I Don’t Want to Die Alone

Ninety percent of the single, female population is worried they will end up alone. Maybe the other tenth is completely unconcerned about their romantic futures—and society clings to these emotionally blessed women to tell the other 90% how they are “supposed” to feel—but realistically, most women over the age of 25 want a steady, loving relationship. (I said most—not all. Don’t freak out.) And if they don’t have one, they’re concerned that something is wrong with them. One of my single friends is convinced that a troll lives in her lady parts, another thinks she’s doomed because she doesn’t like wearing bright colors (?), and I was the girl who was sure I had a chip missing—the one that makes people lovable.SIM card

I imagined the shape and size of this Love Chip. It was gold and looked exactly like those SIM cards in your smart phones. When creating me, God was supposed to insert it somewhere between my Frontal Lobe and Parietal Lobe, but He decided I could live without it. The exclusion was not a mistake. God does not make mistakes. He purposefully omitted this chip so that I would learn to be an independent spinster who could channel all of her energy into writing books about some unidentified important subject that would inspire the masses. God knew I would learn to be okay with this, mostly because I’d have no other choice.

Every relationship I entered ended with the words, “I think you’re perfect and here are all the reasons why you’re the greatest, but I don’t know why something is missing.” Okay, not every relationship ended this way. Only, like, five. And by relationship, I just mean people I was dating for two months or more. Details aside, the red flag during these conversations was the laundry list of all of the reasons these guys said they “should” want to be with me. Anyone who has seen the real me (i.e. the hangry girl listening to unsolicited career advice from my father), knows that the word “perfect” should never, ever, under any circumstance be used to describe me. Obviously, I was trying too hard to compensate for the missing chip, so bachelors never saw my bad side, and therefore could not pinpoint the reason why they were ending things. I should have known that any behavioral efforts would be futile, however. No amount of determination can replace a Love Chip. Since the men were so confused about the break ups, themselves, the only closure I ever received was self-acknowledgment of this missing chip.

When Aaron told me that he loves me only two months after meeting each other, and two weeks after he first called me his girlfriend, I thought he was confused. This was partly because it accidentally slipped out when he was telling a random story over Mexican food, and partly because of my Love Chip predicament. With Aaron, I had not behaved in a way I thought to be ideal. Since I knew things would not work out in the long run—how else would I end up alone?—I surrendered to my less than perfect ways. I complained that he needed to pay for more meals because I was poor, I didn’t shave my legs every day, and I openly told him that my friends and I looked at pictures of his ex-girlfriend. I also told him that sometimes his wardrobe choices come across kind of gay. These are not tactics I would suggest to anyone looking to nail down a solid relationship.

Here we are, 68 days from getting married, and I’m beginning to believe that I have the Love Chip, after all. The right person just needed to flip the “on” switch. Aaron really, really loves me (and I really, really love him). He makes me a sandwich every morning before work and always puts my keys somewhere I can easily find them. He gives me a professional-grade massage once a day, forces me to go to the gym with him when I’m too lazy to motivate myself, and keeps a bag of potato chips in the car for emergency situations of unforeseen hanger. One time when I was stressed out, he pulled into a Rite Aid parking lot and asked me questions about pageants because he knew that would distract me from my angry tirade at the cars around us. Last night, he selflessly let me watch Dancing with the Stars as he fed me chocolate cake. Today, he’s taking my car to get re-inspected while I’m at work…oh, and he handily fixed all of the parts that failed the original inspection so that I wouldn’t have to pay those stupidly high labor rates. Honestly, I thank God that all of those other guys bailed. Aaron is an enigma, and a gift you unwrap for life. (Yes, I just quoted Ian from Kaitlyn’s season of The Bachelorette.)


Don’t worry, I do nice things for him, too. I squeeze his biceps and encourage him in his career and ignore the fact that he has 23 squirrel carcasses in his freezer. (That is not a joke.) But this post isn’t about whether or not I’m capable of love. It’s about the feeling so many women get when they’re single—the dread that plagues their hearts with fear of never being loved back.

I use Aaron’s love as an example of why you can never assume the worst. I can’t promise that every single woman will find a really hot guy who makes the best biscuits and gravy ever and also happens to be a gifted engineer who protects our country, but I can promise that everyone’s story is different. In a good way. Sure, it may sound more appealing to meet someone when you’re 23, therefore avoiding years of third-wheeling couple friends and escaping the dark hole that is online dating. But women who are deeply happy in their marriages all have one thing in common: they are happy to have waited as long as they did for the right person. I was 26 when I met Aaron. My sister-in-law’s sister-in-law met my sister-in-law’s brother when she was 29 (you follow?). My stepmom met my dad when she was 36. I know tons of couples who met in their 40s. Some met in their 50s. And I’ve read Chicken Soup for the Soul stories about couples that met at nursing homes in their 80s. I really hope you don’t have to wait until you’re 80, but at least we know that love feels just as magical at any age and any stage of life.

I hated when people told me “your time will come.” How do you know?? I know plenty of middle-aged women who are awesome and wanted marriage, yet never met the right person. Here’s the truth: I guess we don’t really know if or when our time for love will come. Everyone has a Love Chip (activated or not), so instead of believing that God intended for you to be forever single, try believing that He is doing what is best for you. That could mean your love story doesn’t pan out as you imagined, but you can still be happy.

I’ll tell you this: Even though my “time has come,” as they say, I am not instantly without fear for my future. Now, I fear losing Aaron. What if he gets cancer when we’re 40? What if he gets hit by a car and forgets who I am? What if he stops enjoying sushi and is not the man I thought he was? Being engaged or married without trust in God is just as scary as being single without trust in God. Because—news flash—we will never know the future. We never know when or if we’ll find someone, when or if we’ll lose someone, or when or if we’ll even see tomorrow. So, just as I wrestled with surrender to a life of being single each time I was dumped or had no prospects, I wrestle with surrender to a life without Aaron, in case that is God’s will.

The only thing that can possibly give us comfort during any stage of life and love is trusting in a greater plan. One that allows us to feel joy for eternity, not just in this blink-of-an-eye lifetime. That may sound depressing—but it’s not. We can’t do anything about the fact that the future is out of our control, so how fortunate are we that there is a consistent way to find peace? This isn’t to say that you won’t feel pain if you live your life alone, or that I wouldn’t feel despair if I lost Aaron, but at least there is always a way to find the light.

If you’re single, there is nothing inherently wrong with you (but keep working on yourself—it can’t hurt). And there are great guys out there. Even if you don’t believe in God, I can assure you that those two statements are true. Cling to stories like mine or my sister-in-law’s sister-in-law or the 80-year-olds at the nursing home to keep your hope alive. Hoping for love is not a bad thing. Just remember that there is a greater purpose to everyone’s story. Sometimes we’ll see that purpose clearly, and sometimes it won’t be revealed to us at all, but it’s our choice to believe that it’s for some sort of good. It may be easier for me to say these words now, when I’m on a love high, but I also aim to believe them if and when I’m at a love low.

The most important thing when it comes to love is simply to acknowledge that we are not in control—and to stop fearing the worst about ourselves (or the dating pool). Instead, embrace your story. As long as you continuously strive for a positive mindset and faith, it’ll be a good one.

View More: http://abbygracephotography.pass.us/aaron-shannon-engagement

Loving this story right now <3

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Filed under Christianity, Reflection, Relationships

12 Shocking, Random, and Difficult Interview Questions

There is a website that feeds the sometimes scary, occasionally impressive, often underrated minds of pageant competitors and fans. It’s name is fitting: The Pageant Planet, because pageant people– and I can speak freely as a former citizen– live on a far off, eccentric planet full of uncomfortably tan residents who wear crowns to buffet restaurants and lip liner to bed. The Pageant Planet is a safe place for this entertaining sect of humankind to come together to anonymously vote on which gowns are currently in style, learn which brand of butt glue works best, and read the opinions of bloggers who may or may not have worthy credentials. But really– what are worthy credentials in the pageant world? Good hair? A swimsuit trophy? Tony Bowls’ personal cell phone number? For me, I guess my worthy credentials include a sash that accidentally says “Miss New York 2013” even though I was Miss New York 2012, pictures that are proof I am friends with some former Miss Americas– mostly the ones that the official Miss America Board of Directors hate, and the good fortune to have been roommates for a week with the smart, funny, successful editor of The Pageant Planet. Because of these things, I am worthy to share my opinions and list compilations with hundreds of thousands of readers. Don’t you know it!

Read my first, and hopefully not last, article for The Pageant Planet HERE. The title is “12 of the Most Shocking, Random, and Difficult Interview Questions Ever Asked” because pageant people are nothing if not dramatic. I like to cater to my audience. Enjoy!


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Filed under Entertainment, Pageantry

Sleep is a Good Thing

Last night, I went to bed at 9:45 p.m. My fiancé and friends were still on the couch binge-watching How to Get Away with Murder (all hail Viola Davis), but I was D-O-N-E, done. We hadn’t had a particularly exhausting day or anything. On the contrary, we simply ate brunch, watched football at a neighborhood bar, then stopped by the brewery where we hope to hold our rehearsal dinner. Lots of chill. Like usual, however, I found myself to be the first person to hit the wall that makes staying awake feel just as difficult as still showing interest two hours into a Tinder date.

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Over the years, and particularly in the last few weeks, I started wondering if my need for sleep means that I am severely ill. I had not been to a doctor since high school and slowly became convinced that my insides were dying, therefore imploring my body to rest. This was the only obvious explanation.

Particularly in the months since meeting my very energetic fiancé, I tried to soak in every moment, because my time on earth was clearly coming to an end. I fell asleep during Harry Potter. I wanted to eat—it’s hard to say outloud—Taco Bell. *shudder* I didn’t want any wine after dinner. Something was VERY wrong. Why, God, why??

Well, three weeks ago, a giant wooden pallet fell on my ankle because #life. I avoided the doctor for four days because a $50 copay is much better spent on stamps for my Save the Dates, but when the swelling wasn’t going down and walking felt like stepping on a sword of fire, my stepmom convinced me I should visit Doc in the Box. It didn’t help that meanwhile, I’d developed a severe pain in my abdomen that made me double over in pain every few hours. Body shutting down. This explained the fatigue. The time had come for the world to know of my fatal condition.

I told the very nice doctor that I was probably dying, and he told me he didn’t think so but would do blood work anyway, then quickly ran out of the room to go tell the nurse about the world’s biggest hypochondriac in Room 1. After X-rays of my ankle, the nurse drew blood, and we waited to hear the horrible news. (“We” being my stepmom, Jean, and me, because I’m still 12 and need my parents to take me to the doctor.) Doc came back in and said, “Well I can tell you that you’re not pregnant.” Jean immediately texted Aaron the good news (who handled that text as awkwardly as possible, might I add.) The doctor then said there was more good news—my blood work was normal! I probably had a stomach bug. And also my ankle wasn’t broken, but maybe there’s a fracture we can’t see…good luck! Thanks, Doc. A well spent $50.

Tbh, I wasn’t convinced that I’m not dying. Sorry, but I have never heard of a “stomach bug” that doesn’t make you sick, but instead makes you feel like someone is stealing your kidney without first chloroforming you in the bathtub. Also, since when do blood work results take only ten minutes? But I paid $50 and refuse to go back, so that’s what we’re sticking with. Also, I still can’t stand on my ankle sometimes, but you know, life is good.

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Even though the doctor wasn’t convincing, I decided that he probably knows at least a little more than I do about terminal illnesses, so I needed a new theory for my koala-like nature. Right when I started brainstorming new theories, such as “I am a lethargic cow,” a crazy thing happened. My fiancé got sick.

All of a sudden, he wanted to go to bed at 10 p.m., too. With a 6 a.m. wake up call for work, he noted that “all of this rest” was helping him recover quickly. For some reason, I decided then, and only then, to count the hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. to see how long his poor, sick body needed to rest. Eight hours. EIGHT. It then hit me that I had been going to bed around 11:30 p.m. most nights due to pushing myself to seem “normal,” getting only 6.5 hours of sleep. I’m not dying!! There are one million articles in Cosmopolitan saying we need 8-9 hours of sleep a night. I’m not crazy. Everyone else is!!

Listen, I’m not sure why I didn’t link being tired to a lack of sleep before now, but I just figured that since I couldn’t keep up with the Kardashians rest of society, I must be abnormal. Upon more thought about my history of too-little sleep, I realized that I wasn’t very sleepy during daylight hours this past winter, which is when I was very, very single/sad and had nothing but chips and guac to keep me up past 10 p.m. At the time, I thought the daytime energy was a glimmer of improvement for my failing body, only to sorrowfully watch it regress in the following months when I upped my social involvement. Now I realize the energy came from all of that time spent dreaming of Chipotle and Chris Pine. (I should mention that my roommates hated me last spring because they had to keep Game of Thrones on low volume. Being antisocial is a big pain to those around you.)

Because of my new, albeit unoriginal, revelation, I’ve recently started allowing myself to go to bed at 9:30 or 10:00 p.m, even if that means leaving the group early. Yes, I’ve always kind of done this—hence the name Shanny the Granny—but that usually meant leaving the bar at midnight instead of 4:00 a.m. This new conclusion is more of a school night kind of deal, without needing the depressing excuse of “wanting to be alone” mentioned in the wintertime, annoyed roommate situation above. If young whippersnappers want to give me a hard time, I will point at the bags beneath their eyes and say “Have fun with that, you fools!” Sure, some vampire-types seem to function normally on six hours, but they’re the real weirdos in this situation.

Since I started sleeping for eight hours these last five nights, I have A) gone to the gym, B) ordered a salad, and C) missed out on nothing. So I urge you, young people of America, go to bed. You’ll feel so much better. For those of you in bed by 9 p.m. most nights, I salute you for not succumbing to peer pressure for the amount of time I did. May you stay healthy and continue to go to the doctor less often than those who have no self control and stay up late to rebel against their teenage years full of enforced bed times.

goodnight honey gif


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Filed under Food and Health

Say Yes

I feel like nobody listens to me.

Guys. I TOLD YOU that my Miss America predictions were completely based on pictures and nothing else. I specifically said not to trust them. Why did almost 20,000 of you crazy people read them??? Don’t get me wrong– I love each and every one of you, but calm down. Or keep it up. That’s why I love you pageant freaks.

I will point out that 5 out of my 10 were in the Top 10, so I think it’s safe to say that Miss America is still 50% beauty pageant/50% everything else (split between the following: scholarship program, talent show, Donald Trump attack ad). I’ve never laughed so hard during onstage questions—not at the women, but at the honesty. There were only one or two politically correct answers. All of the other girls threw caution to the wind and said, “Let me tell you how I really feel.” Republicans should be terrified of Donald Trump. Guns shouldn’t be taken away. Planned Parenthood should be funded. Ellen DeGeneres should be on the $10 bill. And most importantly, I need to feel Tom Brady’s balls. It was glorious. Whether or not you agreed with the answers doesn’t matter. What matters is that these girls said exactly what they actually think. So long, Robot Pageant Patty! Hello, real girls who happen to look hot in a bikini! And lesbihonest…we’d all ask for change in $10s if Ellen DeGeneres’ face were on the bill, so thank you Miss Colorado for that brilliant idea.

Okay, I’m done with my Miss America recap. There’s so much more I want to say (re: Vanessa Williams, the very real consequences of foregoing butt glue, and the reemergence of satin), but it’s time to move on to the real subject of this blog post: Saying “yes.”

Most people have trouble saying “no,” but not I. FOMO is not a thing in my life. I’ve never had a problem telling someone that I just don’t feel like hanging out, that cooking a dish for a potluck is simply not going to happen, or that I have no interest in joining a running club. I don’t really get the concept of being scared to say “no.” This could be a huge sign that I’m selfish, but I also think that when you only do things you want to do, you’re much better company and more dependable in the grand scheme of things. And less poor. Don’t get me wrong, I am a very involved person, but I hit walls fairly often and have no problem conserving my energy for only the activities in which I feel naturally inclined to participate.


Despite my reasoning for saying “no,” however, I’ve recently challenged myself to be more of a “yes” girl. Though don’t get too excited—I’m not taking it to the extreme. If you invite me to a Steve Aoki concert with all of the young kids these days swallowing who knows what kind of candy, I’m not going to go. I will wait for you by the gate to offer you a safe ride home and won’t tell your mom, but I’m not going to wear tattoo jewelry and have cake thrown at my face by Mr. Miyagi’s aggressive grandson. However, if I’m tired and want to eat a Lean Cuisine while watching Dancing with the Stars, but someone invites me to try a cool new Puerto Rican restaurant on the other side of town, I will challenge myself to say “yes.” Usually food is a good way to convince me to do something I don’t feel like doing, but my “yes”s are starting to expand beyond that sure-win category. For example, I let my fiancé sign me up for a pick ‘em football league (go…Bills?) and stopped to buy raffle tickets from two little girls at my brother’s little league game. I joined a kickball league (though I’ll admit that’s something I’ve wanted to do anyway), put down a deposit for a trip to Ireland next Spring, and have started agreeing to go to Taco Bell (this does not count as real food).

Saying “yes” a lot has made me fat and poor and tired, but it has also exposed me to really incredible experiences. These really incredible experiences are more than the surface level, expected results of saying “yes” to something. They’re more profound than the insane pork shoulder biscuit I tried from a tiny shack in the sketchy part of Norfolk last Saturday, than the epic flip cup game after kickball last week, and than staying up too late with an old friend, leading to the news that she dated Sam Hunt earlier this year (I’m sorry WHAT). Instead, the most incredible experiences born from saying “yes” have come from unanticipated connections with other people.

If Aaron hadn’t helped me say “yes” to the little girls selling raffle tickets on our way out of my brother’s little league game, I wouldn’t have seen the excitement in their eyes or the way their mom looked at us in thanks. If I hadn’t said “yes” to the pick ‘em football league, I wouldn’t have sat with my grandfather for 20 minutes as he helped me decide which teams to choose. If I hadn’t agreed to go through the drive through at a fast food chain (not a fast food girl here), Aaron and I wouldn’t have laughed until we cried when the woman taking our order simply could not understand what we were saying. With each “yes” comes contact with people you would not have seen or spoken to had you shut down the possibility of interaction, as well as plenty of laughs, fuzzy feelings, and/or ways to grow.

Saying “yes” can be a slippery slope (as seen by the fit of my jeans), but for people like me who love routine and alone time, it’s important to push past what we feel like doing and open the door to new experiences and unexpected camaraderie. We all know the importance of soaking in the little moments around us to appreciate life’s beauty, so why not create more opportunities for those poignant and joyful moments to take place? It may seem overwhelming, but trust me, the memories and interactions are worth every ounce of energy. Life is about living, after all! So get out there and YOLO.


P.S.—Thanks to my wonderful fiancé, Aaron, for never saying the word “no” in his life…it may drive me crazy at times, but has certainly challenged me to be even more enthusiastic about this one life we get to live. :) I love you.

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Miss America 2016 Predictions

Last year, I did some serious due diligence for my Miss America predictions—and it paid off. Eight of the 10 girls I picked made the semi-finals. Still proud about it.

This year, I’m planning a wedding, so I don’t really have time to watch videos of the contestants in the media to assess their personalities and speaking skills. I did that last year–and yes, it felt a little creepy…but also, tens of thousands of people read my predictions, so I think my behavior was validated.

Since I don’t have time for proper stalking this time around, and also don’t know as many girls competing because I’m getting old, my investment level has fallen a few notches. Even still, I am traveling to Atlantic City to watch the pageant live this year, which means I need to have some sort of opinion. Thus, I’m making predictions based on my girl crushes. As in, whose face do I want to stare at for a year should she win Miss America?

This is about to be the most shallow prediction list you’ve ever read. Don’t try and make it something it’s not.

Starting with my #10 girl crush:

10. Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell

She’s hot. There’s really no getting around it. On her worst day, she probably looks infinitely better than me on days when I actually try to look put-together. Her hair is that of a Disney princess, while her face is that of a Victoria’s Secret model. Good for her.

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9. Miss Alaska, Zoey Grenier

Listen, I’m going to be honest here. Alaska isn’t known for sending the best-looking contestants to Miss America. And that’s totally fair! Those broads have more important things to worry about things than hair and make up lessons– like not freezing to death and avoiding aggressive moose. Still, this year’s Miss Alaska is adorable. Her dimples are just the cutest and her jawline could rival that of a Russian queen (who she could see from her backyard!). Meanwhile, she photobombs a lot of pictures, which makes me want to be her friend.


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Far left.


8. Miss Vermont, Alayna Westcom

Vermont gives me that Karlie Kloss vibe. Anyone? I feel like she’d be friends with Taylor Swift, which automatically catapults her into the girl crush category. She also looks her age, which is rare in the pageant world. Maybe it’s because she wears a normal amount of make up. Probably because she hikes a lot. That’s what people do in Vermont, right?

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7. Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson

This tall drink of water is 6’1”, yet somehow has the face of a petite little blonde that every guy goes for during Happy Hour. Her legs will extend for all of time in her swimsuit, plus you’ll get to see her dimples during close up shots on T.V. Save some features for the rest of us. Geez.


None of her professional headshots capture her dimples, which I think was pretty rude of the photographers, so I chose this picture of her casually flying an airplane instead.

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6. Miss New York, Jamie Lynn Macchia

Disclaimer: I know Jamie. But even if I didn’t, just look at her face. Her smile makes me feel warm all the way down to my toes. She looks like she’d bake you a warm apple pie while wearing heels, but could also throw on yoga pants have a tickle fight. I feel like a lot of guys must be in love with her.

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5. Miss Idaho, Kalie Wright

This girl pulls off a widow’s peak like nobody’s business. Her features are big and bold, just like the perfect cabernet– so you know I approve. Light blue eyes and dark hair never gets old, and Idaho even manages to rock them without looking like an evil princess. Skillz.

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4. Miss Kansas, Hannah Wagner

I feel like Kansas his naturally tan skin, and for that, I am jealous. For all I know, she’s totally white, but she looks really ethnically ambiguous to me. Keeps me on my toes. She’s just stunningly pretty and could easily be a model for facewash or something, plus her arms are exactly what I’d like mine to look like on my wedding day.


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3. Miss Alabama, Meg McGuffin

She’s the girl in your sorority with awesome hair who is always placed at the front of group pictures to draw more popularity during recruitment. She’s always en trend, but classy because she’s a southern girl with a reputation to uphold. I don’t know her, but I feel like she says “bless your heart” with the training of the south, but the edginess of a New Yorker. Into it.

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2. Miss Oklahoma, Georgia Frazier

Most girls look better one of two ways: Smiling, or sexy-smizing. For instance, I look pretty normal when I’m smiling, but when I give the camera my best sexy face, I end up looking like a serial killer. On the other hand, some girls look super hot when they’re being serious, but their smile brings them back down to normal-girl territory. Then there’s Oklahoma, who goes from smoldering sexy to bright, inviting smile like it’s easy. Whichever way you slice it, I like looking at her.

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1. Miss Florida, Mary Katherine Fechtel

Florida is the Beyonce of the Miss America Class of 2016. I don’t necessarily want to be besties with her because I’m self-aware enough to know I’m not on her level, but I want to be her. I bet she’s one of those girls who dresses up when she is sick because “when you look better, you feel better.” And you can’t get annoyed at her for never looking bad because she doesn’t even seem to try that hard. She’s the kind of girl who never does anything awkward, yet isn’t boring. Who is easy to get along with and never showy, while still the star of the room. Whose gorgeousness is unrelatable, but doesn’t make you bitter. Pageant Beyonce.

FLORIDA FTW. (Mary Katherine, sorry if you happen to read this and are weirded out that I put up so many pictures of you.)

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Case closed.

If 8 of these 10 make the cut during finals night—just like my list from last year—then I am never putting effort towards an educated guess ever again. For anything.

Also, please remember that—save New York—I know literally nothing about the girls on this list except for the 3-7 pictures I’ve seen of each of them.

[The 2016 Miss America Pageant airs Sunday, September 13th, at 9 p.m. EST on ABC]


Filed under Lists, Pageantry

Never/Always: Procrastination Edition

It’s been a hot minute since I put together a fun little Never/Always list, and as an old coworker brought to my attention today, Generation grannY is due for a light-hearted piece. Not that getting engaged wasn’t a light-hearted topic, but considering that post was like a full chapter of War and Peace, I will concede to writing something a little more conducive for a five-minute work break.

That being said, thanks to the 2,000+ people who thought our engagement story was worth reading. I know most of you probably read the first two paragraphs and then scrolled down to the pictures, but you still get a silver star. Bronze stars to those of you who literally looked at the picture of the ring and that’s it. Gold stars to people who read the whole thing.


I googled “gold stars” and this popped up with my name on it. Obviously needed to be on the blog. #shannonZ

Onto Never/Always. Since most blog-readers use sites like Generation grannY as procrastination tools for work, school, laundry, actually getting out of your seat to go to the bathroom, etc., I thought a procrastination list would be pretty appropriate.

11 Procrastination Techniques I’ll ALWAYS Put to Use

11 Procrastination Techniques I’ll NEVER Put to Use

Starting with Always because—let’s be honest—it’s way easier to come up with this list. I have probably 100 procrastination tools that I employ during any given week.


1. Social media. I’ll get this obvious one out of the way. It’s weird how much I love looking at people’s pictures, but so does everyone, so don’t even try to judge me.

2. Betcheslovethis.com. If you are over the age of 35 and/or easily offended, I implore you to not visit this site. If you are a millennial and understand the concept of satire, this website is gold.

3. The Skimm. Everything you need to know about current events, all dumbed down for young professionals who may/may not have been liberal arts majors.

4. Google Calendar. Maybe it’s just me, but I get really into updating my calendar so I can see exactly what I’m doing for the next week/month. In case you can’t tell by my wedding updates on Facebook, I’m a planner.

5. Eating. Duh.

6. Counting calories. It’s only appropriate that this piggybacks #5. Nutrition Calculators are my best friend/worst enemy.

7. Wikipedia. Another obvious choice. Today I Googled Jeffrey Dahmer because that Katy Perry/Nicki Minaj song came on the radio. I regret doing so.

8. Online shopping. I mostly window-shop because #Poor, but it’s pretty entertaining to put together a perfect outfit like you’re Cher in Clueless.



9. Staring at my finances. Sometimes I pull up my bank account info and just stare at the screen in hopes that each time I blink, more money will appear. Like looking in an empty fridge for 10 minutes in hopes you’ll see something you missed.

10. Walking around aimlessly. It may look like an intentional walk, but don’t be fooled.

11. Daydreaming. Sometimes I can have real adventures and fully played-out conversations all in my head. It’s a good time.


1. Working out. I like working out—don’t get me wrong—but I’m not one of those people who uses the gym to procrastinate. Quite the opposite actually.

2. Going to the bathroom. Unlike some people who employ this as a way to kill time, I view it as real inconvenience.

3. Social media wars. I like looking at pictures, but don’t count me in for spending hours debating with people over politics or posting bitter things about my ex. No time/energy for that. Check yourself.

4. Apps. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, apps are not for grannies. Angry Birds? Why are the birds angry? They can fly! They should all be happy.

5. Radio. I know people who turn on NPR or podcasts to procrastinate. That’s probably a pretty informed/smart thing to do, but I choose procrastination techniques that are far less respectable.

6. Coffee breaks. Not an option for non-coffee drinkers like myself. Iced tall soy chai, please.

7. YouTube. I will miss any/all references to popular YouTube videos. Sorry.


8. Talking. This may seem odd coming from me, but I’m not really one to seek out fellow procrastinators to ease my pain. I’m a loner in this particular realm of life.

9. Cleaning. Some people start making piles and sanitizing surfaces in order to avoid doing real work. Nope.

10. Texting. I used to think texting was a fun procrastination tool, and then I realized that I end up procrastinating answering someone’s texts. Bad cycle.

11. Taking selfies. I guess some people spend time doing this…? I’ve mentioned it before, but I think my arm muscles are too weak to enjoy taking selfies.


Okay, your procrastination break is over! Hope you enjoyed it!

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Filed under Never/Always Series

Learning How to Miss Someone

Eleven days have passed since Aaron proposed. In that period of time, I have booked/bought the following:

  • Church
  • Reception Venue
  • Photographer
  • Pastor
  • Wedding Planner
  • Band
  • String Quartet
  • Flowers/Linens
  • Booze
  • Caterer
  • Hotel
  • Wedding Dress

These are things I have not done in the last 11 days:

  • Unpacked my apartment, which I moved into over a month ago
  • Made copies of the key to my apartment, which my dad asked me to do over a month ago because he knows I’m irresponsible out of town a lot
  • Cleaned out a single piece of trash that is accumulating in my car
  • Scheduled a dentist appointment
  • Scheduled a doctor’s appointment
  • Consumed a vegetable, unless you count the carrot sticks I dipped in hummus as my entire dinner last Monday
  • Laundry
  • Saved money

The good news is that it looks like our wedding will go off without a hitch with only four months to plan (unless you call exceeding my budget a hitch…). The bad news is that I will continue to wear the same seven outfits for the next month until my boxes are unpacked, and I cannot take passengers in my car as of right now. Not that concerned about it.

Since Aaron is in Scotland and is also the energizer bunny’s cousin, he and I have been FaceTiming every night before bed. Honestly, the time difference kind of works out perfectly because we both get to go to bed at our preferred time: Me at 10:00 p.m. and him at 3:00 a.m. My favorite quote so far came out of his mouth last night after he had consumed most of the scotch in Scotland. While pointing at his screen– and occasionally trying to reach through it– he said the following, verbatim:

“Nobody can love through electrons the way I love you through these electrons.”

I’m going to go ahead and assume we should replace “electrons” with “electronic device,” but I’m really taking artistic liberty with that interpretation.

As you might be able to tell by my wedding-only schedule and Facetime stories, I miss my fiancé. The feeling is akin to how I feel about oversized sweaters in August, or thinking about the laundry mat in Manhattan, where I’d drop off my clothes once a week and come back to find them perfectly clean and folded, all for $11. Or $19 if I hadn’t done laundry in weeks. So usually $19. Anyway, missing Aaron is like missing those things, except about 80,000 times worse.

As the first few days he was gone turned into a week, and one week has reached almost two, I’ve seen my emotional reaction to missing him shift. I think the best way to describe the stages of separation is to think of it as a new workout routine. For the first few days, you’re mentally prepared and feel like you’ve got this. By one week in, you’ve lost a little steam, but remind yourself that it’s important to stay strong. Out of nowhere, around day 10, you’re suddenly angry. The world is out to get you and the elliptical is the devil and also shouldn’t someone love me for what’s on the inside? Pass the French onion dip. On day 12, you feel pretty fat and like a whiney kid at a baseball game who throws a fit just because he missed one fly ball, so you force yourself to go back to the gym to adult (v.). Two weeks pass, and all of a sudden it’s not so bad. The routine becomes a habit. You’ll probably get angsty about the gym every once in a while after that, but generally, you’ve adjusted to the new lifestyle.

Yesterday was day 10 since Aaron left for Scotland. I ate a LOT of French onion dip.


This photograph is not staged. It is, in fact, the moment I was caught eating chips off my belly while wrapped in a mink stole with pearls by my side. Casual. You should probably know that I was Miss New York at the time and surrounded by my favorite gay men in Manhattan. Basically, this is how I wish every single one of my Day 10 binges looked like. #bringmeback

I think we can all agree that missing someone stinks. I, however, used to have an extreme fear of missing people. In seventh grade, I went on an Alaskan cruise with my aunt, uncle, and cousin. After our return, I spent two full months researching upcoming courses of the ship I’d been on because I needed to go back and see the crew. I missed my waiters and waitresses so much that I really thought I’d combust from sadness if I didn’t see them again.

I have issues.

In my twenties, my fear of not being around someone I love manifested in relationships and friendships, making it both my biggest strength and most debilitating weakness. We’ll start with the weakness side of the coin. I held onto relationships long past the point of “happy” because I was so scared of having to miss the person. The healthiness of my relationships fell somewhere on the spectrum between a chili dog and a Double Whopper With Cheese– kind of appealing at the time, but mostly horrible to think about in retrospect. In contrast, the I’ll-Miss-You-Too-Much Complex was (and is) a strength in friendships, because I became really great at staying connected. I took trips to see people, began planning an annual retreat for my a cappella girls, and basically did everything possible to create the dilemma I’m in today: How to cut down a wedding guest list. Gulp.

As you might imagine, when my mom got sick, my fear of losing her was the ultimate nightmare– as it would be for most people, but particularly for someone with such fear of missing people. Death is the ultimate form of saying goodbye, because you know you can never, ever see that person again. No amount of travel, money, or technology can reunite you (at least on earth). When my mom passed, and in the days, weeks, months, and years following, one of the many lessons I learned was that when missing someone is out of your control, you have no option but to live each day. The tears will happen, and that’s fine. The longing to see them and sadness will come in waves, but there’s literally nothing you can do except wake up each day and live. One day, I hope to see my mom in Heaven. I want to see her now, but that’s not really an option (unless God decides to take me as I sit in this deck chair, in which case, bye—love all of you, please be kind to people, and someone please clean up my apartment before my dad sees it). Since it’s not an option, I’ve woken up every day for the past 2 years and 11 months and gone about laughing with friends, struggling with work, continuing my love-hate relationship with carbs, and reading teen novels. I think about her every day, I cry occasionally, and I still avoid certain places so potent with her memory that I’m not ready to visit. But generally, I’ve adjusted. I haven’t had a choice—and I’ve reached the point that I’m okay with that fact.

As missing Aaron this week has shifted from fine to sad to angry to annoyed with myself to now “kind of okay” (though not yet reached the final adjustment stage), I almost find comfort in knowing that there’s nothing I can do about it. All I can do is enjoy the weekend at the beach with family, read For the Right Reasons by The Bachelor Sean Lowe without the plastic cover so that no one can see what I’m reading, and get ready for another day of work tomorrow. Eventually, Aaron’s return on Wednesday will come. Just like, eventually, Heaven will come.

Missing people is a beautiful thing when you boil it down. It means you’ve loved. I’ve come a long way in the learning process of how to handle it– with still a long way to go– but I keep telling myself that it’s better for me to be learning about this process than learning how to fully love someone. I’d rather love abundantly and let the sadness of separation be a symptom of that love, rather than struggle with finding depth in relationships.

From a practical standpoint, this is good practice for when Aaron gets on a ship (reminder: Coast Guard) and is out to sea for months at a time! Practice makes perfect…right? :) My personal situation aside, though, I hope we can all remember to find beauty in missing people, joy in our days without them, surrender in our helplessness, wisdom in the learning process, and strength in our Creator.

Now I’m off to hit the sand and enjoy this gorgeous day, even if it is still three days shy of Wednesday!

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Filed under Reflection, Relationships

Our Engagement Story!

“Fiancé” is my new favorite word. It used to be “Lariam,” the drug you have to take to avoid getting malaria (that’s another story for another time), but now it’s definitely “fiancé.”

For those of you with whom I’m not friends on Facebook, A.) I love you for randomly finding my blog and consistently reading it (extra props to you amazing people who private message me to introduce yourselves!!), B.) I’m engaged.

Now that everyone is all caught up, I need to tell the story! So many people have texted or Facebooked (it’s a real verb) Aaron (the fiancé) and me asking for details, so I think the best way to reach the masses is via this blog! Honestly, did you expect me to give the story any other way…?

Grab a drink and a large buttered popcorn, because I don’t plan on being short-winded. I give you fair warning: One of my girlfriends responded after I texted her the story, saying “Reading now, be back in a year.” Obviously none of my friends are sarcastic or dramatic at all.

Even though we haven’t been together long (in case you hadn’t noticed…), this was definitely a “when you know, you know” situation. We met in April, became “official” in June, and by July, we knew we wanted to marry each other and talked at length about what that meant. He is the most loving, committed, and enthusiastic person I’ve ever met, so I wanted to be sure that he didn’t see himself with me forever simply because he was so happy to finally be in an easy, healthy relationship into which he could pour his passion! I had to question myself, too—am I just being crazy?? Is this just the wine talking? Am I compromising in any sort of way? Been there, done that, and no thanks.

However, after discussing every angle of marriage and making sure that we weren’t simply running on high emotions, we both came to the conclusion that this is it. I’ve never believed in soulmates, but for the first time, it feels like someone was handcrafted just for me. From the first night we met, it was clear that we had that “spark,” but on top of that, we both love doing the same things, socialize the same way, have the same philosophies and beliefs, communicate authentically and respectfully, have the same dreams and priorities in life, and are on the same page about seemingly everything. Except for black licorice. It’s gross, and Aaron doesn’t understand that.

Anyhoo, I knew the engagement would happen relatively quickly because we wanted to become family as soon as possible. There’s really no explanation for the progression of things other than that. We just want to be family and united in every way possible! Knowing that it could happen in the next month or two, we told our closest friends so that none of them would be blindsided. Their reactions were SO amazing and SO positive—particularly the ones who have spent a lot of time around us, which only further solidified that Aaron and I are perfect for each other.

I didn’t feel the need to be overly surprised in a conventional fashion, so from talking to him, I thought the proposal would probably happen at the end of August or early September. I didn’t want to know exactly how it would happen or anything, but I did know that he felt strongly about getting the ring from the same tiny mom and pop diamond shop in Brooklyn where my brother got my sister-in-law’s ring, and also where my dad got my bonus mom’s 10 year anniversary ring. Material possessions aren’t really highly valuable to me, so I assured him that anything was fine and he didn’t need to go all the way to Brooklyn, but he insisted that it be special, perfect, and personalized. He’s wonderful. That being said, he went to New York last weekend and I pretty much knew what he was up to…same goes for when he had drinks with my dad last Thursday. :)

Even with all of that exciting action going on, I was 100% positive that he wouldn’t propose until after his trip to Scotland. He left yesterday to be over there for two weeks, and the thought never even crossed my mind that anything would happen before the trip. After all, he JUST went to New York, and I knew the ring thing would be a process. It just wasn’t possible for anything to happen for at least a few weeks. Duh.

All of my friends who are engaged or married say they accidentally try to ruin the guy’s plan without realizing it…count me in as one of those girls. There I was, thinking I knew the basic timeline, happy as a clam and just enjoying the relationship for where it stood as of that day. As we did our usual morning commute to work with him behind the wheel and me slapping on some makeup, I said, “Babe, you’re not going to like this, but I don’t think we should go to the wine/birthday thing tonight. There’s so much to get done before you leave for Scotland, plus we told ourselves we’d be better with saving money. We just saw all of our friends last night, so I don’t think we’ll be too missed. Also, I want a night with just you since you’ll be gone for two weeks!”

This was Wednesday morning. The day he planned on proposing. At the wine/birthday thing.

Somehow, he didn’t let on to anything and after a few back-and-forth moments, we “compromised” that we could go for just an hour, not drink, and only order an appetizer. I made him promise we would leave by 8 p.m., to which he happily agreed. The poor guy just had to get me there! After work, we had errands to run before the party, and ended up not arriving until 7:30 p.m. (100% because of me). Everyone else had arrived at 6:30, but how was I to know that we were the guests of honor? He’d managed to somehow get me in a nice dress even though I hadn’t showered that day by suavely reminding me that The Cellars was a dressy restaurant, so I hastily pinned back my greasy hair that had been in a braid all day and applied some eye shadow. I kept asking him if I looked like a dog with my hair pulled back on both sides as though I was a cockerspaniel with long, shaggy ears, and he assured me that I looked great, but also said “You can bring a hairbrush in the car and do something else if you don’t feel pretty. You should feel pretty!” This should’ve been my first hint. When does a guy ever suggest that you re-do your hair in the car?

When we arrived, I remember thinking, “Wow! I didn’t know all of our friends were also such good friends with Matt.” (The birthday boy who was totally in on Aaron’s plan.) Still, I was clueless. I suggested to Aaron that we get prosecco or champagne to start (it’d been a long day…I’d changed my mind about drinking), and he said, “Why don’t we do that with dessert?” I did not understand. A) who said anything about dessert, B) I’ll just have prosecco now and you can have wine, mister. I’m in the mood for sparkling! He then said, “Okay, then lets do sparkling now, wine with dinner, and more sparkling after!” He liked fooling with me and dropping hints, knowing I wouldn’t catch on. I just thought he was being picky about what he wanted to drink with dessert since he’s such a sweets guy, and thought, “Um, okay, you sound like a man who knows he wants prosecco with dessert. You do you.”

We were all in the private room in the back with gorgeous brick walls since the restaurant is actually a wine cellar (the perfect place for me to get engaged, obviously), so we all ate dinner around little high top round tables. We managed to squeeze five or six of us around our table, but as the food was clearing, I noticed that all of our dinner companions had left Aaron and I alone at our table. I figured that they were just bored with us since we were doing the thing we always do when we talk two inches from each other’s faces because we’re, you know, in love and—as our friends say—shmoopy. I actually did call attention to one of our friends who ditched us, because she had not even finished eating and straight up brought her plate to a different table. As she was eating at the other table, I said something like, “Gee, thanks, Alisha…guess we really know how to clear a table.”

Not thirty seconds later, the server brought out the “cake” for Matt. We all started singing “Happy Birthday,” and I was in full out music mode thinking, “Wow, nobody was even CLOSE to choosing the same key…” when the server started putting the “cake” in front of me. I didn’t look at it, but instead said “No, no, no! It’s not for me! The birthday boy is over there!” Meanwhile, the birthday singing was tapering off…and Aaron stood up…and I looked at the plate. On the plate was “Will you marry me?” written in chocolate, along with a gorgeous wooden ring box, flowers, and ice cream. (I still have no idea what happened to the ice cream. Did anyone eat it? Was it good? Someone let me know.)**

I was so confused.

The first words out of my mouth after I stared at it for a second and then looked at him was, “What are you doing??” Of course, I don’t remember saying that, but there is video evidence. He then grabbed my hand and started talking in a low voice as though no one else was in the room. He didn’t care if anyone heard but me (which I love), and it was like we were in some time warp where everything else around us froze. I only remember him saying the words “adventure” and “energy,” and that’s about it. I do remember him getting on one knee with the box and saying “Shannon Marie Oliver, this is only temporary…” and that’s when the room came back into focus because everyone started cracking up. “Ahhh! No! Not the engagement! Just the ring!!” Aaron exclaimed. He then said some other words that I will need to watch the video to remember…I seriously blacked out when this was happening…and then said, “Will you marry me?” I cried. And when I cry, I cover my face. But I kept telling myself I had to say “yes” because so many of my friends had warned me that they had forgotten to answer the poor guy during their engagements. With my hands over my face, I said “yes,” but in that split second also realized I should say it while he could actually see me, so I said it a few times as I removed my hands, just to make sure the bases were covered and I’d said it the appropriate way.

I think I was even shocked that I was so shocked. We’d talked about it, after all. But as my dad had explained to Aaron when they spoke, there is “tactical surprise” and “strategic surprise.” The strategic surprise is long term, so Aaron would really have to hit me with a strong tactical surprise. He nailed it.

You’re probably wondering about the ring. Or maybe you’re not, but I’m going to explain it anyway. It’s AMAZING. We’ve already been instructed to not tell the wives of some of his friends because they’ll be too jealous and then his friends will be in trouble. I hope they don’t read this.

Aaron knew that if he waited for the diamond ring from New York to be completed after his trip to Scotland, I wouldn’t be as surprised when he proposed. So Aaron, being a romantic renaissance man, decided to MAKE me a ring as a stand-in until the diamond ring arrives. As in, he ordered materials and instruction books and created a welding station at his desk at work and HAND MADE a gorgeous silver ring. Not just any silver ring. It is the sailor’s love knot, which represents unity between two strands—a historical tradition of nineteenth century sailors to give their sweethearts when they went out to sea. Often times couples include a knot-tying ceremony in their weddings, and the ring’s knot is the same that is tied during weddings to signify unbreakable unity. Aaron is an officer in the Coast Guard, giving the sailor’s love knot on the ring that much more meaning. I still can’t believe he made it…I mean, that is some next level stuff, as I’m constantly reminded by girls who look at it with stars in their eyes and guys who comment about having to step up their game when they hear the story. His hands did not escape unscathed by acid burns and scrapes…apparently making fine jewelry is quite a process. (Thanks to the amazing friends in his office who helped him knot the silver strands and find the box!)

Speaking of the box, it, too is incredibly personal and special. It is a wooden box with an anchor on the top (Coast Guard!), and was originally holding a shot glass (HAH!), so he had to create the cushion. He cut out the back of a spare shirt he wears with his uniform, and rolled two pieces into cushions for the ring. I LOVE that his uniform is part of it! Just so special. Okay, fine, I’ll show you the picture…


When the diamond ring comes in, I’ll switch this ring to wear on my right hand for the rest of my life, and he’ll put the diamond on my left. We plan on doing a special dinner when that happens…yet one more thing to look forward to!

So, when is the date? I’m not saying here, but I will say that my last name will be Leyko by 2016. <3

Thanks to EVERYONE who has reached out with such love and excitement! We are beyond excited and feel completely overwhelmed in the best way by the support we’ve received. Words really don’t do our happiness justice. God has put so much joy in our lives and we don’t take it for granted for a second! I can only imagine my mom beaming. She would love him, as will all of you who have not yet had the pleasure of meeting him!

Aaron and I absolutely can’t wait for the wedding day, so get ready to #PartyLeykoRockstar!

**Update 8/7/15: The birthday boy ate the ice cream. And it wasn’t ice cream, it was chocolate mousse.


The facial sequence during the proposal:


What’s happening.


What are you doing.


Full on black out.


The moment he asked!




I have to sit back down.


Did that just happen.

aaron 1

We had champagne at the end of the night, just like he wanted!


The display minus the ring box. Hope someone enjoyed that ice cream…

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B.A.E. of the Week: Elizabeth C.

You all are thirsting for a new B.A.E. of the Week, I can tell. Don’t worry, I’m not running low on incredibly huge catches (I mean that figuratively, not literally), but I’ve been holding back because the BAE posts need to be proportionate to other posts…and in case you haven’t noticed, I’m on a summer schedule with Generation grannY. That being said, my boyfriend (still weird to say) and I decided to start commuting together most mornings since we work five minutes apart, which means I’m forced to get up an hour earlier than usual to get him to the office late on time. It also means I have an hour to focus on writing each morning. Get excited! I’m the kind of person who woke up at 4 a.m. in college to write a paper due at 9:30 a.m. instead of staying up all night working on it (grannies generally can’t stay up past midnight), so this arrangement is ideal!

Now onto your B.A.E. of the Week. It’s a good one.

<<If you already know what B.A.E. of the Week is, you may skip this introduction and head straight to Elizabeth C.’s profile.>>


B.A.E.Bachelorettes are Everywhere. Single ladies, you are not alone.

Urban Dictionary definition: Bae– A Danish word for poop. Also used by people on the internet who think it means baby, sweetie etc.

For purposes on Generation grannY, “bae” means the second half of the above definition.

Every few weeks, I will profile a single lady who is a catch. This is not so that guys can come girlfriend shopping on Generation grannY. I promise– the purpose is not to market these women. They are not easy. They are not desperate. Odds are, they will not have even wanted to be featured as the B.A.E. of the Week, but I will have coerced them with promises of alcohol, chocolate, and 10% of any money I ever make with my writing.

The real purpose of the “Bachelorettes are Everywhere” series is to help remind any single sisters reading my blog that you are not alone. You are normal, but in a good way. Nay, you are awesome, and I’ll prove it to you by showing you all of these other awesome females who haven’t found the right guy yet.

B.A.E. of the Week: Elizabeth C.

Liz Crot

Name:  Elizabeth C.

Nickname(s): Liz, E Beth, E Crizzle

Age: 27

What institute of higher learning did/do you attend? James Madison University

What is your current occupation? Aspiring actress/TV personality/blogger

What is your ultimate career goal? Interested in fashion, feminism, writing and on camera work…but ultimately I’d like to live like the female James Bond.

What is something you’ve done in life thus far that you’re proud of? Moving to NYC with $1000 and no job and surviving debt, rejection, heartbreak, multiple crappy jobs and lice. Did you know that I got lice in NY? Still smiling, y’all.

[Editor’s Note: Liz is the least pageanty pageant person I know, so of COURSE she’s not going to bring it up, but I feel compelled to tell you that she was Miss Virginia 2011 and a semi-finalist at Miss America. NBD.]

What do you like to do outside of work? Thrift store shopping, skateboarding, going to the beach, hiking, listening to old music on records, walking around health food stores and looking at hippy stuff.

Who was your elementary school crush? Will Keune, whose family moved away on a boat and I was devastated.

Did he like you back? No, he liked this girl, Katie. She was a brat.

Do you believe in love at first sight? I do believe in instant connections and I’m a very open person and like to get to know people quickly… why waste time? But love? I don’t know about all that. Love is more about commitment; it’s a choice.

Do you feel ready to get married if you found the right one? The short answer: hell no. The long answer: I would like to be more secure in my career ambitions before I bring someone else into the mix. Luckily I think my biological clock is broken.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? I spilled an entire drink on my skirt at a club and had to stand in the bathroom in my undies under a hand dryer.

What is the second most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? I went on a date and was running late so I took a cab. When we pulled up to the restaurant I realized I didn’t have my wallet. I asked the cab driver if I could Venmo him the $. He said no. So I had to run in and explain the situation to my date. The guy was a complete gentleman and went out to pay the cab, but I got turned around and told him the cab was in a different place, and that it was a yellow cab (it was green). I guess it was forgivable because he wants to take me out again!

What’s one weird thing you do sometimes? When I brush my teeth I get water and toothpaste and spit everywhere, like, the mirror doesn’t stand a chance. ALSO I’m awful at celebrity spotting- I told Mike Myers he looked like Mike Myers.

[Editor’s Note: The scene in Bring it On when Kirsten Dunst brushes her teeth flirtatiously makes me mad every time. It is simply not possible to look cute while brushing your teeth. HOLLYWOOD LIES.]

Do you try and catch the bouquet at weddings or usually hide from it? Girl.

[Editor’s Note: LOLOLOLOLOLOL]

Are you more like Cinderella or Belle? Definitely not Cinderella- mice scare the crap out of me. I’d say Belle, because she saves the prince instead of vice versa.

What’s your favorite unhealthy food? Nachos. Hands down. Or any kind of cake, cookies, icing.

What’s your least favorite kind of workout? Any kind that involves a gym. I have realized that I only work out if I’m active on the daily; I have to trick myself.

Go-to drink: Rye whisky on the rocks.

Ryan Gosling or Chris Hemsworth? Um, they’re both blond and that reminds me of my little brother.

 Chelsea Handler or Kristin Wiig? I’ve been told that I remind people of both of those ladies (thanks!). Love that Chelsea has no filter and Kristen is just so awkward and funny.

[Editor’s Note: Cop out. You didn’t choose.]

Favorite physical feature on yourself: I like things on myself I don’t have to maintain. I don’t have to dye my hair and I like that, and when I gain weight my butt gets bigger proportionately. Hay!

One reason you love being single: Being able to explore the world more freely. There are SO MANY PEOPLE, and a lot of cute guys too ;-). My type is definitely a lovable dork who’s good at skating or some other outdoor activity and is more artistic than athletic. Also, I’m in way better shape when I’m single. Oh, and I never feel guilty about time spent on me. Oops, I think that’s more than one reason.

B.A.E.s of the Week are required to give me their BFF(s)’s phone number so that I can ask the following questions:

Describe Liz in three words: Sassy, strong, sweet

Why you think Liz shouldn’t be single: Elizabeth shouldn’t be single because she knows how to have a good time and keep the mood up!

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Tell Me Everything

I wonder what it’d be like to be a private person. I have no desire to share intimate details of my life with the entire world on social media or this blog, but when it comes to my friends, nothing is off limits. Last week, I asked a girl how her roommate/close friend felt about a certain dating situation, and she said, “I don’t really know. She’s a pretty private person.”

…Help me understand.

How can you be “close friends” with someone if you don’t tell them about sometimes trying to look at your own Facebook profile as though you’re a stranger, or admit that you haven’t showered in three full days? If you are close friends with someone, shouldn’t they know the details of your boyfriend’s chest hair and that you ate both Chipotle and Five Guys for lunch? What is friendship if not discussing that weird dream you had about Victoria Grayson or a graphic account of your visit to the doctor?

In my little world, “privacy” and “friendship” don’t belong in the same sentence. All of my close girlfriends have seen me sans-clothing so many times that they don’t even seem to notice anymore when I strip down to change in the middle of a serious conversation. Most continue eye contact. And at this point, they think something is severely wrong if 72 hours have passed and I haven’t told them a dramatic story about a simple visit to the grocery store or about the cougars of Virginia Beach attacking my obliviously friendly boyfriend. I get concerned phone calls if I answer a text with one word, plus I sense disappointment when I say “hello” without following it with “ugh I have SO much to tell you.”

I like it this way.

best friends

Not saying that people who keep their waxing experiences to themselves are lonely or shallow, but I’ve found that when there are no boundaries, friendships become more authentic. The more I share, the more my friends share, and the more we can read each other’s minds to understand how to uplift the other person. Even if what we talk about is ridiculous and seemingly meaningless, those exchanges keep the door wide open for deeply serious conversations. If we can discuss the pros and cons of thong underwear, then there are no walls keeping us from discussing our greatest fears, genuine emotions about difficulties in life, and experiences during which we fall short and feel guilt. Topics that would normally be bottled up out of fear of what another person might think are more easily brought to the surface by someone who knows what the combination of sushi and tequila does to your body.

Talking through how to handle hurt, getting advice about poor decisions, and simply venting about something that is bothering us is healthy. It lightens the load and decompresses our souls. Having a trusted source that you know will never judge is a priceless gift. For me, I have about 30 of those trusted sources, so my soul generally feels incredibly supported. That support is how I got (and get) through losing my mother, how I deal with remnants of negativity from my past, and handle the feeling of failure that periodically pops up in the mind of any mid-twenty-year-old (except Taylor Swift and Emma Watson). Although nearly all 30 of my trusted sources also share with me about their lives, I never feel overwhelmed. I only feel joy that we can mutually absorb one another’s pain, embarrassment, concerns, and successes.

Speaking of successes, being unconditionally close with someone isn’t simply all silliness mixed with seriousness. It also means getting to unapologetically share triumphs and excitement. I LOVE that my girlfriends know that I won’t think they’re being stuck up or self-absorbed when they accomplish something awesome or are overjoyed by an event. Your boss told you that your input was incredibly valuable in the meeting this morning? You’re the smartest, best employee ever! A guy at a bar told you that you’re the most gorgeous girl he’s ever seen? DUH! It’s because you are! You ran three miles after work? Whatttt you are so inspirational! It’s never a fake reaction…I sincerely feel joy when my friends are proud of themselves or tell me about a situation that made them feel special. I love knowing that they feel comfortable telling me about those things instead of buying into the whole concept that we should remain humble all the time. Their happiness makes me happy! Plus, I know that I can tell them when I’m excited about an essay I wrote or that I finally taught myself how to french braid!

tina fey amy poehler

Quality always beats quantity, but a high quantity of high quality friends certainly makes life feel incredibly full and satisfying—at least in my experience. I am so grateful that I was born with no shame and a desire to be close with other people. And I urge anyone who might be a little more reserved in their friendships to really let their friends in. Not Facebook friends…this isn’t about oversharing in statuses or being vulgar in public, rather it means choosing to develop an unequivocal closeness to specifically designated people in your life. Or if you’re me, with the random girl at a party that seems cool and nice. (To read exactly how I feel about oversharing on social media, I bring you way back to my first blog, Shannon’s NYC.)

Knowing that so many of my insanely supportive friends read my blog on the reg and even challenge me to write more often out of love and encouragement of my future, I’ll end by saying thanks to you! I hope our weird level of openness encourages other readers of this post. You’re my favorite part of life. Love you long time!

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Filed under Reflection, Relationships