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

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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.

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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

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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: Feisy, 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. :-)

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Life’s A Beach

This world can overwhelm us from every direction. We get overwhelmed by responsibilities, our work load, and relationships. By human conflict as we see it first hand, on the news, or on social media. By family. By the needs of our friends. By money, or lack thereof. By unexpected change. By the frailty of life. By the number of choices on the menu at The Cheesecake Factory.

Life can be a lot to handle. Before we know it, we’re drowning in stress, confusion, panic, and fear. How can there possibly be decades left of this dysfunctional circus? Is there an end in sight? I remember once sitting on an airplane, thinking if I have 65 more years left to live, how in the world will I entertain my mind for that long? In that moment, I was overwhelmed by boredom (and the stench of my deodorant-averse seatmate). But there have been other times that I ask myself a different strain of that same question. How can I possibly handle 65 more years of making sure I have enough money? How can I put up with 65 more years of seeing people fight on the news? Of never knowing another soul as well as I know my own? Of missing my mom? Of struggling with the choice between fish tacos and filet mignon sliders? It honestly seems like a long, turbulent road.

Those buckets of negativity momentarily pour onto my head and overwhelm me, covering me from head to toe, but are quickly put to shame by the roaring ocean of something else. Something that completely immerses me. Something that takes the word “overwhelm” to a whole new level. As cheesy as it sounds, that something else is love.

Nothing hits me quite as hard as love. It reminds me of sitting on beach chair just out of reach of the waves. Most waves roll about five feet from your toes before retreating back into the sea. Close, but nothing to worry about. Every once in a while, a wave touches your toes, and you think Whoa, that was a big one! Maybe that’s money. Or death. Or betrayal. And then, with no warning, that one huge wave crashes ashore and absolutely puts the other waves to shame. It plows through your chair and knocks over your Bud Light Lime sitting in the sand. Your feet sink into quicksand puddles and your towel sops up 15 pounds of water. Your butt gets wet through the flimsy, drooping fabric. Once that wave hits, all those other waves that touched your toes seem like puny little teasers.

That big wave is love.waves crashing ashore

Sometimes I think that the negatives of life are overwhelming, but those feelings are minuscule compared to the rush I feel when overwhelmed by love. Last weekend, I traveled to NYC to take part in a walk to raise money for bladder cancer research. As most of you know, my mother passed away from bladder cancer in 2012. A few hours before I boarded the bus to the Big Apple, I received an unexpected and perfect job offer that would allow me to move back to Virginia Beach, be close to family, and support myself in a little oasis of a one bedroom apartment right on the water. I was beyond excited. I was not excited, however, to tell my current employer. My boss has become something of a BFF/cool uncle/fun cousin in my life, so the excitement about the move started turning into dread of telling him that I’m leaving. Fear began washing to shore. A wave of uncertainty lapped at my feet. As the negativity threatened to reach my chair, I pulled up my email while the bus pulled out of Union Station. Lo and behold, up popped a new email from my boss. In it, he commended my coworker and me for how we handled a tough situation in the office that morning, and closed by wishing me the best during the walk in NYC, saying he “only wishes he had met my mother so he could tell her what a fine person she raised.” There it was. The tsunami of love knocked me flat on my back. And nothing hits my heart harder than when someone suggests that I am a reflection of how extraordinary my mom was.

The tsunami materialized through my tear ducts, so I turned my head towards the bus window and began the Dramatic Silent Cry. Thank God it was pitch black on the bus and I didn’t have a seatmate. That would’ve been real awkward. I wasn’t crying because I was sad to say goodbye to such an awesome boss (which I am), but because I realized how lucky I am that the mutual love for friends and coworkers makes it so hard to say goodbye.

goodbye

Then, because of how emotions work, the love-tears expanded into more thoughts about cry-worthy love—about the dozens of people who donated money to our bladder cancer walking team in memory of my mother, about my friends and family awaiting me in New York for the walk, about my friends and family in Virginia Beach who are so excited to welcome me back, about the Starbucks barista that calls me by name every morning, and about the girl in the line at Target who let me go first because I only had one item. How could I possibly hold it together with all of that love swirling about?

I know, I know. I’m an emotional disaster. You must be new to Generation grannY if this comes as a surprise.

All of this is to say that the moments you feel overwhelmed by sadness, bitterness, boredom, fear, annoyance, or anger absolutely pale in comparison to what you’ll feel if you contemplate the amount of love in this world. We’re so easily distracted by the negatives in life, thanks to the news, articles on Facebook, and our natural inclination as humans to be slightly depressing. Just like waves rolling to the shore, however, those little negative ripples barely reaching your feet are never as impressive or worthy of your attention as that big wave. You can will the Big Kahuna to crash ashore by actively recognizing the love in your life, or sometimes—as was the case on my bus ride—it’ll hit you when you least expect it, overwhelming you with the most important thing in life. And boy is it refreshing.

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Take Control

Yesterday, I got angry. Really, really angry.

I bet you’re wondering why.

I wish I had a good answer for you, but I don’t. To set the scene, I was 10 minutes into my cardio routine on the elliptical, listening to the Ellie Goulding station on Pandora and staring at my sweaty self in the mirror, wondering if my face was that red from the workout or if the gym lighting was bringing out a lingering sunburn from falling asleep in the hammock last Saturday. All was well and fine. I’d had the best mojo (moh۰ho) pork of my life at lunch. No work emergency had sent me running for cover beneath my desk. A good friend who I thought had forgotten about my existence texted while I was changing in the locker room. Even the annoying man who usually talks loudly in Spanish on his cell phone in our small office gym was nowhere to be seen. So how come, at minute 10, did I start sprouting green hands and feeling veins bulge from my forehead?

incredible-hulk gif

Save during third trimesters or extended periods of severe exhaustion, no one should feel rage bubble up from within out of nowhere. Ideally, the kind of anger that makes you incapable of drawing steady breaths should come as a very rare occurrence with extremely valid reasoning. [Acceptable triggers: Someone shoots your dog. The Uber driver never shows up. Your friends forget your birthday. The a-hole directly ahead of you at Chipotle orders 12 different meals off of a cell phone screen. Skateboarders.] People who are too easily angered are just exhausting to be around, plus they’re scary…like I was yesterday (internally).

Although I am not prone to regular fits of rage (us winos like to keep our heart rates impressively low with the help of Helen Keplinger and Robert Mondavi), I went from 0 to 60 yesterday in a matter of seconds. I had completed just over a mile on the elliptical with the incline at 10 and resistance at 9, which is generally the point when I mentally decide whether it is going to be a good workout day or a bad workout day (I was already starting to lean towards “bad”) when, all of a sudden, my Pandora station cut off in the middle of my favorite dubstep song (more on my workout music preferences another time). Like tumbling out of the East Australian Current and popping into the empty, quiet Coral Sea [Duuuuuuude. Mr. Turtle is my father.], I found myself abruptly thrust into an unmotivating white room, listening only to the loud screech of my under-oiled cardio machine.

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The discombobulation rapidly turned to fury when I realized that my new phone case makes it impossible to easily mess with the volume buttons. Continuing to move my legs, I restart my lime green iPhone in hopes that Pandora will get its act together. Meanwhile, all I hear is “Screech…The Oklahoma City…screech…Thunder head coach…screech…was fired yesterday…screech.” I want to punch the TV and also yell at whoever ordered this piece of crap machine. The phone comes back on, but Pandora is loading like dial up internet from the 90s. I give up and get off the machine, heart pounding and fists curled. Right when my feet hit the ground, Pandora pops back on. Of course. I stand there for a few seconds, glaring into the ground, and remind myself that the bridesmaid dress I’m wearing in June won’t fit unless I lose six pounds. I climb back aboard the elliptical. It’s too late to press “Resume.” Ugh.

One minute back into the workout, I realize that Lorde is playing through my earbuds. I hate Lorde. Skip. An advertisement for a bridal shop blasts into my skull. If one more person gets engaged, I swear. The screech of the machine becomes audible through the commercial. Smoke begins billowing out of my ears. My face turns red because of neither fatigue or sunburn. I think of all the reasons I hate people on Facebook. I silently imagine telling off my ex. I wish death upon Kylie Jenner. I never want to speak to another human who isn’t my dad ever again.

Still weakly able to objectively assess the irrationality of my mental state, the little cherubim in white robes who lives inside of my left shoulder begged me to take control of the situation. Moved and impressed by his drowned-out plea, I bounded off of the screechy elliptical without bothering to wipe down the handles (no one was in the room to judge me) and jumped onto a treadmill. The screeching stopped. Natasha Bedingfield started to sing. My arms looked nice in the mirror. I felt the cheribum pry off the clamps around my heart. I ran the final 10 minutes of my workout at a pace .7 mph faster than normal, as if I was running away from whatever just happened in the last 20 minutes. Finally, 30 minutes after I started, the cardio portion of my workout was complete. It wasn’t pretty, but I’d made it.

Oddly enough, I felt proud. Proud because getting off of that maddening elliptical to finish up on the healthy-sounding treadmill meant that, amidst illogical fury, I was able to step back, change my course of action, and continue moving forward. That’s really all we can ask of ourselves in life. Sometimes, negative emotions and circumstances just happen. They creep up on us for no good reason, like fire ants on an innocent-looking stone bench. All of a sudden, we are consumed, unable to grasp rational thoughts. We can either let those emotions and surroundings get the best of us, giving the fire ants the chance to bite us to death (why did I choose this simile?), or we can step back and find the nearest body of water to drown the little suckers.

The important thing is not that you live a life void of mistakes which lead you to unhappy situations or that you never feel anything irrational, but rather that you learn to assess the problem and make things better. Don’t keep doing what you’re doing if it makes you miserable, anxious, or angry. Sometimes the solution is really tough to see through the mental storm clouds, but part of personal development is learning to change your course in order to see the light. Changing the course might feel uncomfortable or even risky (my feet have bad arches, so I’m not supposed to run on treadmills/streets very often), but reaching clarity, levelheadedness, and peace is worth the risk. So whether it’s regulating your emotions, upheaving daily habits, cutting the cord of a relationship, or veering onto a new career path, take control of the direction you’re headed and keep on moving towards the end goal– whatever that might mean for you.

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This round of psychotherapy brought to you by EasyStrider 400 and Ravenswood Winery.

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Hey, You! Be Proud.

Weather, without a doubt, affects my mood. This weekend was full of sunshine, and so was my soul. I wasn’t feeling great on Saturday, but even sickness couldn’t stop me from feeling the joy of falling asleep in my roommate’s hammock while reading Lena Dunham’s book (cue controversy) and staring at a squirrel eating a nut for 15 minutes straight. The sun must have healed my sickness—it is a burning ball of happiness and vitamin D, after all—because the next morning I woke up feeling like Princess Anna on Coronation Day. I went straight to the gym after springing out of bed, followed by a long afternoon of horseback riding and meeting a handsome but evil prince named Hans. It was glorious.

coronation day gif

With my newfound sense of optimism and the windows rolled down, Sam Hunt blasting on my drive to the barn where I ride [horses not cowboys], I began thinking about when I was Miss New York. Usually, when I think about being Miss New York, I view it as a very neat experience, but feel a slight twinge of embarrassment. I didn’t do anything outstanding to become Miss New York. I was not chosen based on my stage presence or killer interview or looks. I was not chosen at all. I was the default, handed the opportunity of a lifetime on a platter because I happened to be in the right place at the right time during the year that Miss America judges [finally] chose an edgy, game-changing New Yorker to become Miss America 2013. I often feel like I’m presenting myself to be something I’m not when I talk about my time as Miss New York, as though I accomplished some great feat by landing that title. People assume that a panel of distinguished judges picked me out of an incredibly good-looking, smart, and talented pool of contestants. But that’s not what happened. The closest I came to winning a state pageant was finishing in 4th place at Miss Virginia. In New York, I was 7th. I won talent almost every time I competed, which was great, but that was about it. (CLICK HERE for more on how I became Miss New York.)

In Pageant World, I was never the impressive or pretty one. (This will not come as a shock to anyone who has ever seen what I look like first thing in the morning or after a bottle and a half of red wine.) I’ve read comments on super awesome anonymous message boards saying I look like a horse or that people “just don’t get my appeal.” Honestly, that’s fair. People inevitably look like their pets, and I owned a horse growing up. I happen to think horses are really beautiful/adorable, though, so that comment didn’t really have the negative effect its author was going for. Beeeeeeeep. Please try again. All of this is just to say that I tend to dumb down the fact that I was Miss New York, along with other experiences or accomplishments in my life, because I think of myself as that person with a lot of potential who has never actually amounted to anything more than 4th, 7th, or 1,000th best.

Now do you see why I needed sunshine in my life so badly? The wambulance was too busy taking care of people who didn’t land any of the Lilly Pulitzer collection at Target to come pick me up.

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For some reason (sun), I was able to see Miss New York, this blog, my singing, heck—even my dating appeal—in a different light when driving to the barn yesterday, all the while trying to forget that I am a target for cops since my license plate tags have been expired since October. (Dad, I’m sorry for failing as an adult. It only took me being pulled over twice to order new ones. But I got out of the second ticket by showing the cop my first ticket! Little victories.) When I became Miss New York, I felt proud because A.) I had placed high enough among a group of women that included two future Miss Americas, a future Miss Connecticut, a future Miss International, a former Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, and–still possibly–additional Miss New Yorks, to even have the opportunity to take over the crown; and B.) I knew that my mom had gone to Heaven four months earlier and pulled strings to make it happen. She believed in me. And she wasn’t alone. So many people came out of the woodwork to say that they had always believed I would become a state titleholder someday. Random pageant moms. Facebook stalkers who said flattering words about “following my journey,” but who I still refused to friend (thank you and sorry). My cousins. The star of my high school football team who I kissed once during Thanksgiving break from college. A group of socially underdeveloped men who I once spoke to as a panelist for a dating seminar (the things I get roped into…). Sorority sisters a few years older than me. My puppy-eyed ex-boyfriend. It was a motley crew, but by golly, they had always believed in me!

Once I became Miss New York, many others boarded the Shannon train, as well. The little girls at school assemblies who said they wanted to be me when they grow up (may they never read this blog). My Business Manager who booked outrageously high profile and high-paying appearances by making people believe I was the second coming of Idina Menzel (Deana, you’re an angel on earth and a marketing genius). The fine people of Manhattan who baked delicious, assorted cheesecakes that I judged to raise money for AIDS research (I did this appearance for free, obviously, because why wouldn’t I). None of these people cared how I became Miss New York. All they cared about was that I had the sparkly goods to prove it, plus that I made them feel special, inspired, or—in my Business Manager’s case—like a licensed therapist making a real difference in the life of a somewhat emotional, at times scatterbrained, princess.

Memories of all of the love I felt, and still feel, from the people who saw me as the #1 Miss New York came flooding back to me on that breezy drive to ride horses in a class full of 11-year-olds. I became consumed by excitement to see what other curveballs and successes life will throw at my face or lay at my feet. I felt inspired to write for Generation grannY despite only being the 400,000th most popular blogger in the U.S., because to my dad and about six other people, I am the #1 most popular blogger in the U.S.  I felt motivated to go to the gym because even though my body will never look like Peta Murgatroyd’s, my future husband (identification still pending) and possibly my sleazy neighbor think I am Aphrodite cloaked in modern apparel. I felt focused on my future, where I might become Mindy Kaling’s best friend and write a book that becomes a movie of my life and then get famous enough to turn into a popstar who eventually morphs into the new Oprah, or perhaps where I write an e-book that a few hundred people read and their lives, hearts, and abs are better for it. And where maybe I’ll get some bar gigs to sing songs that put strangers in a great mood after a long day at work.

The moral of the story is to make sure that I am exposed to warm weather every 4-6 weeks. Also, that finding pride in your life is all about the lens through which you choose to view it. Especially for twenty or thirty-somethings, it’s easy to choose the self-deprecating “what will/have I actually ever accomplish(ed)” lens, but get your butt outside, feel the warmth on your face, and think: You are alive. You are like no one else. If you have shown love to even one other human being, then you have already done something to be proud of. Your inherent uniqueness combined with your experiences and accomplishments makes you extraordinary. Pair that with some hard work and positive lenses, and your future will hold even more to smile about on sunny afternoon drives. Maybe even on sleety, dark, winter afternoon drives, too. (That might be overshooting.)

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B.A.E. of the Week: Claire B.

Update about B.A.E. of the Week: For fear of my blog turning into one big B.A.E. catalog, I’ll probably post profiles of awesome baes just once every few weeks instead of weekly. Now you’ll be required to read my weird lists and granny viewpoints in between scouting out new best friends or playing matchmaker for your coworker. Not even a little bit sorry.

<<If you already know what B.A.E. of the Week is, you may skip this introduction and head straight to Claire 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: Claire B.

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Nickname(s): Claire Bear, Buff, ClaireBuff

Age:  28 (29 so soon)

What institute of higher learning did/do you attend? Ball State University (BFA), Georgetown University (Masters)

What is your current occupation?  Photographer and Marketing Consultant

What is your ultimate career goal?  Theatrical marketing for Broadway and the performing arts – I want to keep helping actors and dancers succeed!

What is something you’ve done in life thus far that you’re proud of?  I’ve owned my own business for 10 years, and this past fall with my roommate Mallory, I started a new – what I thought was going to be a “side” – personal branding business (niche in Miss America prep), and despite the changing landscape of the Miss America Organization, it has been far more successful than we anticipated!! Both of these things allow me to live in NY (the best place on earth) in the lifestyle I desire.

What do you like to do outside of work?  Drink wine with friends. Cook dinner for friends. Drink wine while cooking.

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Claire and I after drinking wine. Proof that one of her hobbies is drinking wine with friends!

Who was your elementary school crush?  Matthew Blevins…3rd Grade…baseball park hahaha

[Editor’s Note: Unclear why a baseball park is mentioned, but the strong laughter at the end really intrigues me]

Did he like you back? He kissed me by the bleachers and then ran away. Unclear.

Do you believe in love at first sight?  I don’t really know…I think at the beginning you have a gut feeling of “THIS” or not. But if that gut feeling is love? I’m not quite sure. Whatever it is, there’s always that first feeling you’ll never forget. Sometimes it’s not a rush of o.m.g. l.o.v.e. But it’s more of ..uhhhh what was that?!?

Do you feel ready to get married if you found the right one? Yes.  Thought I’d be engaged at 26, married at 27/28, so I’m a little behind my own expectations, but that’s not a disappointing thing.  I have a pretty cool life and enjoy sharing it with my friends…just ready to share it with someone else too.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? Ehhhh I was on the struggle bus lifting my insanely heavy grocery bags out of the cart at Trader Joe’s yesterday. But luckily in NY, you’re never the most embarrassing person around.

What is the second most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week?  (You can still be considered a bachelorette even if you’re dating right? Just not yet committed? If so this one could apply…)  Got together to watch a movie with a guy and we were wearing matching shirts. Embarrassing? eh not so much, but a little weird? Sure.

What’s one weird thing you do sometimes?  Play out complete hypothetical conversations in my head, verbatim. And then think about all the directions it could go.  (did I just reveal why I’m single?!)

[Editor’s Note: If this is a reason for singledom, then you may have cracked the code for me, as well.]

Do you try and catch the bouquet at weddings or usually hide from it?  Usually casually stand in an area that physics would not even allow a bouquet to reach.

Are you Princess Fiona (Shrek) or Nala (Lion King)?  Nala! I’m in the BCEFA (Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids] show on the Lion King Broadway stage on Monday, 4/20, and I’m going to be standing on (or near) Pride Rock in the finale…TOTALLY makes me Nala!

What’s your favorite unhealthy food?  Mac & Cheese (with peas) – and Kraft, Shannon. None of that Velveeta s***.

[Editor’s Note: This is grounds for a reevaluation of our friendship.]

What’s your least favorite kind of workout?  Butt/thighs.  What is my most needed kind of workout? Butt/thighs.

Go-to drink: Red wine. Malbec.

Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel? Fallon. He’s hilarious and so nice.

[Editor’s Note: Claire is pals with a lot of famous people, including but not limited to Jimmy Fallon, Perez Hilton, and Sutton Foster]

Hugh Jackman or Bradley Cooper? Gahhhhh  Hugh Jackman…but I don’t think we’re playing for the same team….hasn’t stopped me before.

[Editor’s Note: #theatrelife]

Favorite physical feature on yourself:  Potentially contradicting the above [least favorite workout question]…my legs.

One reason you love being single: I love my friends so much and have a tight-knit group. I love being able to devote a lot of time to them. That’s why whomever I date needs the friend approval and needs to be able to hang with the group, naturally, not just because he wants to make me happy.

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

Describe Claire in three words: Compassionate, witty, loyal

Why you think Claire shouldn’t be single: Claire shouldn’t be single because she’s just the best. I know that sounds like BS, but she’s so caring and thoughtful, so  funny and always up for a good time! She is the best listener and the best cook– like, seriously. Also, she’s super hot. Did I mention that she’s an amazing cook and she’s super hot?

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That Was Better In Theory…

Idealistic concepts don’t always play out as we hope. Everyone says that we should treat others how we want to be treated, kill people with kindness, and be honest with how we feel (in a respectful way), but do those thing really make situations better? For the most part, sure. If we all ran around kicking people in the shins and lying about our thoughts, life would be pretty painful and super confusing. However, as with most assertions, there are exceptions to these poster-perfect ideals.

For instance, I enjoy when people give me gigantic hugs— even strangers I barely know. This is because I’m a hugger. So, in theory, if I treated everyone how I want to be treated, I would hug anyone I’m introduced to outside of work. Maybe at work, too. Could be a fun social experiment. But the thing is, not everyone is a hugger. Many people prefer to keep their personal bubble unpopped until we can recall eachother’s names upon a second meeting or, at the very least, become Facebook friends. Along the same lines, I also like being coddled when I’m sick, when people continuously refill my wine glass without asking, and eating alone for at least one meal a day. Therefore, I seem condescending or overbearing when treating people like infants when they’re ill, look like an enabler/alcoholic when drinking with funsuckers people who only want one glass, and come across like a beyotch when I don’t invite my coworkers to lunch. I’m just trying to treat people how I want to be treated! So much for that grand idea.

Moving on to killing people with kindness. It’s definitely better than killing people with swords or poison, no question. It also beats tearing people apart with vicious verbal attacks or slowly drowning them in passive aggression. In general, I’m all about kindness. Big fan. That being said, some people mistake kindness for weakness (back me up Rihanna/Paul McCartney/Kanye). Many times, I’ve found that if I continue to be kind to someone who is actively mean or cuts me down, they only gain more fuel for their behavior. Sometimes you have to shoot them an “I will cut you” face, and they’ll all of a sudden treat you with a little more respect. I’m not saying it’s better to be feared than to be liked, but when people realize that you’re not going to sit back and take abuse, they might be a little more prone to changing their behavior. By all means—please continue to be kind to people. I highly suggest giving kindness a whirl before busting out the Victoria Grayson death stare.

victoria graysonYou don’t watch Revenge? Well, you should. Anyway, in a general sense, kindness always wins. It just doesn’t work 100% of the time in changing people’s attitudes.

Now to address my personal favorite slogan that is often better in theory: Be honest with how you feel.

Raise your hand if this has ever backfired on you.

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People say that they would rather you tell them what you’re thinking in a respectful and gentle manner than let something build up, be misleading, or vent behind their backs. Maybe being honest is for the best in the long run, but I’ve learned that it’s not always the most beneficial tactic for staying on great terms with someone. Example: I don’t believe in slow fading people you have spent time getting to know in a romantic fashion, but who you don’t ultimately click with. Everyone advises “be upfront about how you feel, because slowly backing off of communication only confuses or frustrates the other person.” Therefore, I’m very frank with men that I’m not interested in. If we’ve gone out once or twice and I’m just not feeling it, I will say so— nicely, of course. In most cases, these guys get really offended or simply never respond (if via text) in a cold shoulder act of defiance. Ideally, they’d respond with “Thanks for your honesty. It was nice getting to know you!” But that has only happened two or three times in my experience. Generally, they’re not so pleased.

Outside of dating relationships, honesty can have the opposite effect of what you’re going for, as well. To protect friendships from annoyance-turned-animosity, we should tell our friends when they do something that bothers us, right? I’m not talking about telling them that the sound of their laugh makes you wish they had a mute button or asking them to stop dancing like a maniac at the club. (Is clubbing still a thing?) Expecting someone to change his or her personality on account of your friendship is probably a sign that you A.) shouldn’t be friends with them to begin with, and B.) are a future bridezilla who will require her bridesmaids to go on a diet. Get a hold of yourself. When it comes to things friends do that potentially hurt your feelings or make your life difficult, however, you should tell them honestly where you’re coming from instead of harboring resentment or gossiping behind their back, correct? This is another situation where the answer is “yes” only some of the time. I don’t think you should ever speak poorly of someone behind their back because that does absolutely no one any good. Neither does harboring resentment. Easier said than done, I know. Even so, sometimes bringing something to someone’s attention will end up creating tension between the two of you rather than ironing out problem. If someone doesn’t respond to your honesty with the reaction you hoped for, it doesn’t make them a bad person, but certainly creates an awkward divide that may or may not ever completely go away. So, as with the other idealistic concepts mentioned, I suggest treading carefully and only bearing your honest feelings if you’re prepared for a less-than-ideal reaction.

Before you get too depressed by my warnings about perfectly wonderful notions, let me pull it all together for a greater, constructive message. The reason you have to be careful when implementing these concepts is because every single person, relationship, and situation is unique. In life, we so easily expect others to be the same as we are, since the way we think and behave is first(?) or second nature. It’s no easy feat to understand someone else’s perspective or wishes. Even with positive intentions—like treating others how you wanted to be treated—you have to remember that what you want isn’t always what other people want. In killing people with kindness, you have to keep in mind that some people respond to kindness or harshness differently, perhaps because of a past experience or different upbringing. Responses to honesty may not be what you expect because people won’t always be able to fully understand where you’re coming from, because—news flash—they’re not extensions of you (and vice versa). And sometimes, it’s just plain hard to hear something negative, like a person you like is no longer interested or a friend is hurt or frustrated. I think it’s normal for some of those reactions to be a few notches short of enthusiastic.

All in all, the message here is quite positive: Acknowledging differences among us will not only help us to challenge our own views, but can alleviate some distress when well-intended implementations of poster-perfect ideals go haywire. We’ll never be able to get it completely right in terms of not ever offending, hurting, or annoying other people, nor will we ever find the smoothest way to manage how other people treat us, but if you stick with truly caring about people and remembering that we’re all different, most things should turn out just fine.

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B.A.E. of the Week: Nicole G.

Apologies for not writing a post this week other than B.A.E. of the Week…I’ve been very busy doing things like tending to the blisters on my fingers due to my new horseback riding class, catching up on the show Girls (not recommended for anyone 30+ or with any sense of morality), weeding out men who will definitely never be my husband, and perfecting my brie to wheat thin ratio.

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

Each week, 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: Nicole G.

nicole g

Name: Nicole G.

Nickname(s): Nikki, Smokey, Nolo, Nicholle (prounounced ni-cho-lee. My coworkers are the worst/best)

Age: 25

What institute of higher learning did/do you attend? Christopher Newport University, 2011

What is your current occupation? I manage an office and plan events in the internet domain industry. Thrilling stuff!

What is your ultimate career goal?  If I could just get paid to go to concerts and music festivals and talk about all the good music people should be listening to, I’d be completely fulfilled.

What is something you’ve done in life thus far that you’re proud of?  I’m proud of all the great friendships I’ve been able to maintain! As a military child I moved every few years and I think that helped me learn how to keep in contact with the people I cherish having in my life. Thankfully social media has made that a lot easier as well.

What do you like to do outside of work? I sing in an all-female semi-pro a cappella group, I try to go to at least 3 concerts a month (I’m real big on new year’s resolutions), I’m obsessed with boxing and I like to frequent trivia nights with friends.

Who was your elementary school crush? One of my older brother’s friends I can’t remember the name of.

Did he like you back? Despite my attempts to woo him during vacation bible school (he was a teacher), he sadly did not return my affection. =(

Do you believe in love at first sight? I think it’s possible.

Do you feel ready to get married if you found the right one? Probably not right away.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? My coworkers made me sing karaoke songs of their choosing at a company party.

[Editor’s note: Nicole has one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard. She is also my roommate, so sometimes when she is singing in her room, I pretend not to be home so that she keeps going and I can listen in awe.]

What is the second most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? Agree to singing at said party without more liquid courage.

[Editor’s note: She is the most humble person on the planet about her voice, while also being confident at the same time. I don’t know how she walks the line so perfectly, but we’ll chalk it up to her just being a really wonderful human.]

What’s one weird thing you do sometimes? I read magazines backwards. I’ve been doing it for years…I have no explanation.

Do you try and catch the bouquet at weddings or usually hide from it? I participate, but I’m definitely not in the front trying to tackle anyone for it.

Are you Pocahontas or Mulan? Mulan for sure.

What’s your favorite unhealthy food? I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in America buying this:

salad

What’s your least favorite kind of workout? Hiking. I’m just not a fan. Please do not invite me to go hiking. Wait, everyone else is going? Absolutely everyone? And there’s a waterfall at the end of the hike? Fine. Fine. I’m in. You’ve convinced me.

Go-to drink: Rye and grapefruit

Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel? I’m going to go with Fallon, but this was really tough for me.

Ryan Gosling or Chris Hemsworth? Joe Manganiello. I can do that right?

[Editor’s note: No,  you can’t do that, but I’ll let it slide.]

Favorite physical feature on yourself: I’ve grown to appreciate my cheeks.

[Editor’s note (yet again): We can assume that she’s talking about all four of her cheeks here, since– as her roommate– I can attest that all four are really fantastic.]

One reason you love being single: It makes concert planning season a whole lot easier. I love going to concerts alone. Also, nothing beats being able to sleep diagonally in my bed.

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

Describe Nicole in three words: Gorgeous, personable, witty

Why you think Nicole shouldn’t be single: Nicole should not be single because she has more to offer in a relationship than just a notch in your bedpost. She has the biggest heart and is the funniest person to be around. The person would be enriched with so much love from her. She is the best and deserves the best!

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