story for another time.

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

  • Jen Wilson

    CLIFFHANGER!

    Oh my word, this made me laugh, and my kid (11) kept asking, WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING? And I just couldn’t bring myself to show her the screen when it said something about hairy vaginas because that might just scare the hell out of her, and might traumatize her more than when I told her that when she gets her period, she’s going to have it every month FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE. She cried for a week. Those overalls are just the best (and by “best” I mean “worst”) and OH MY WORD I also had a boyfriend who played stupid RPG games for a million hours a day and what the heck was I thinking? I chose my husband because of his lack of interest in RPG games.

    Although I really REALLY love Catan. Like, a lot. Even more when I win.

  • LukePF

    I totally enjoyed reading this tale of adventure (and poop), and I applaud the way you’re navigating the whole sponsored-ness of it all (upfront and gracefully). But I’mma have to call BR out on this whole “Milly” line thing. Lilly Pulitzer’s brightly-wrapped corpse is not yet cold in the grave, and BR is ripping off her characteristically eye-searing cotton floral prints? And calling it “Milly”? Really? At least change more than ONE letter, people. Ugh.

  • Tina

    I love this post so much!

  • LuluinLaLa

    Milly is its own brand – it’s been one of my favorites for years. This is just a collaboration with BR.

  • Sarah Kimes

    You look fabulous in that dress – strong, healthy, natural and pretty. Also, can we please come up with a name for Joseph’s outfit? Overjorts? Jorteralls?Jeanjorteralls?

  • Bouncyczech

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

  • Heather Armstrong

    Thank you so much. AND YES. JEANJORTERALLS!

  • Jared

    Look, I’m a happily married man and so I say this with no agenda or nefarious purpose; you’re an attractive woman so stop worrying! 🙂

  • amy milstein

    My first thought as well! Brody & Dooce kick ass at Catan. OF COURSE THEY DO 🙂

  • Mr. Leash

    I’ll be right here when you need me. When.

  • Ben Clark

    Thank you. That made my day.

  • Sara Pellicori

    What a great post. What a great cliffhanger. What would it take to meet this amazing friend of Tyrant’s? I have a feeling he knows a lot of secrets that I want answers to!

  • Rachel Blonde

    1- love Settlers of Catan. 2- love you and 3- thank you for posting about Paleo. my fiancé has lost 25 pounds in the last 4 months.

  • talonsage

    My husband has calves like that…he got his from his teenage and young adult years of…debilitating, horrendous, crippling leg cramps. I am so not lying. At 48, they’re still like sculpted rock. We won’t talk about the rest of his body, but I love him anyhow.

  • Jan

    When I was in high school a bunch of us went on that kind of “Let’s all ride horses today, even though none of us city mice ever has before! It’ll be great!” things. They told us not to worry about getting lost, that our horses knew the way home, and would take us each on a gentle bucolic ride of about an hour.

    Nobody told MY horse. We got separated from the group but I knew it was alright because Horse knew the way. Horse, on the other hand, was apparently doing an equine version of WTF? I don’t if he was high, or new in town, or what, but we definitely got lost. Like an hour later when we should have been back, we were in where in hell are we?

    Spurred by confusion, Horse broke into a full-on gallop, deep in some woods, with nary a trail in sight. I knew I wouldn’t die because, instead of my life flashing before my eyes, all I could do was think ohshitohshitohshitohshit, like some kind of dude ranch mantra, and hold on tight. And then… there it was… a ditch.

    THAT was when I knew I was going to die. Horse didn’t, though. We sailed over that thing like freaking National Velvet, if she had been lunged forward holding her horse’s entire neck in both arms with her face buried into his mane.

    Horse eventually found his way back, just as they were – really and truly – organizing a search party. And I hadn’t fallen off even once.

    Oh, and the butt pain? Nothing to do with your own personal butt’s relative boniness. My butt is the opposite of bony and it was hurting like hell.

  • Jenny

    Oh, man, this one goes in the favorites list. That looks like a fantastic weekend. THAT CAR! HORSIES! CATAN! ORGANIC STUFF! BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!

  • Candace

    You do look happy, and wow – he looks like Daniel Craig.

  • Heather B.

    You look positively radiant in that dress, my dear.

  • Maytal

    You look beautiful in the dress, uncomfortably beautiful! thanks for the post and glad banana made you drive around in that car.

  • Ben

    I won’t buy a thing from Banana Republic now that I know where this shit is made and under what conditions. I’m surprised you took their money.

  • slh

    Amen, former fan

  • Ali

    I find it more irritating that she gets to have TWO fabulous gay men in her life (and brag about it) while mine is halfway across the country and there doesn’t seem to be a local one in sight to help fill the void.

  • dude. settlers of catan is the BEST GAME EVER.

  • kate

    Um, you do realize, Heather, that Banana’s parent company, The Gap, refused to sign the agreement that would improve working conditions for women and children in Bangladesh??

  • cassie

    Cute guys, cute clothes, yummy food. Great post! And can’t wait for more juicy details of the handsome stranger.

  • Heather Armstrong

    I asked Tyrant and he said, “Yoga.” There you have it.

  • Maryh

    Love, love, love the adventure! Especially the Dooce on Deuce (snort….deuce…snort). Thanks for that!

  • Heather Armstrong

    I try not to get preachy about it, but wow do I feel passionately about it. Good for him!

  • Heather M

    Exactly what I was thinking. Whatever he does to get legs like that, looks like he’s realllll good at it.

  • Kate

    I was really surprised by this as well, particularly in light of
    Heather’s trip to Bangladesh and support for the rights of women and
    mothers in the third world.

  • LukePF

    Oh, well then. Must do better research next time! *Googles madly* This collection looks very much more Lilly than the non-BR Milly stuff. Nevertheless, I will take my righteous ire elsewhere… 🙂

  • Carla King

    Doesn’t Walmart sell dresses like that?

    Anyway, I love you, Heather. This was a really fun post. 🙂

  • Erin Gill

    From the owner of one damn bony ass to another – well done.

  • Lindsey Orcutt

    OMG, I haven’t laughed so hard in such a long time. Great post. 🙂

    Also? Tell us about the mascara!!! We need to know this…

  • misszoot

    You are – quite literally – the only blogger who I kinda get excited about when I see a post is a sponsored one. I don’t know what it is but they typically end up being my favorites! This one is no exception.

  • Sarah

    Oh Heather…I have been reading you for ten years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, although I have adored you through many phases of my life. But I have to comment on how cringe-worthy it is to see you repeatedly, ad nauseum mention your GAY FRIENDS! Oh, did you know I know THE GAYS? They are so funny, because they love FASHION, and MASCARA, and…GAY! They’re GAY! I have no idea how you relate to them in real life, but the impression that I get as a reader (and have for some time), is that you somehow get a kick out of being subversive – MY GAY FRIENDS – when honey, most of the rest of us have had gay friends for years, and see them as the nuanced human beings that they are. Not a trope, not a shocking sector of humanity, but human beings. It sucks for me to say this, but it makes me think less of you, to see the way you speak of your close friends and employees, always referring back to their sexuality. In most workplaces, that would be illegal. It’s off-putting and makes me feel bad for those guys. Just had to mention it – since they’re on your payroll, they probably don’t feel like they can.