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.

stars

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.

ALWAYS:

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.

clueless-closet

 

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.

NEVER:

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.

confused

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!

Leave a comment

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.

chips

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!

Leave a comment

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…

ring

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:

7

What’s happening.

6

What are you doing.

4

Full on black out.

3

The moment he asked!

2

Yes!

5

I have to sit back down.

9

Did that just happen.

aaron 1

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

8

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Relationships

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.>>

WHAT IS B.A.E. OF THE WEEK?

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under B.A.E. of the Week

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Reflection, Relationships

Toasters are like Marriage (From What I Hear)

My general life mentor (do people still have those besides me?) has given me a lot of advice and tokens of wisdom since we’ve met. She is a sassy, gorgeous, tiny woman from Mississippi who weighs 107 lbs soaking wet, has the cutest southern accent in existence, and is the most spiritually balanced person I have ever met in my entire life. Plus she’s hilarious. When I tell her how amazing she looks, she says things like, “Oh, honey, powder and paint make a girl what she ain’t!” And when I bring my laundry to her house since I’m too busy to do laundry at my own house, she says “I’m going to have [my 18 year old son] fold your delicates because he needs to learn sooner than later how to be a man!” If I am not just like her in 30 years, something has gone terribly wrong.

One of her metaphors I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is that life is much like a toaster. You heard me. A toaster.

brave little toaster

If you’re a milennial and this poster doesn’t give you lots of good feels, I need to have a chat with your parents.

Toasters are made of metal (at least the toaster in this metaphor). If a toaster is made with impure or unrefined metal, the end result is still a toaster. It won’t look as nice, and odds are it won’t work as well, but the metal still creates a product. Even so, no one wants a shabby product. We all want a great toaster, right? Come on, this is the future of our bread we’re talking about! Bread is the fourth best thing in life (following wine, cheese, and guacamole). And if you’re one of those people who “doesn’t like bread,” let me go ahead and call you out because we all know you’re lying and just don’t want to admit that you’re on a diet.

From what my mentor told me, toasters are a lot like relationships. I’ve challenged this claim in my mind and decided upon its truth because a good significant other will most definitely feed you, keep you warm, and pop up out of nowhere. Her point, however, was to say that just like toasters, the quality of a relationship– particularly a marriage– is dependent on the input. If you try to create a marriage using “metal” contaminated with hurtful behavior during the years of dating, bad habits in how you communicate, and baggage in tow from before you ever met, then that marriage will not be as shiny, pure, and high functioning as a union with uncontaminated matter.

You have a lot of baggage? You’ve made a lot of mistakes in your past that weren’t with your future spouse in mind? You treated someone poorly in a dating relationship and want to change? Have no fear! Before your reach the output stage and end up with a bad toaster marriage, you have the “throughput” stage. (For those of you thinking “Systems Theory,” yes, that has Input–>Throughput–>Output–>Outcome, but this is a little different. Just stick with the toaster thing and we’ll be good to go. SCIENCE.) Throughput is the process of building the toaster. You may not have the greatest metal to work with, but you can figure out how to make a super efficient toaster that makes up for the fact that the metal kind of stinks. So you work on it. You mold things a little differently here and there, you try a couple different ways of adjusting the handle, and you figure out the inconveniences you simply have to accept won’t ever be perfect, but for which you can develop patience. You can still completely enjoy the toaster, but it might be a tad more sensitive and take a little extra work and finesse to give you what you want.

The output is whatever you created during the throughput with the input. Ultimately, your toaster is made up of both the fundamental metal, and also how carefully you molded and made the most of said metal. I love this metaphor because even thought it’s pretty much common sense, it’s something that we often forget. We create all sort of impurities in our relationships through unloving behavior, selfishness, “taking breaks,” manipulation, creating a cycle of building up and tearing down trust, etc., etc. Because we are attached to that person, we might decide that we want to work through those things and build a marriage out of that dirty metal. We commit that metal to be the input into a final product, and those scars will always be somewhat visible, even if we manage to make the most of them by adjusting behavior in the throughput.

Due to human nature, most of us will end up having to create great toasters with less than ideal metal, and that’s okay. It’s not the greatest option– and hopefully those of us without a ring on it can strive to enter the purest input possible when we meet the right person– but if it happens, we can still end up with a wonderful little toaster if we give it the attention it deserves (throughput). The biggest issue is if those behavioral patterns don’t change. What if the metal is severely contaminated and the throughput is neglected? The toaster would be so frustrating and dysfunctional. No thanks.

alex mac

This just felt right to insert here.

From the perspective of someone not yet married, I’ve thought a lot about this metaphor ever since my mentor explained it to me a year and a half ago in a singsongy southern drawl. I can’t control what I’ve already done that will make the metal of my future marriage less than entirely pure, but I can control each moment forward and think about what my current decisions will mean for my future toaster. Reflecting on this metaphor has allowed my current relationship to be built on habits that will make our future shinier, not more difficult. All of our decisions since meeting have been with the other person in mind, so we haven’t really added any impurities to the metal (other than what we brought in from our pasts). It’s been an easy, steady road so far, and kept about as clean as it can be thanks to both of us openly and honestly discussing what this metaphor looks like in action. Plus we’re lucky enough to lean on the amazing help of mutual friends who steer our decisions in the right direction if either of us teeter towards doing something that would potentially harm the other without realizing. Good friends and great mentors are the best!

I bring up my relationship because I’m so happy I can’t shut up to say that no matter what stage of toaster production you’re in, there’s something to be done about being in a super happy, longterm relationship. If you’re completely single like I usually am, you can think about bringing the best possible metal to the table for whoever your future spouse might be, and make decisions accordingly. If you’re doing something the person you end up with probably won’t like hearing about, think about not doing it. Perhaps you’re in a relationship like I am that you hope to be in for a good long while. In that case, you can work with that person to create great habits and not get unhealthily attached, rather spend time shaping the throughput and evaluating if it is going to create a toaster you’ll want to use forever. If it’s right, it should come together rather easily. Then there are the married people, whether last weekend or married for 30, 40, 50 years…you can always melt your toaster and work on the throughput to create a better toaster if the habits you worked on need to be adjusted. Then you can come up with an even better output/final product!

This post may be a little rambly and hard to follow, but I hope that it ultimately makes you think about your current romantic state and strive for the best! Worst case scenario, it’ll motivate you to whip up some cinnamon sugar toast. In that case, I’ll still consider this a successfully inspirational blog post.

cinnamon sugar toast

The amount of this treat that I put into my body in 2003 is both impressive and alarming.

Leave a comment

Filed under Relationships

Oh, Hi, I Was Born Today

It’s my birthday!! I’m 21! Woo hoo!

Kidding. I’m that weird, unspecial age that means nothing except that I’m officially in my late twenties: 27. Aren’t I supposed to feel really adulty by now? Should I not still love Taylor Swift? Should I eat breakfast? Should I understand the stock market? Should I not have crushes on 19-year-olds in my friends’ wedding parties?  I’M NOT READY TO BE HERE. Daddddd help.

If I learned one thing from my big sister in my sorority (Phi Mu- LIOB <3), it’s that you should have no shame in celebrating your birthday and making sure that everybody else does, too. I used to pretend to be coy and slipped the fact that it was my birthday into conversations, then acted surprised when people cared. My big, however, would tell people at least a week or two ahead of time that she was excited about her upcoming day of birth. She’d give daily reminders the week of her birthday, and on the day itself, she would look at you with bright eyes until you realized that she didn’t hear a word you said because you had not yet said Happy Birthday. It was an inspiring display of confidence. Since then, I’ve decided to let my enthusiasm out of its cage and own up to the fact that I get really excited on my birthday. I love love, and birthdays are such a great opportunity to soak up all of the love from family and friends! And soak it in, I do.

Silliness and narcissism aside, I woke up this morning feeling incredibly lucky. As I fell asleep last night, I kept thinking about how grateful I am to have lived 27 years. So many people don’t get to experience this many years on earth, much less this many years with an extraordinary family, unconditional and lasting friendships, comfortable surroundings, and a healthy body. Each year of my life has presented me with challenges ranging from heartbreak to death, monumental experiences ranging from becoming Miss New York to working in leper colonies in India, and lessons to improve my character, relationships, and wellbeing. The fact that God decided to let me get this far and live a life full of adventure, passion, and development is a gift I try to remember on a daily basis…but it’s sure easier to zone in on His blessings on my birthday!

Today, I got to wake up knowing that I live three minutes from my favorite people on earth who happen to be my family, happy to go to a job that lets me live in an amazing apartment on the beach, feeling special and cared for by my [super hot, intelligent, and fun-loving] boyfriend (waitwhat), looking forward to dinner with amazingly bright-spirited and giving friends, and passionate about writing, horseback riding, singing, and loving other people. That’s a pretty spectacular way to wake up.

Each year, my heart is more full to the point that I fear it may explode by age 30. But if that means my life continues to be bombarded by love and growth, it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

So thanks to all who have already made today special, and cheers to 27!!

(This is me cheersing you with a birthday crown and a martini in hand…as it should/always will be.)

birthday

Leave a comment

Filed under Reflection

Trust Your Instincts: My Life as Shark Bait

I was born in sunny San Diego, had a brief stay in Newport, Rhode Island during the very formative year of age three, quickly retreated back to heaven on earth San Diego with my family until I was seven, then journeyed across the country in our trusty silver suburban to settle in Virginia Beach, VA. During our seven day cross-country voyage with no entertainment beyond a Game Boy (Donkey Kong champ right here) and the thriving imaginations of my brother and I paired with a foot long pencil, one deer hide drawstring sack, and some glitter, I stared out the window at the great expanse of passing land. Green land. Dusty land. Mountainy land. Candy land. So much land.

When my parents could no longer take my incessant singing of The 50 States Song (leading to my now-adult party trick of saying all of the states in alphabetical order in one breath), we got out of the car to ride mules down the Grand Canyon (which was terrifying fun!), eat dinner at a restaurant I can only believe was located deep in the heart of Texas (based on the photo evidence below), and crawl through Mammoth Cave. These adventures were neat and the land was pretty, but my little seven-year-old brain thought it was basically an expansive theme park. Anything between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans was just a verse out of Old McDonald Had a Farm or a real-life version of pictures in my second grade geography book. People don’t live here, obviously. How would they go to the beach?

Indians

Since I was essentially birthed straight into the ocean and only lived in beach towns until college, one would imagine that I am like a fish. You probably think I use Cover Girl foundation to hide my neck gills, that I grow retractable flippers, and I sport a coconut bra beneath all of my clothing in case of a quick-change…and you are correct. In all seriousness (the coconut bra part is real, though), I did learn to swim at the ripe old age of three because my older brother didn’t need floaties anymore so WHY IN THE WORLD DO I NEED TO WEAR THEM MOM, and in adulthood I cannot function in a city without sand, hence my recent move back to Virginia Beach. Being a beach girl is cute and fun and like, totally chill brah, but there is one more glaring similarity to a fish that we need to talk about.

I am literal shark bait.

My fear of sharks started at a young age, most likely because my brother wanted the deep end of my grandmother’s pool to himself, so he told me that when the sun casts a shadow over the drain, sharks start trying to break through the little holes. This made perfect sense to me. At 3:30pm, when the angle of the sun started bringing that shadow closer and closer to the drain, I hung out on the steps in the shallow end and prayed that today would not be the day that the sharks succeed.

On day trips to the beach, I’d bound into the ocean– the place where sharks live before they migrate to my grandmother’s drain each afternoon. Usually the waves and my boogie board were enough to distract me from what lurked beneath. I trained myself to be a good little beach kid, laughing instead of crying when a wave tumbled me ashore to the point of near death by drowning and/or a broken neck, and swimming further out than anyone else just to prove a point. By the way, swimming is literally the only time in my life I’ve ever felt a competitive edge flair from within. Not the kind of swimming with a cap and good form, but the kind that says If you need a human tugboat from Cuba to Florida, I’m your girl. 

Over time, my fear of sharks has unfortunately expanded beyond the deep end of the pool. [For the record, I still have to actively steady my breath in swimming pools with a shadow over the drain. I wish I was kidding.] Boogie boards and proof of buoyancy are no longer enough to distract my mind at the beach. Death-by-shark has almost become an obsession. I’ve YouTubed every available video of shark attacks online and even expanded my search to killer whales because, I mean, they’re also a threat. Morbidity knows no bounds. With my ample knowledge of how vulnerable humans are in the water, wading past knee-deep is a real mental struggle. And did you know that a considerable amount of shark attacks happen in knee-deep water? Help.

My last venture into deep water was in Puerto Rico in 2012. Five friends and I swam 30 minutes away from shore around a bank-cave-thing that jutted out of the coastline in order to explore a little opening in the cave with a natural skylight in the rocks. What possessed me to go into a dark cave in the ocean, I do not know, but there is a 100% chance that Jaws was taking a nap 30 feet beneath me. I lived to tell the tale, though, and planned on ending my open water swimming on that high note. I knew it was a simple game of statistics, and I only had so many chances left before I was dunzo.

Let this next part be a lesson for all that it is important to trust your instincts (and statistics):

I’ve always sensed that aqua-luck is not on my side, from that first life-altering day I found out about sharks headbutting their way through the drain in my grandmother’s pool. I should have stopped while I was ahead, as was the plan following my cave swim. A few months after Puerto Rico, however, my family went on a Christmas Caribbean cruise that included an excursion to swim with dolphins. As Brittany S. Pierce wisely explained on Glee, dolphins are just gay sharks, but I decided to ignore that fact and take the plunge. My little brother, 8 years old at the time, and I debarked on the island of Cozumel and made our way to the area of the beach with netted off sections for dolphin swimmers. It was “open water,” but the nets made me feel a little bit better. These dolphins swim with humans every day. What could possibly go wrong?

LOL.

I’m just going to cut to the chase here. The dolphin bit me. I made it through two impressive tricks as though I was a trainer at Sea World pre-Blackfish, but then, during the grand finale of the excursion, I was targeted. I was targeted like the lone cherry Jolly Rancher. Like the open bar at a wedding. Like the cookie with the most perfect golden-brown color. That gay shark saw my little foot and said to himself, This foot is more special than the thousands of feet I’ve seen on a daily basis in the last five years. This foot is a real prize. And he took it.

In case you’re wondering if my right foot is now made of Barbie-inspired plastic due to the attack– No. It’s not. I managed to escape with nothing but pretty epic teeth marks in a perfect circle around the center of my foot and a damaged psyche.

I should have seen the dolphin thing coming. My instincts told me that large sea creatures and I are not meant to be friends. I knew in my heart that I was born into the life of a human shark magnet, but I chose to test the waters…quite literally. The proof is in the pudding: If a domesticated dolphin will bite me, my luck in open water has clearly run out. Mosasaurus will probably make a surprise return from extinction and swallow me whole should I ever again venture past a shoreline drop off. Which might actually be a better way to go than being torn into pieces by a bull shark, come to think of it. But my point of all this is simply to say that if you visit me in Virginia Beach this summer, I won’t be going in the water unless surrounded by a shield of sacrificial humans on every side of my body. And please, everybody, trust your instincts.

shark in virginia beach

NOPE. Nope. Nope. Nope.

P.S.- If you happen to see the picture of the dolphin kissing my cheek as the banner across the top of this blog (it’s a rotating picture…sorry if you got a boring one of champagne glasses or something), you should know that that photo was taken AFTER the a-hole bit me. I am brave. I am an amazing actress. And I am dedicated to a good photo op.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor, Opinions

Look Up

I could give you great excuses about why I’ve been terrible about posting lately, like how I had to train someone in my old job, have goodbye drinks every night, go to a bachelorette party, move to a new city, start a new job, make new friends, and still shower at least once a week but I’ll take full responsibility for slacking. After all, I have still found time to watch The Bachelorette, read Paper Towns, and browse the frozen food aisle for a solid 20 minutes to choose which Healthy Choice Café Steamer I wanted for dinner on Sunday night. These three things alone are proof that I need to reevaluate my priorities. Also, they are proof that even the busiest person has time to text you if he/she really wanted to. #datingadvice  …But more on that another time.

If you’re skimming right now, that first paragraph serves no real purpose in this blogpost, so you can skip it completely.

Let’s talk about something far less polarizing than texting manners, like police brutality or Caitlyn Jenner. If those subjects don’t bring people together in a kumbaya circle, I don’t know what does. For some unidentifiable reason, though, I am not inspired to unify mankind by addressing either one of those hot topics, so I’ll resort to good old fashioned granny-therapy. This time, we’ll dive into human potential and perhaps figure out why we only use 10% of our brains. Or 5-7%, from what I observe when driving.

Maybe the first paragraph does serve a purpose in that it exemplifies how easy it is for our brains to turn to mush. I love when everything comes together.

Rolling right along… The other night, as I laughed in the face of danger by talking on my cell phone while sitting in the hot tub, my friend and I discussed how easily we partake in mindless activities instead of contributing intricate and lasting art, inventions, discoveries, or humanitarian efforts to the world. Humans are capable of insanely incredible things. Think about the Sistine Chapel or the Parthenon. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or The Great Gatsby. (I’m really upset that I feel the need to clarify, but I’m talking about the book, not the movie, you guys.) Apollo 11 or the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer initiative. Chai tea lattes or Taylor Swift’s 1989 (just kidding, just kidding…kind of). Why is it, then, that most of us settle for careers without purpose and nights of mindless television shows or unstimulating social events? Why aren’t we cultivating our minds and prioritizing long term passions and projects? Is the age of immediate entertainment and satisfaction slowly erasing creative efforts that are only accomplished through meticulous dedication over long periods of time?

Sure, technological advances don’t seem to be lacking. Lots of brains in this world have zoned in on ways to computerize basically anything. These inventions and projects are not to be overlooked or devalued– they are certainly proof that brilliance still exists on this earth. As much as technology is the modern shining star of human capabilities, however, it is simultaneously the most significant obstacle for our generation to reach its highest potential in other areas of development. When everything is computerized and presented in convenient formats that do the work for us, why would we challenge our minds? Why read a map? Why learn how to play an instrument? Why call to make a reservation? Why learn equations? Why read when you could watch Netflix? Why write original content on a blank page when you could scroll through Facebook? Why go to the opera when you have YouTube? Why even look up?

You might be thinking, “What does making a reservation or reading a map have to do with expanding our minds?” First of all, because most people in the United States don’t have maps like in the Asian countries and such as. miss-south-carolina-2007-teen-pageant Also, because simple things like making a reservation over the phone or figuring out how to get somewhere force you to interact with the world. The smallest indulgence in the world around us allows our minds to grow and our memories to stick. When your mind is truly engaged and aware, original thoughts, questions, and observations will inevitably arise. With those revelations or curiosities comes deliberate action to find truth and/or create an answer. And in finding truth and creating answers come unique, inspiring, and downright remarkable contributions to society.

Motivation is the key, and to be motivated, you have to engage. Engage in the intricacies of music. Engage in the physical capabilities of your body. Engage in challenging conversations with someone who has a different perspective. Engage in the physics of our complicated universe. Engage in imaginative stories and magical “what ifs.” Let it all sink in, then find a way to interact with it all. Dedicate yourself to the power we all have to accomplish something extraordinary. It could be a book, a piece of fine art, a song, a new calculus theory, a business, a volunteer effort, a running club– anything! Not everything has to be as classically profound as the human achievements in history books. I think about the people who started The Color Run or J.K Rowling’s imagination to create Harry Potter or Kayla Itsines’ growing fitness empire (which must be insanely impressive since even I’ve heard of her, and I do not follow trendy fitness routines or gurus). None of these accomplishments happened overnight, rather these people had ideas and spent hours upon hours prioritizing and refining them. Saying “no” to nights of binging on House of Cards. Saying “no” to Happy Hours or movie nights. Sacrificing momentary entertainment for consistent dedication to a greater goal. This is not to say we can’t ever let loose, but it seems as though “me time” and partaking in activities that don’t challenge our minds have become the norm instead of well-earned treats.

Clearly I fall into the trap of daily distractions, as evidenced by my lack of writing recently. But I don’t want to wake up in 30 years and wonder where the time went. I want to fill it with deliberate effort– to live intentionally, slowly, and with purpose. To give my dreams and ideas direct attention and legs to stand on. If we all lived with the desire to expand the notion of possible, I can only imagine the exciting energy that would be displayed in art, science, and even relationships all around us. No one would ever want to look down. look up

1 Comment

Filed under Reflection

B.A.E. of the Week: Katie B.

Alright, good job, everyone. You’ve now read THREE whole real blog posts since the last B.A.E. of the Week, so I will reward you with a hot, sassy, flexible talented, successful, and philanthropic bae. You’re welcome.

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

WHAT IS B.A.E. OF THE WEEK?

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: Katie B.

Katie B. 2

Name: Katie B.

Nickname(s): KB, Nugget

Age: 26

What institute of higher learning did/do you attend? I’m a graduate of Fordham University with a double major in Dance and Communications/Media Studies. I recently started back at Fordham part-time to pursue my MBA. #GoodbyeSocialLife.

What is your current occupation? I currently do marketing & events for the Swiss, luxury watch company Vacheron Constantin. I’ve been with the company for 4 years and can honestly say that I love what I do. It’s creative, strategic, and challenging. We also have a partnership with New York City Ballet and being a former dancer, I’m afforded the opportunity to keep dance in my life in a different, non-traditional way!

What is your ultimate career goal?  I hope to be Director of Marketing for a fashion, luxury goods, or beauty brand.

What is something you’ve done in life thus far that you’re proud of? Having competed in the Miss America Organization for 10 years, I have to say, having the opportunity to be Miss Manhattan was pretty cool! New York City is the greatest city on Earth. It’s the epicenter of arts & culture, fashion, & finance, and there is an undeniable, addictive energy. During my year as Miss Manhattan, I met so many wonderful people, attended numerous events, and did some phenomenal work with GMHC (the world’s leading HIV/AIDS organization) that ultimately help pave the way for me to become the youngest board member in the organization’s history.

What do you like to do outside of work? I’m a Flybarre/Flywheel junkie. They both are such phenomenal workouts and I always leave energized. I enjoy seeing shows, going to the ballet, scowling sample sales, trying out different dive bars, wearing black on black on black, brunching (yes, it’s a verb) on the weekend, volunteering with GMHC, drinking green juice, walking & exploring different parts of the city, and binge watching netflixs when the temperature dips below what is humanly acceptable. The dichotomy of dirty streets and sequins makes me fall in love with NYC again and again and again.

[Editor’s note: That last sentence, though. Shivers.]

Who was your elementary school crush? Brian Betley.

Did he like you back? Haha no. I tried way too hard.

Do you believe in love at first sight? No. I believe in “like” or “lust” at first sight, but true love takes time. To really love someone, you have to connect with them; find out about their personality, interests, qualities, quirks, & flaws. You need to see whether he makes you laugh, how he kisses you, and ultimately, spend time together.

Do you feel ready to get married if you found the right one? Yes, I think so.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? My little brother recently played a show at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. While waiting in line to go inside I noticed a very attractive, tall guy in front of me. I turned to my mom and said, “I wonder what year this guy graduated, I’ll have to have Jimmy introduce me.” My mom turned around and said, “He graduates in May… with your brother.” I was mortified. Cue Mrs. Robinson.

[Editor’s note: I held on to this gem of a profile for so long before publishing that “last week” is really more like “last month”…my bad. Also, Katie– you rob that cradle. No shame.]

What is the second most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? So after Jimmy’s show, a bunch of kids came back to our home for the “after-party.” The event planner in me started bringing down chips, popcorn, pizza, etc. The next day Jimmy told me that a few kids were confused as to who I was. “Do you have an older sister or a really young Mom?” was the question frequently asked. I DIED. My ego is still recovering.

[Editor’s Note: #milfintraining]

What’s one weird thing you do sometimes? I’m the “to-do” list queen. I make lists on top of lists on top of lists. I like the satisfaction of crossing things off that I’ve completed.

Do you try and catch the bouquet at weddings or usually hide from it? Catch it. I’m super competitive.

Are you more like Mindy Kaling or Beyonce? Hands down Beyonce. Anyone who has been out with me on a Saturday night knows that I rarely pass up an opportunity to whip my hair back and forth.

[Editor’s Note: ^^ Fact.]

What’s your favorite unhealthy food?  Peanut butter. I’ve been told it’s a “good fat”, but to quote my mother, aka Big Red, “there is no good kind of fat for a girl who is single.” Big Red wins at life.

[Editor’s Note: Mothers are put on this earth to spit truth.]

What’s your least favorite kind of workout? Running. I wish I was one of those people that pops in their headphones and runs multiple miles like it’s nothing. I run for a few minutes and then start looking at my watch, loosing patience, & struggling for breathe. My mind quickly starts to wonder: “Am I running too slow? Is my form wrong? Am I Pheobe from FRIENDS?” #AngerJogger

Go-to drink: I’m a beer gal. My two go-to’s are pilners & pale ales.

Brad Pitt or Bradley Cooper? Bradley Cooper

Zach Galifianakis or Will Ferrell? Will Ferrell

Favorite physical feature on yourself: Eyes. I have absolutely no poker face, like zero, so whatever I’m feeling can be seen all over my face and usually radiates from my eyes. They are also green, which is different/cool. I also have a love/hate relationship with my butt. I struggle daily with wishing I was a size 0 & not minding that I fill out a pair of jeans. Guess I just gotta find a guy that is “all bout that bass.”

One reason you love being single: I really enjoy meeting new people. I’m at the point in my life where I want to find people that I connect with and have a natural, organic conversation with that extends past the superficial “how was your day” type questions. I’m very open and dating/meeting new people challenges me to step outside my box, put myself out there, try new things, and take a chance. The more dates I go on, the more it becomes apparent as to what I want from a partner.

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 Katie in three words:

BFF #1: Feisty, loyal, dedicated

BFF #2: Dynamic, compassionate, beautiful

Why you think Katie shouldn’t be single: 

BFF #1: Because some man out there is missing out on one of the most amazing, genuine, big-hearted and multi-talented women I know….and a girl’s gotta eat! So she deserves a man to wine and dine her.

BFF #2: Katie should not be single because she is not only beautiful on the outside, but she is just as beautiful on the inside. She is kind loving and loyal. Katie deserves to have someone in her life that makes her happy and his priority! Katie does so much for others that she deserves a guy who will do this for her. :-)

Leave a comment

Filed under B.A.E. of the Week