The Bachelor Recap: Episode 2, Season 20

The universe did not want me to watch The Bachelor last night, but I fought back and won. Barely.

My battle included a dinner party, a major house fire, and learning to work my parents’ DVR.

I didn’t get to start watching last night’s episode until 10 p.m., but in the first five minutes, I saw Ben in nothing but royal blue boxer briefs, casually putting on jeans in a marble bathroom. I took this as a sign that this episode would be worth staying up past my bedtime.

Let’s jump right in.

The first group date card says “Let’s learn how to love. From, Ben.” The girls don’t know it yet, but they’ll be traveling to a high school to compete in games that [supposedly] remind Ben of his youth. The girls invited are:

LB, Most Likely to be Confused with Shushanna

Jackie, Most Likely to Be Forgotten

Lauren H, Most Likely to Freeze Her Eggs

Becca, Most Likely to Succeed [with Ben]

Amber, Most Likely to be on Bachelor in Paradise 3

Mandi, Most Likely to be Fired from Her Job When She Gets Home

JoJo, Most Likely to be the Next Bachelorette

Jubilee, Most Likely to Punch Another Contestant

Jennifer, Most Likely to Pop a Breast Implant

Lace, Most Likely to Be Kept Around by Producers

As Ben walks into the room to pick up his 10 dates in a room full of 20 women, some wearing Lulu Lemon to show they’re “chill” and some in their favorite Anthropology body suits (100% of them in full makeup), Olivia the News Anchor clings to JoJo like she’s never experienced this emotion called “excitement” ever before in her entire life. First of all, leave JoJo alone, Olivia. She’s supposed to be the next Bachelorette and doesn’t need to be associated with your deranged faces. Second, you’re not even going on the date.

Just so you know, the following photograph is how Olivia’s face looked the entire episode, except for when she was trying to mount Ben. [Warning: May not be suitable for young children.]

olivia bachelor mouth

Olivia was making this face before we even got a taste of her Villain behavior. By the end of the episode, she easily earns her rightful place as Top Villain and resident Dementor.

While Olivia and her prey remain at the mansion, the group date girls all put on their matching white converses and hop in a limo. When they arrive at the high school, Ben waits at the bottom of some steps as a stampede of crop tops and ombre hair comes racing towards him. I can see fear in his eyes.

They go inside, where Chris Harrison appears in nerdy glasses and a moth-eaten brown sweater vest to tell the girls that they will compete in a series of events to become Ben’s Homecoming Queen. Most of them graduated high school last year, so this all feels a little too real.

The girls are paired in teams, don white lab coats, and head to “Science class.” Here, they have to combine “chemicals” labeled as “love,” “communication,” “trust,” and “appreciation” to…wait for it…”make Ben’s volcano explode.” Gulp. Lace and Jubilee are eliminated. Jubilee threatens Lace’s life and I believe her.

The remaining teams head to another class. The subject was unclear to me. All I know is they had to bob for apples, then transfer the apple into their partner’s mouth with their mouth. If you ask me, this round is far more likely to make Ben’s volcano explode than Game #1…

Jackie and whoever her partner was were eliminated. All the girls tell the camera that Jackie isn’t good with her mouth, with mischievous grins on their faces. We all send up a little prayer for their fathers who are watching.

Geography class is next, where the girls have to place a cut-out of the state of Indiana on a blank map of the United States. Three teams sort of succeed. One team puts the state sideways where Pennsylvania should be. Educators around America wince and pour themselves more wine. What makes it worse is that this team is Becca and JoJo, two of my favorites. I don’t want to talk about it.

The final test is Gym class, where the girls have to make a certain number of basketball free throws the fastest. Ben’s least favorite team– Mandi and Amber– wins. These two then have to race down a track over hurdles to determine the final Homecoming Queen. Ben looks defeated before the race even starts. Mandi wins. Ben dies a little inside because he is now forced to spend 10 full minutes “alone” in a convertible with the chicken lookalike while other, hotter girls silently watch them converse from a distance.

The second half of the group date is far less interesting. It’s mostly Lace the Producer Pick telling everyone she is not crazy, while doing something crazy every two minutes. Ben kisses Jen. Then Jubilee. Then JoJo. They all kiss and tell. Lace does not take the news lightly.

The group date rose goes to JoJo.

The next day, Ben shows up at the house to take Caila on the first one-on-one date of the season. Olivia the News Anchor (Top Villain, Dementor) is not wearing makeup, and I wish she was. The girls all stand in the driveway to watch Ben and Caila drive off in a convertible. Oh, and Kevin Hart (comedian) and Ice Cube (vaguely familiar actor/rapper) tag along in the backseat of the car. My guess is that they’re somehow affiliated with ABC and are on the show to promote something that I don’t know about.

The whole first half of the date is a gimmick to try and make Kevin Hart seem funny, but I’m not entertained. It concludes with Caila and Ben in a hot tub…inside a hot tub store…drinking champagne while Kevin Hart skinny dips right next to them. I feel bad for all parties involved.

The second half of their date is much less cringeworthy, other than Caila’s Mother of the Bride glitter shawl and 1920s character shoes. Caila and Ben share easy conversation and dazzling smiles. He gives her the rose, then they go to a private concert by someone only Ben has heard of. Caila pretends to be impressed by the “famous person,” but really, she’s just excited about slow dancing with Ben. They kiss and she’s way more into it than Ben, but that’s probably just because she already decided that he’s going to be her husband and he still has 20 other hot girls to choose from.

Group Date #2 goes to:

Emily, Twin

Shushanna, Russian

Sam, Lawyer

Olivia the News Anchor

Hailey, Twin

Amanda, Mom

Ben takes the girls to a “love lab” where they are tested to see which girl is most compatible with Ben. They are strapped with wires (after changing into white booty shorts and tank tops), then look at a picture of former Bachelor Sean Lowe next to a picture of Ben. The test determines who the girls stare at the most. Next, they have to run on a treadmill to break a sweat, which takes some less time than others. Ben then comes over and smells their pheromones, i.e. body odor. Typical first date stuff. Last, each girl sits on a bed with Ben in various sexual positions to see who arouses him most. Oh, by the way, the girls get to watch each other have their turn with Ben on the bed.

Olivia the News Anchor (tNA) quietly tells Ben she wants to kiss him while they’re on the bed, but he refuses because other girls are watching. Good job, Ben.

Sam gets the lowest overall compatibility score: 2.4 out of 10.

Olivia tNA gets the highest overall compatibility score: 7.4 out of 10. [Honestly, that still doesn’t sound like that impressive of a number, but she seems pretty pleased with it. Let us also remember that these “compatibility” tests never once broached a subject that wasn’t physical. (Sight, smell, touch) FOOL PROOF.]

During the evening portion of Group Date #2, Ben kicks things off by pulling Olivia tNA aside in her hot pink bib dress, much to the dismay of all the other girls. She already got the First Impression Rose and won the compatibility test. Why am I even here?? Ben takes Olivia to the apartment he “lives” in. She takes this as a sign that he wants to marry her. They have no conversation at all and proceed to make out for ten minutes. This pleases Ben. I am concerned that the Dementor just sucked out his soul.

dementor gif

When Ben walks Olivia back to the group, he wipes off his mouth in plain sight of his other dates. Olivia sits down among the other women and is greeted with icy silence. She then begins her mind trick games that I believe will be a staple of this season. The first one was to ask the other girls where they want to talk to Ben during their one-on-one time, which is not something most girls have thought about. This then makes them wonder where Ben and Olivia went. As a natural course of conversation would lead, they ask Olivia where she went. Olivia says she doesn’t want to talk about it, and slinks away to the bar. Now the girls are really freaking out. WHERE DID HE TAKE HER??? Olivia: 1. Other girls: 0.

Amanda and Ben have their one-on-one time under a thin blanket on an uncomfortable-looking couchbed. She tells him she has two daughters. He looks genuinely elated. They have real conversation and actually start getting to know each other. America falls in love with her. Ben seems like he does, too.

Two minutes later, Ben gives the group date rose to Olivia tNA. Bachelor Nation screams at the T.V. Olivia opens her mouth so wide that I can literally see Ben’s mom on the other side of the country sitting in horror. Use your other head, Ben!

We return from commercial break to find ourselves already halfway through the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party, where three unlucky ladies will be soon be rejected by their soulmate. Lace, yet again, tells Ben that she’s not crazy, then proceeds to act as insecure and crazy as possible. Olivia continues to get in the heads of the other girls by spending a lot of one-on-one time with Ben, even though she already has a rose.

Ben does something no Bachelor has done before, and presents some girls with gifts during the cocktail party. He brings hair clips and little roses to hot glue together with Amanda so that she can give them to her daughters. We all cry a little and thank Mike Fleiss for choosing him as the Bachelor. He also gives Lauren B. a picture of them together from the first night, and Lauren H. (teacher) a blue ribbon for making his volcano explode the biggest on the group date. I hope her kindergarteners aren’t watching.

Rose ceremony:

Caila, JoJo, and Olivia tNA already have roses. The rest go to:



Lauren B.





LB— Plot twist: LB says she can’t handle the crazies and kindly rejects the rose. Ben seems unfazed. I thought she was Shushanna the Russian this entire time, which goes to show how invested any of us were in that relationship.


Emily (twin)


Lauren H.

Shushanna (LB’s doppelganger)

Hailey (twin)

Amber (pity rose since LB’s was up for grabs)

We said goodbye to:



Mandi the chicken lookalike


I never thought I’d be saying this, but…did anyone else feel like the twins were the most normal girls on this episode? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts! And don’t forget to share this post if you, too, think Olivia is actually a Dementor.


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Filed under Bachelor Recaps, Entertainment

Holy Moly, This is Happening

I have big news, you guys!! But first, calm down, I’m not:

  • Pregnant (don’t pretend you didn’t think it)
  • The Power Ball Winner
  • Cutting off all of my hair (oddly enough, this is everyone’s second favorite post-wedding question, close behind “are you pregnant yet?”)
  • Finally finished with unpacking our apartment

While all of those things would, indeed, be exciting announcements, I think this one is still pretty great:

I stepped down from my job last Friday and am going full-time with Generation grannY! WHAT. I know. This is crazy.

shocked gif

Here is what you can expect:

  1. A brand new website design, which I’ll launch in February with the help of an amazing web developer
  2. New content 4-5 days a week (once the new site is up)
  3. An array of lifestyle, entertainment, and self-help-ish posts…so basically everything you’re already used to seeing!
  4. Videos and podcasts (eventually)
  5. Pretty pictures
  6. Freak outs (from me) about how crazy I am for forgoing a normal 9-5 life
  7. Elation about how amazing life is, because I get to do what I love (a constant battle with #6)
  8. Tons of prayer, Starbucks, and wine

I still have a few days left in my current position, as well as some preparations to complete before Generation grannY morphs into its bigger, badder self, but I wanted to let you all know what is to come! I am so lucky to have a husband who pushes me to take risks for my dreams and wants to support me in every sense of the word, as well as to have a readership that makes me believe in the good that can come (and already has) from this blog.

Thank you to every single one of you who reads Generation grannY. I hope that we can continue together in building this super fun community! I’ll be asking for your help in spreading the word once everything is in place, and I already know how kind and generous your reactions will be. That unquestionable confidence in your love and support– from friends, family, acquaintances, and “strangers”– gives this dream legs to stand on. I only hope that I can continue to write in a way that betters your lives– be it through laughter, introspection, or faith. Hopefully all three. 🙂

See you tomorrow for Round 2 of The Bachelor Recaps!


Filed under General Musings

Fear of the Dark

I really wish I liked coffee. Everyone talks about the magical zest for life that accompanies the first sip, but I can’t bring myself to get past the fact that it tastes like oily dirt. I drink a tall soy chai latte every morning, which definitely helps the grieving process of no longer being in bed, but my hoity-toity Starbucks drink isn’t offered on a counter in the office all day.

This morning, I thought I was going to be late for a meeting (that no one bothered to tell me was cancelled…), so I skipped Starbucks and decided to muscle my way through life until lunchtime. Big mistake. I feel like the fact that I didn’t curl up on my boss’ couch and take a nap is honest-to-God proof that I’m a good employee. Ugh, millennials. 

at-least-i-had-on-underwear gif

I’m telling you all of this because I have not yet fully recovered from this morning’s caffeine depravation. My eyeballs still feel like led, and my brain still feels like it’s soaked in molasses. I want to apologize ahead of time if this post is not my best work. I’m choosing to blame it on the lack of Starbucks this morning, although some people might blame the red wine I drank last night at Girls Night…or because I woke up at 4 a.m. and was convinced that the bathrobe hanging on the back of my door was an intruder. I spent 15 minutes staring at it to see if it moved, 10 minutes telling myself it’s just a robe, and 60 minutes thinking about what I need to get at the grocery store.

My fear of the bathrobe is just a symptom of a greater issue: I am afraid of the dark. I hate when it’s dark inside while it’s dark outside (i.e. bedtime), dark inside while it’s light outside, or dark outside while it’s light inside. Whichever way you slice it, any sort of darkness elicits an impressive/alarming array of murder scenarios and escape plans in my head.

Last week in Virginia Beach, where the worst crimes are generally poorly executed boob jobs and PTA uprisings, a woman’s body was found floating in the water right next to my gym. I say “my gym” lightly because I haven’t been there since November. The woman has yet to be publicly identified, nor was the cause of death revealed, so naturally I’ve decided that she was a 27-year-old brunette who was brutally attacked by a stranger while her husband was out to sea.

Aaron and I drove past the emergency vehicles at the crime scene on our way to my dad’s house the day before Aaron deployed. We assumed that an older gentleman at the gym saw one too many colorful sports bras and keeled over, so we made a passing comment and continued onto our destination. Poor guy. At least he died happy.

Aaron left for two months the next morning, a few hours before I found out the truth behind the emergency vehicles. My dad and stepmom were returning home the next day, so I was required to return to their house that night to clean up the mess Aaron and I had made over the weekend while they were out of town. My parents have a 66” curved-screen T.V. and a hot tub. While the adults are away, the children will play. Anyway, the last thing Aaron and I cared about before parting ways for two months was restoring my father’s home, so I volunteered to do so by myself once Aaron was on the ship. That’s a very long way of saying that I ended up alone in my parents’ very large and shadowy home the night that I found out a body was found floating in the water just a mile away.

Like any reasonable grown adult would do, I kept a butcher knife next to me the entire time I was washing the dishes. True story: A friend of mine was once washing dishes when a man appeared in the window in front of her with a gun pointed at her head. Lucky for me, I have that image to harp on for the rest of my life. Especially on dark, rainy nights when I’m staring into a dark abyss that connects with the same waters from which a body was recovered.

After the most terrifying 45 minutes of my life (other than the time I thought I might be allergic to gluten), I drove home, which led to a new obstacle: Getting from my car to my apartment without being kidnapped, murdered, and dumped in the Lynnhaven River. Aaron and I park our cars in a secluded, wooded area behind our apartment so that we don’t have to hang decals in our car for the main parking lot. This is completely stupid, because we have two free decals sitting inside our apartment. It is also stupid because it left me in an absolute fit of terror the night I returned from my cleaning dad’s house. Jillian Michaels herself couldn’t make me sprint as fast as I did to my front door.

jillian michaels gif

Fear of the dark is fear of bad things happening, because we all know that evil tends to avoid exposure. Since darkness does, in fact, harbor more danger and anxiety, we should absolutely value the light. The same goes for our metaphysical lives. The more we fall into darkness— gossip, slander, gluttony, jealousy, hate, impatience, etc.— the more we become generally anxious and vulnerable to misery.

Recently, I found myself extremely frustrated with a catty situation. I’m not exposed to cattiness often, given that I’ve somehow surrounded myself with piles of girlfriends who treat everyone they meet respectfully and lovingly. They even challenge me to reel it in when my venting becomes spiteful, and vice versa. When people say that women are catty and mean, I simply cannot relate from firsthand experience. Maybe I’m just lucky— or maybe cattiness turns me off, so I naturally drift away from those types of people. I don’t know. Either way, I’m not well-versed in handling Mean Girl situations. (I plan on writing a whole different blog on cattiness among women, so stay tuned for that one.)

This recent subjection to malice caught me at a time I was very weak, which meant that the darkness easily spread and became an overarching weight on my shoulders. My sadness in missing Aaron for the past 11 days left me more vulnerable to other dark emotions rearing their heads, as well. When this woman, and even her family, took not-so-subtle stabs at me on social media out of perceived (and nonexistent) competition, I let my annoyance cast shadows on my happiness. My friends let me vent for a little while before reminding me to stay kind and maintain my composure by not responding, but internally, I could not let it go. For a few days straight, I was in a cloud of anxiety. The frustration with the cattiness paved the way for bitterness towards Aaron’s job (even though I am normally so proud of him and want him to do what he’s doing), fretfulness about my professional future, and apathy about my health, fitness, and general productivity. Darkness breeds darkness.

I’ve decided (always a choice!) to turn the lights on again— praying when I feel angry, taking my friends’ advice, forgiving the person who lashed out because of her own battles with darkness that have nothing to do with me, and even participating in a Zumba class…because how can you possibly be upset when dancing like an African tribal queen? It’s amazing to see how living in the light has lifted my overall anxiety and vulnerability to life’s curveballs.

Next time you’re up in the middle of night, convinced that the creaking from your heater is actually a sociopath breaking into your home, try focusing on this metaphor of Light vs. Dark. Let that anxiety serve as a reminder of how it feels to let darkness into your heart. It’s exhausting. Coming face to face with darkness is inevitable, but overcoming fear/anxiety is mental and spiritual, so use prayer, scripture, positive people, and maybe even some new dance moves to serve as your Armor of Light.

armor of light


Filed under General Musings

The Bachelor Recap: Episode 1, Season 20

Trying to recap an episode of The Bachelor is like trying to figure out where to start with cleaning my post-wedding apartment. I am overwhelmed at the thought of creating some kind of order, but I know that the first five minutes will be the hardest. Once the ball is rolling, each little piece of the trainwreck will find its place.

Tonight, we got to meet the world’s most underprepared Bachelor– second only to Juan Pablo, who had literally no idea what he signed up for. I think at one point JP even said the words, “I didn’t agree to world knowing all the details of my relationship and how I feel.” LOL, Juan, fire your translator.

Anyway, Ben Higgins is about as innocent as they come, at least on this show. First of all, as gathered from his powwow with Mom and Dad, he was raised in a house where they drink water out of giant, colored plastic cups– something to which I can relate– which only means that he is not nearly aggressive enough to handle the chaos that Hollywood producers are about to throw his way. Glassware is generally a pretty solid indicator of maintenance levels, and Ben’s enormous colorful cup screamed, “I sometimes wear socks to 7-11.” Unfortunately, most of his female suitors seem like Aquafina-out-of-a-glass kind of girls. (Translated: Full eye makeup to 7-11.) The exception is the token farmgirl, whose answer to “How do you beat [the excitement of] twins??” was “With a [bleeping] mini-horse. That’s how.” Obsessed.

mini horse bachelor

Because the advice of parents who have been happily married for 32 years was not sufficient, Ben turned to his Bachelor bros: Jason Mesnick, Sean Lowe, and Chris Soules. “Three of America’s favorite Bachelors.” Nottttt the most solid introduction by our script writers. If I remember correctly, America kind of hated Jason after he proposed to one girl at the end of the show, then dumped her on live television two months later during “After the Final Rose” in order to get together with the girl he originally gave 2nd place. In all fairness, Jason and #2 are now married with a baby, but…one of America’s favorite Bachelors? I think not.

Despite the questionable merits bestowed upon them, these three ex-Bachelors gave Ben the best advice they could muster. From Jason: “Follow your heart.” (Perhaps before you propose to the wrong person…) From Chris: “Kiss all of them!!” Direct quote. He’s the only one of the three who wasn’t successful on the show, which is..shocking. From Sean: “Don’t kiss girls in front of other girls.” Always has been, always will be, the Golden Child.

the bachelor sean lowe

By the time Ben dresses in his well-tailored suit, does some introspective thinking on his balcony, and greets Chris Harrison at the gates of hell The Bachelor Mansion, I already feel sorry for him. While about half of the girls who were lucky enough to be featured in their own “get to know me” segments seemed relatively sane, the other half cancelled them out them out completely. This is a non-exhaustive list of things we saw and heard during these introductions:

  • A woman confidently standing in a parking lot, staring into the camera with her best Beyonce glare, as a man on a unicycle rode in circles around her, all the while playing a fire-emitting bagpipe.
  • A girl dressed in Army clothes doing a “workout” with someone she calls “Sargent,” whom she proceeds to flip over her shoulder in a terrifying ninja move, which makes me think that “Sargent” was code for “friend who wants to be on T.V.”
  • Twins wearing matching outfits, riding a tandem bicycle and holding hands while roller blading
  • A young lady who raises chickens like they’re fluffy teacup toy poodles. She nuzzles them and cuddles them and has a “special” chicken named Sheila, who sleeps in her bed.

The first limo pulls up to the mansion, and we see the standard montage of champagne and giggling and girls randomly yelling “Ben!” in unison because…they can’t find him? Unclear. Chris Harrison and his pinstripe suit leaves a nervous-looking Ben alone in the driveway to meet each of his eager wife-to-bes.

Here is a quick lowdown of entrances:

Lauren B— Flight attendant who I predicted to be a wallflower, but was actually quite assertive. She gives him a pair of pilot wings to “take off on this journey together,” which is not the first metaphor/pun of the season, nor will it be the last.

Caila— I predicted her to be a favorite, and I hold to it. She jumps into Ben’s arms like a baby because unlike me, she is not bottom heavy, and has no fear of being carried. She is also featured in every “coming up next” teaser, saying the girls are “Fifty shades of crazy” in her best thug voice, when in reality, she has about as much street cred as Hilary Duff. I love her.

Jennifer— She rhymes Ben with Jen so that he can remember her name. Obviously too young to remember Bennifer.

Jami— She is friends with ex-Bachelorette Kaitlin and makes a sexual joke because I guess that’s what all Canadians do. Ben knows he has to keep her around so that Kaitlin doesn’t send him a mean Tweet or something.

Sam— A lawyer who already has no voice, which we can assume is a result of the free booze in her hotel room, and her need to talk constantly, as we discover throughout the episode.

Jubilee— Arrives in a floor length white jersey dress and booty-short spank lines for us all to see. Undergarments matter, Jubliee.

Amanda— The mom. Classy black dress. Simple introduction. Too normal to be here, other than the fact that her voice sounds exactly like Alvin the Chipmunk.

Lace— We found out that her name is, indeed, pronounced like the material. And remember, this is the girl who talked about her poop in her bio. She makes Ben close his eyes, then plants a kiss right on his lips so that she could claim the “first kiss.” He looks a little pissed.

Lauren R— Like I predicted, no social skills. Refuses to tell Ben her name, but thinks telling him every fact she learned about him while stalking him online is a solid opening. She was wrong.

Shushanna— Speaks in Russian the whole time. Ben just says “yes” a lot, which– from what we saw in the subtitles– was luckily the correct answer to most of what she was saying. I don’t think Ben particularly cared if she spoke English because she was so pretty.

Leah— The girl who twerked in her audition video decided to hike up her dress, bend over in front of Ben, and hike him a football. Nobody is surprised except for Ben, who scans the driveway for an adult.

JoJo— Wears a unicorn head when she gets out of the limo, but obviously hates this idea and is annoyed with the producer who made her do it. Ben feels bad for her. They have a cute chemistry. I called her as the next Bachelorette, and as of now, I’m sticking to it.

Lauren H— This is the kindergarten teacher who we can assume will freeze her eggs if she’s not married by age 25. She gives Ben a bouquet of wilted flowers and says she caught the bouquet last week at a wedding. Raise your hand if you believe her.

Laura— The red head. I had high hopes for her, especially when she stepped out of the limo in a flattering navy blue dress. Then I saw her crazy eyes, and so did Ben, and things were over before they started.

Mandi— You’ll remember her as the girl who looks like a chicken, and says a free range chicken is her “spirit animal.” Not to be confused with the girl whose career is “Chicken Enthusiast.” Mandi wears a two foot rose on her head and tells Ben he can pollinate it later. He doesn’t know what that means, but he doesn’t like the sound of it.

Twins— I’m bored with the twin thing before it even starts. They talk in unison and giggle, then Ben asks if he should treat them as a package deal or if he should get to know them separately. I feel like maybe they should’ve been offended, but they most definitely were not.

Maegan— Cowgirl who brings a mini-horse with her. The place is looking more and more like a freakshow every second.

Breanne— Brings a basket full of bread and says, “Gluten is Satan, so lets break bread,” then proceeds to bang loaves of very stale bread on the side of a nearby stone wall. God help us all.

(Meanwhile inside: The red head starts sweating profusely when the twins walk in. Lace is getting smashed, and saying things like “I’m just sitting here judging people.” Same.)

Izzy— Wears a onesie, and asks Ben if “he’s the ONEsie.” At least she looked comfortable.

(Lace upon Izzy’s entrance in the onesie: “Well, that’s really [bleeping] special.” Harsh, Lace, but also hilarious. Young, inexperienced Jami’s reaction to Lace: “I can’t tell if she’s drunk or if that’s just her personality.” I learned in college that it’s always the latter, Baby Jami.)

Jessica— Gets out of the limo and tries the Britt (Chris’ season) tactic of giving Ben a really really long hug. Her delivery does not have the desired effect. This may have to do with her lack of plush fuschia lips or doe eyes.

Tiara— She chooses not to bring up the “Chicken Enthusiast” thing right out of the gate. Smart girl.

LB— Amazing cheekbones. Southern accent. She’ll be here for a while.

Jackie— Presents Ben with a Save the Date for their engagement. He looks overwhelmed.

Olivia— The news anchor steps out of the limo and Ben’s face emotes exactly how I feel when someone is walking towards me with a bowl of Velveeta Shells & Cheese. Instead of Olivia doing the talking, Ben asks her 80 questions about how he can help her feel less nervous…even though she is obviously comfortable with attention and does not look at all nervous. My notes say: “Has one dimple. Will get First Impression Rose.”

I’m going to plow through the rest of the night because, to be honest, the first night is pretty predictable. Lace and the chicken lookalike get drunk. Olivia the News Anchor gets the First Impression Rose. Becca and Amber from Chris’ season show up, and the girls feel threatened. Becca is still a virgin, Amber is still forgettable (but her styling is on point tonight). Chris Harrison befriends the miniature horse.

Ben hands out the roses to:

  • Lauren B
  • LB
  • Caila (fav)
  • Amber
  • Jami
  • Jennifer
  • Jubilee
  • Amanda
  • JoJo
  • Leah
  • Rachel
  • Samantha
  • Jackie
  • Haley (Twin)
  • Emily (Twin)
  • Shushanna (Still haven’t heard her speak English. She even accepts Ben’s rose in Russian.)
  • Lauren H
  • Becca (Medieval war march music plays when she walks down to collect her rose to remind us that a second appearance on this show means war.)
  • Mandi the chicken doppelgänger (Ben looks pained and amused when he says her name. Don’t worry, Benny. We know that was a producers choice.)
  • Lace (Last rose. Also producers pick. Ben looks annoyed.)

This means we said goodbye to:

  • Laura the red head. She blames her red hair instead of her crazy eyes.
  • Breanne, my original pick for Top Villain.
  • Izzy in her onesie.
  • Jessica the long-hugger.
  • Lauren R., whose bio revealed her lack of social skills.
  • Maegan and her miniature horse.
  • Tiara the Chicken Enthusiast.

The night wraps up with Lace pulling Ben aside to complain that he didn’t make eye contact with her during who whole rose ceremony. Ben looks utterly confused and exhausted as she’s talking, which makes sense because it is now morning-time. My theory is that, besides the fact that this girl is nuts, she can probably tell that Ben only kept her because the producers told him to do so. A woman’s intuition is strong. Ben needs to work on his acting if he wants to avoid more insecure freak outs this season.

In the final teaser of the night that highlighted what the next two months hold in store, we see hot air balloons, private planes, helicopters, hot tubs, yachts, and expansive cliff shots. Looks like The Bachelor economy is thriving. We also see three different girls tell Ben that they’re in love with him, seemingly on week 4. I fell in love with my husband after just a few weeks, too, but he wasn’t dating 27 other women at the same time. Details.

Episode 1 is always the hardest to follow, but I hope this helped make sense of what you just witnessed. See you next week, when things really start getting interesting!

chris harrison

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Filed under Bachelor Recaps, Entertainment

10 Ways to Survive January, a.k.a. One Long Monday

Congratulations, everybody! You made it another year! Another New Year when the Mayan calendar’s “prophetic power” didn’t kill us, our computers didn’t blow up, and The Sleepers vs. The Partiers whose New Year’s Eve plans jammed our newsfeeds didn’t become any more interesting. (No hate. I’ve posted a NYE picture before, and I will do it again.)

I personally rang in 2016 with red wine, horror stories (don’t ask), and girl talk around the dining room table with a few friends in Va Beach, but went home by 10:30 p.m. to FaceTime with Aaron until midnight since it was one of the few times he was/will be in port—therefore able to call me—these next 8 weeks. We kissed the computer screen at midnight, which is really weird when you think about it, but seemed cute at the time. #21stcenturylovers

Now, we find ourselves in January. The Monday of the calendar year. The month where you feel fat from the weekend holidays, dread going back to work, and don’t know how you’ll possibly make it to Friday April, when people start socializing again.

I didn’t get particularly fat over the holidays, primarily because Aaron and I spent Christmas just unwrapping wedding gifts and cuddling instead of eating, however I’ve made up for lost time in the last five days. Since Aaron left town, I have eaten the following…in single sittings:

  • ½ a large pizza, which I ordered for lunch. LUNCH, you guys.
  • 1 full size bag of BBQ potato chips, ½ tub of hummus, 4 Red Baron mini pizza bites
  • 1 personal pan Red Baron frozen deep dish pizza, ½ bag of chocolate covered almonds
  • Another tub of hummus

Basically, I’ve turned into a 15-year-old boy. Living on pizza and glued to the television watching MTV’s The Challenge. My name is Shannon Leyko, and I am here today because I’m in a plan-hole (Aaron’s words).

I spent the last 5 months of my life planning, all while attached at the hip with Aaron. Now, I have nothing to plan, my partner-in-crime is busy being a very productive member of society by protecting our country’s waters, and I’m just over here avoiding organizing our apartment. I need a plan.

I’ve planned my plan, which felt good, so now I’m showered and at Starbucks writing this post, which were Steps 1-3. Killing it. I got slightly sidetracked when my bridesmaids and I group-texted this morning for about two [very entertaining] hours, but I pulled through.

Yesterday, while I did not shower, I did manage to get out of bed to meet friends for some day drinks before going to my parents’ house to eat 25 lbs of mac & cheese and 25 ounces of pork tenderloin for dinner (add it to the list…). As I was reestablishing my social skills with the world over drinks, one of my girlfriends casually mentioned that getting out of the house was her biggest mission of the day. Thank God! I am not alone in the fight against becoming a WALL-E person during the month of January.


Since most of you probably won’t brush your hair until Monday morning (most likely the day you read this…but surprise, I’m actually writing this on Saturday!), I’ve decided to put together some helpful tips for how to survive January without considering your closest friend to be the delivery guy.

(If you’re on a “New Near, New Me” kick and already going to the gym among other productive activities, then I’m super proud of you. I mean it. But if, by the very likely chance, you only last two weeks…come back and read this then.)

1. Shave your legs

No, seriously. At least once a week, shave. It’ll make you feel more human, plus your jeans won’t pull on your leg spikes, which is the worst.

2. Make plans after work

Again, I’m not unrealistic. You don’t have to go out more than once a week on a school night, but even if it’s to watch Concussion in theatres, give yourself the opportunity to lay eyes on humans that aren’t your coworkers, roommates, or family. It will remind you that there’s a great big world outside of your couch.

3. Read a book

It’s tempting to let T.V. or social media suck your time, but you can be just as cozy with a good book. Your brain and eyeballs will thank you.

4. Have a project

For me, it’s making a wedding scrapbook, writing thank you cards, and making our apartment livable. Find something to do that has an end product, because end products feel really good.

5. Go to the gym

I know. I’m the worst for even writing this. But moving your body will make you feel one thousand percent better. It doesn’t need to be the focus of your whole life like those “inspirational” people you see on Facebook (I salute them, though), but try to break a sweat a few days a week. Plus, sweat will make you want to shower, which we all know takes a little extra motivation in January.

6. Put on your favorite jeans every 5 days

If they start getting tight, lay off the pizza. Don’t let things get out of hand.

chicken wings gif

7. Try something new

Aaron and I were supposed to take a glass blowing class this month, but our plans were deterred by his last minute orders to deploy. Still, I am learning about and researching a new skill while he’s gone: photography. Knowledge is power. And what is more powerful than knowing you can use a firey torch to make a vase, or that you can take a high quality picture of your favorite bottle of wine?

8. Take one trip

You don’t need to go to Florida or anything (unless you have the money, then by all means GO RIGHT NOW), but take a mini road trip to visit friends, or spend the weekend in a new city a few hours away, just to explore.

9. Buy a new pair of boots or a scarf

Look good, feel good.

10. Watch The Bachelor on Monday nights

And read Generation grannY episode recaps on Tuesdays. You’ll laugh…if not at my recaps, then just at the show itself. Plus you’ll feel like you’re part of a little online community, which is 5% sad, and 95% really fun.


There you have it. I will take my own advice and lay off the pizza so that Aaron doesn’t come home to a wife he doesn’t recognize. #letmeupgradeyou

Happy Monday January, all!


Filed under General Musings, Lists

2015: A Lot Can Happen in A Year


A lot can happen in a year.

Keep that in mind when you feel the singlest of all singles, are miserable in your job, have no money, don’t love the city in which you live, and lack a close circle of friends nearby. I’ll give you some insight into my 2015 as a pretty spot-on example of this truth.

Most of you know that in 2015, I met the love of my life, got engaged to him, and married him. But that was just the second half! (Wowza.)

During the first two months of the year, I reached a level of unhappiness that I could barely handle. I was struggling to get over an ex who broke my heart (shocker), pseudo-dating a new guy that was not at all ready for a relationship (neither was I), living in a house with people who had a different lifestyle than me (not bad, just different), lost in a town where I had no roots, and quickly approaching a breaking point with a job that was tedious (to me) and occasionally– due to one or two higher-ups– demeaning.

By mid-February, I [finally] started feeling the weight of hurt from my ex lift from my shoulders, had an awesome– albeit very single– Valentine’s Galentine’s Day with my roommate, and began delving back into my lifelong passion for horseback riding as a way to rejuvenate my love for life. With those little rays of light as fuel, I began actively choosing to be happier via deliberate change (my favorite mantra). From then on, things started falling into place.

I rededicated myself to church, prayer, and my relationship with God, all of which had fallen by the wayside due to my frustration with life and in turn, God. I took serious steps towards relocating, which led to an apartment and job opportunity in Virginia Beach. I said goodbye to an office full of [mostly] people I loved, friends that I valued very much (I had amazing friends, just not a unified circle), my favorite Starbucks barista (everyone has one…right?), and nearly two years worth of memories. A total life overhaul.

Most people don’t even realize that I lived in Arlington for two years. Everyone assumes I lived in New York City, then moved straight back to Virginia Beach. Sometimes my years in Arlington feel like a dream, when in reality, they were 22 of the most challenging and growth-filled months of my life. It was tough to uproot the little life I had created, but I was paving the way for so much more.

I met my future husband a few hours after I signed my new lease in Virginia Beach in April. The day after that, I landed a new job. A month later, I officially moved “home.” By July, I knew Aaron and was the man with whom I would spend my life. I was engaged by August, married by December. I’m still very close to some of my old coworkers/boss, live one block from the beach and five minutes from my loving family, am more financially secure than I’ve been in a long time, feel spiritually refreshed, and have an awesome circle of friends who all live on the same road as me. I still talk to all of my friends from NYC and Arlington (one of them for 3 hours last night), while also having more time to dedicate to this blog, singing, and other hobbies I love.

I started out 2015 in one of the biggest slumps I’ve ever experienced and ended 2015 happier than I knew was possible.


My life is proof that, yes, a lot can change in a year. But you know one thing that hasn’t? How much I absolutely cherish this blog and all of you who read it.

In the last 365 days, I was stopped at my college homecoming, bars, and random events by the most inspiring and uplifting Generation grannY readers who wanted to introduce themselves. I received encouraging and heartfelt messages from people I’ve never met all around the country. I was told about friends of friends of friends who have discussions that spur from topics on this blog. My heart was absolutely overwhelmed with love and motivation!

There is no feeling quite like connecting with the dynamic, kind, and thoughtful strangers and friends who support Generation grannY. It has become something of a community, and “thank you for reading” does not even begin to cover my gratitude. Writing here brings me joy, and every time you share one of my posts, comment, send me a message, or tell me that you appreciated something I wrote, that joy is amplified and multiplied tenfold.

I love you all! I can’t WAIT to share with you some BIG changes for Generation grannY coming in 2016, and to keep growing this incredible circle of followers (official and nonofficial!). Cheers to a new year! Remember– there’s always opportunity to make it even more wonderful than the last!

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Filed under Christianity, General Musings

The Bachelor Recap Pre-cap: Meet the Contestants, Season 20

Hi, hello, yes, I’m alive.

Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your smoke flares. I decided to hide from the world for the last 2.5 weeks, and– to be honest– I don’t regret it. I will sum things up for you in a short paragraph:

Wedding errands, Chipotle, spray tan, brunch, tailor forgot about my rehearsal dinner jumpsuit, Starbucks, tailor redeemed herself, rehearsal dinner, macaroni and cheese, happy crying, wedding day, elation, parfait, fake eyelashes, swords, pick up truck, pictures, boats, sunset, almost fainted, Toms, water, singing, dancing, friends, Bride & Groom Break Room, Uber, O’Leary’s, bed, brunch, nap, nap, nap, nap, nap, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, honeymoon, Mexico, joy, food, cuddling, dancing, beach, pool, tequila, sleep, sleep, sleep, Hispanic Morgan Freeman, Willie from Colorado, bubble baths, sleep, sleep, crocodiles, double dinner, airport guac, home, special birthday surprise for Aaron, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, eat, eat, eat, eat, Oliver show tunes night, Christmas, passive aggressive Instagram posts, #dogscantreadgifttags, Breitenberg piano night, wedding gifts, wedding gifts, wedding gifts, nothing, nothing, nothing, Star Wars, Aaron’s actual birthday, Guardians of the Galaxy, say goodbye to Aaron for 2 months, cry, cry, and….now we find ourselves here.

I’m a confusing mix of well-rested and exhausted. Exhausted only because I haven’t had to stand for longer than 15 minutes in about 14 days, and then today I was thrust back into reality by my boss sending me to 7-11 to redeem 47 winning lottery tickets that he squirreled away for the last year, which he then put in his children’s Christmas stockings (10 points for creativity). Not only did I have to stand for longer than 15 minutes for the cashier to scan all of the tickets, but I also had to sprint to my car to avoid the angry mob of people in line behind me/the unsettling men eyeing all the cash I just stuffed into my purse. Toto, we’re not in Excellence Riviera Cancun anymore.

While I can promise you that I will *eventually* write a post about the wedding, and *eventually* write a post about the honeymoon, *eventually* is not today. A) Because I’m tired from adulting today and can’t write anything thought-provoking, and B) Because writing about how much fun both events were, and how crazy-in-love Aaron and I are, does not seem like an emotionally healthy activity after parting ways with him mere hours ago. For the record, two months is not a long deployment by military standards, but that does not make it easy. The only thing that makes it somewhat easy is knowing how much he has been looking forward to this new job. And that The Bachelor starts back up on Monday.

Ah, yes, The Bachelor. Excellent transition into the subject of this post. Like I said: Not thought-provoking. Now, some of you may not watch it, to which I say: Do you not like being entertained? But seriously, congratulations on using your time more wisely than the rest of us. Also, you may want to avoid my blog on Tuesdays until April.

I have decided to take my first stab at TV episode recaps, starting with The Bachelor Season 20. These recaps should prove to be VERY interesting, given that I do not have DVR (“a DVR”? or just “DVR”? Technology is hard), so I can’t rewind or review anything. I want you to imagine me sitting in yoga pants and Aaron’s Coast Guard shirt on the couch, surrounded by Chinese food and unpacked wedding boxes, frantically scribbling notes into a Kate Spade notebook that my stepmom bought me for the purpose, presumably, to do anything but this, as I attempt not to miss a single awkward moment, questionable outfit choice, or new catchphrase. Then, I will piece together the episode based on my notes. Of three things we can be sure:

  1. It will be 80% accurate
  2. I will be very tired on Tuesday mornings
  3. You and I will both laugh a lot

I have a weird connection to The Bachelor, not just because I’m addicted to it like everyone else, but because I’ve known 3 people on the show, and met one of the “winning” couples. A girl I competed with at Miss VA was a contestant on Ben Flajnik’s season, and then last summer, I went to Nashville for a bachelorette party, which resulted in being twirled around on the dance floor by a young man who goes by the name of Shawn Booth. Some of you may remember Shawn as the guy who “won” last season of The Bachelorette with Kaitlyn Bristowe. Anyway, he started twirling me around long before he was famous, and then fell in love with my other friend (also named Shannon…it was a confusing night) on the trip. Once he saw her, he A) used me to get to her, and B) passed me off to his friend Ron. Ron and I talked for about 30 minutes and were pretty cozy before his friends came up and told me that he was on Andi’s season of The Bachelorette. OH! I RECOGNIZE YOU! Yep.

Ron and I talked on the phone once or twice after that fateful night, and Shawn Booth actually ended up showing up at the airport (with Ron) to try and woo Shannon (the other one) before she flew back to Texas. I have some amazing private Instagram convos saved, as well as a hysterical Flipagram set to “When a Man Loves a Woman” that they made for Shannon. It includes a .gif from The Notebook, since Shawn looks just like Ryan Gosling. Obviously they made it into my blog post 10 Reasons Why Nashville is the Ultimate Bachelorette Destination (click link to read).

Well, less than a year later, Ron must have passed Shawn’s info to his producer friends from his days on The Bachelorette, and voila! Shawn also became a contestant. Proud to say that he has a bagillion Instagram followers, and I am still one of the 200 people he follows. #goals

In case you were wondering, Shawn ended up meeting up with Shannon in Texas, but they did not fall in love.

So, let’s kick things off with quick predictions about the young ladies vying for the heart of Ben Higgins, our trusty Bachelor who “lost” last season to my pal (stretching things a bit) Shawn Booth. He will be sure to wow us with his ability to form complete sentences (something at which both Juan Pablo and Chris Soules failed miserably) and– dare I say– his genuine respect for women that we haven’t seen on the show since the likes of Sean Lowe.

Speaking of Sean Lowe, when my brother put together an audition video for me to be on The Bachelor in 2012, Sean would have been my Bachelor. Mr. Lowe ended up with a 5’2″* Asian who likes to run marathons, however, so it’s safe to assume we wouldn’t have worked out. I also read his book For the Right Reasons last summer (try to shame me, I dare you), which only further proved that I’m not his type, given that half the book was about his girlfriend pre-Bachelor. She was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. It makes complete sense that the producers did not choose me as a contestant, though the audition video is now GOLD material for my brother to pull out at family get-togethers, or to send to my husband the day after we wed. Thanks, bro.

* I don’t actually know how tall Catherine is, but I met her and Sean once when I was Miss New York, and she was a small person.


Cuddling with Sean and Catherine at a bowling alley in NYC.

Two more things before we start. 1.) Most of the girls are fetuses because Ben is only 27.  2.) My brother is a talent agent in NYC, and he heard industry rumors that Ben had a “thing” with Tenley from Jake’s season/Bachelor in Paradise, but Ben ended it so that he could be The Bachelor. So, is he in it for true love or for fame? I don’t know, but we should probably remember that he is pretty young. As much as I adore him.

OH! NO SPOILERS in the comments or I WILL KILL YOU. All recaps I write have my own predictions, opinions, and assumptions. Don’t ruin this for all of us. Also, if you know one of the girls personally and she is misrepresented on the show, write a letter to the producers, not to me. I’m sure they’re all lovely people, but I will react to what I see on T.V., and that is it.

Okay, here we go:

AMANDA. 25, 5’3″, Esthetician, has 2 daughters, likes Nutella & Peanut Butter.


This girl will go far. She’s pretty basic, but in the relatable way. She hikes, likes the movie Bridesmaids, always uses SPF in her makeup, and her answer to “If you won the lottery, what would you do with the winnings?” was “I would buy a big house by the beach and adopt babies and dogs.” Between her two kids and affinity for puppies, Ben will be sure to use “wife material” every time he describes her.

THE CATCH: She’s 25 and gets botox. I know plenty of girls who do this (and I still love them), but COME ON. You can barely rent a car. You don’t need botox.


AMBER. 30, 5’3″, Bartender, loves The Lion King, can’t live without her teddy bear.


Oh, Amber. Amber, Amber, Amber. This is her 3rd round on a Bachelor franchise show. First, we saw her on Chris Soules’ season, then we saw her on Bachelor in Paradise 2. No guys were interested in her on either show, but I will say that I am very glad she went with some caramel highlights this time around. Nice girl, will be eliminated on week 2. Will vie for a spot on Bachelor in Paradise 3. P.S.- Why did the producers bring her back? She’s never stirred up drama, doesn’t have fake boobs, and– according to the deadness in the eyes of every man who has gone on a T.V. date with her– has very little sex appeal. (I personally think she’s pretty.) Is the casting director her uncle? Someone clear this up for me.

THE CATCH: She is a little too desperate. There’s a hunger in her eyes that will scare Ben.


BECCA. 26, 5’5″, Chiropractic Assistant, loves food, has 2 tattoos.


Welcome back, Bec Bec! Producers have clearly decided that this is the season of second chances, because Becca– like Amber– was a contestant on Chris Soules’ season. I love her. Not only does she look like Carrie Underwood, but she is pretty awkward in a lovable way, and was the only contestant on Chris’ season to feel the exact same way about Chris that all of America did: Chris, you’re a nice guy, but you’re a bit too bumbly and I feel nothing for you other than a cousin-like affection. Chris didn’t understand why she didn’t love him. (She came in “2nd” and was clearly the one Chris wanted, but he knew she’d dump him if he chose her.) Some people said she must be a lesbian since she openly admitted that she’s never been in love. I just think she’s a doll with some brains who doesn’t get caught up in how she is “supposed” to behave for reality television. She will be in the top 4, at least.

THE CATCH: She does not open up quickly, and will have a target on her back since the other girls will be jealous that this is her second rodeo.


BREANNE. 30, 5’7″, Nutritional Therapist, does not struggle in the confidence department, uses hashtags.


I’m honestly pretty scared of Breanne after reading her mini-bio. She is a no-nonsense, Miss Independent, in-it-to-win-it kind of girl. The other contestants will hate her. So will we. She considers he best trip ever a solo birthday trip she took to NYC to network with strangers, practices her smize, says she likes to show off her body, and her favorite movie is Anchorman. Ben will like her until the other girls warn him that she’s The Villain. She will probably stay until mid-season, unless she comes on too strong the first night and gets sent home right off the bat…but I don’t see that happening.

THE CATCH: She wavers between confident and narcissistic.


CAILA. 24, 5’4″, Software Sales Rep., dislikes heavy breathers, half hippie half soccer mom.


This cutie is a top contender. She and Ben have the same career, plus she seems surprisingly normal. She loves Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Game of Thrones, picks up guys on airplanes and at Starbucks, and studied abroad in Germany. She seems like an all around sweetheart, and unless she turns out to be one of those overly energetic girls, I think she’ll really catch Ben’s eye.

THE CATCH: Might get bored with Ben.


EMILY. 22, 5’4″, Twin (??), likes country music, pees when she laughs too hard.


First of all, her occupation is “Twin.” Second, she’s 22. Third, she “lives” in Las Vegas. Fourth, she wants to go to NYC to “see all the people.” Fifth, her answer to “What does it mean to be married?” was “You’re ready to set a good example for your children.” I feel like she is a test Ben has to pass in order for America to believe in his ability to be a mature, reasonable Bachelor. Don’t fall for the trap, Ben. DON’T DO IT.

THE CATCH: All of it.


HALEY. 22. 5’4″, Twin (here we go…), can’t live without spray tans, loves candy.


I’ll admit it. I was pleasantly surprised when reading Haley’s bio. She seems to have gotten all the brains and maturity in this twin-off. Her answer to the meaning of marriage was about protecting each other’s hearts, says she doesn’t party, and likes dogs. That being said, her occupation is still “Twin” (sigh), and she’s still 22.

THE CATCH: Ben will feel like he needs to keep both, or send both home. She will be sent home, along with her wackadoo sister.


ISABEL “IZZY”. 24, 5’6″, Graphic Designer, values family, Taylor Swift fan.


Izzy is a nice girl. She is very in touch with herself, and likes adventures. I like her. She has the potential to blend in with the crowd, but if Ben keeps her past the first night, I think she’ll slowly become a favorite. Maybe too slowly.

THE CATCH: She doesn’t like to read, and she’s a bit tough to get to know.


JACKIE. 23, 5’9″, Gerontologist, listens to rap music, can’t live without her Bible.


She’ll stick around for a while because she’s so great on paper. She’s cute, loves God, went paragliding in the Alps, and one of her favorite movies is the documentary March of the Penguins (so good)She and Ben won’t have much chemistry, but she’ll be okay because she’s only 23.

THE CATCH: Too young.


JAMI. 23, 5’5″, Bartender, looks up to Lil’ Wayne, is an “inexperienced” lover.


Jami is Amber when Amber was 23, and I’m not saying that just because they have the same job, skin tone, hair cut, and caramel highlights. Jami clearly has a bit of living left to do, given that her answer to the lottery question was “go on a cruise, then buy a mansion and live with my friends like in the TV show Entourage.” She also thinks the meaning of marriage is to “go on adventures with your best friend” (sweet, but innocent), basically admitted to being a virgin (fine, but she’ll be eaten alive on this show), and doesn’t think wrinkles are scary…mostly because she’s not old enough to have any.

THE CATCH: Immature.


JENNIFER. 25, 5’7″, Small Business Owner, likes Dolphins because they have sex for pleasure, her “type” is Ben Higgins.


Remember how I just said that Jami would be eaten alive? Yeah, this girl is the one who will be doing the eating. She is a small business owner (could be Etsy, but she looks too intense to bother having a third party run her small business), wants to tan nude on the beach, wishes she had been married 5 years ago (when she was 20…), and is basically a replica of Courtney, winner and Top Villain of Ben Flajnik’s season.

THE CATCH: She and Breanne will battle it out for Top Villain.


JESSICA. 23, 5’4″, Accountant, very smart, likes the movie Dodgeball.


Cute, young, laid back. Gone on the first night.

THE CATCH: Too forgettable.


JOELLE “JOJO”. 24, 5’4″, Real Estate Developer, uses “lol”, makes amazing quesadillas. 


She’s pretty, is proud of her mother’s Persian roots, and capitalizes PIZZA because she likes it so much. I think she will start a girl squad on the show, and Ben will like her because she’s popular. Next Bachelorette?

THE CATCH: She might care too much about making friends instead of focusing on Ben.


JUBILEE. 24, 5’4″, War Veteran, thinks people will judge her for liking Country music, deep thinker.


I was a bit concerned when she was defending her love for country music and that her occupation is something she did in her past (though admirable), but I gotta tell you– the rest of her bio impressed me. She lived in Montana for 5 years, so is a mix of city/country girl, loves the movie Newsies (my fav), and isn’t a party girl. I think Ben will keep her around for a bit, but she’ll be gone in Episode 3 or 4.

THE CATCH: Not enough in common with Ben.


LACE. 25, 5’10”, Real Estate Agent, wants to be richer, hates being cold.


You guys. She talked about her poop in her bio. I just can’t get past that. Bye, Lace. (Like the material, or with a hard E? Guess we’ll find out.)

THE CATCH: Her personality.


LAURA. 24, 5’4″, Account Executive, allergic to rice, listens to R&B.


All-American nice girl who wants to rob a casino so that she can have something to talk about with Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Same. If Ben likes red heads, she’ll be a shoo-in the first night. She has the potential to be forgettable though, so it honestly depends on the color of her dress.

THE CATCH: May be too normal.


LAUREN “LB”. 23, 5’5″, Fashion Buyer, has a jealous nature, ex-boyfriend was from Germany.


You are not Lauren Conrad “LC” from Laguna Beach, Lauren. Stop trying to make “LB” happen. It’s not going to happen. But I guess it’s not totally your fault since there are 12 other Laurens on this show. Anyway, LB decided to talk about her bowel movements in her bio, as well. WHAT IS HAPPENING. She seems a bit spoiled and…23. Yes, she seems 23. She might go home on night one, but has a big personality, so Ben might not realize she’s not ready for marriage until hometown dates. Could go either way.

THE CATCH: She has no filter.


LAUREN B. 25, 5’7″, Flight Attendant, sugary sweet personality, likes dance music (?).


Gone the first night because she’s a bit of a wallflower.

THE CATCH: Easily overshadowed.


LAUREN H. 25, 5’5″, Kindergarten Teacher, Bachelor franchise fanatic, really really really really wants to get married.


She’s the “settle down” girl. The Whitney to our Chris. The Lindsay to our Sean. The Lindzi (I can’t with that spelling) to our Ben F. She will have babies and make cookies and wear heels to church and Ben will have zero sexual attraction to her. She’s too “wifey” to be sent home the first night, and she’ll probably get the boot right before hometowns.

THE CATCH: Not interesting enough.


LAUREN R. 26, 5’5″, Math Teacher, loves Harry Potter, has cats.


Too theatrical. Gone night one.

THE CATCH: Lacks social skills.


LEAH. 25, 5’5 3/4″, Event Planner, is getting her tattoos laser removed, twerked for her Bachelor audition video.


The girls will hate her, but so will Ben, so she won’t even have time to become The Villain.

THE CATCH: Not likable.


MAEGAN (not a spelling error). 30, 5’4 3/4″, Cowgirl, likes BBQ & drinking beers, chops heads off of snakes (literally)


I want to have a beer with this girl because she is like a cartoon character. The real life Ado Annie. Ben won’t be able to handle it and will send her back home to her ranch in Texas.

THE CATCH: Too country.


MANDI. 28, 5’8″, Dentist, drinks too much, her spirit-animal is a free range chicken.


She will get drunk the first night. Ben might keep her around because she has her doctorate. But he probably won’t.

THE CATCH: Takes her behavior to extremes. And..come on…don’t make me be the one to say it. FINE. I’ll say it. She kind of looks like a chicken. Maybe that’s why it’s her spirit animal…?


OLIVIA. 23, 5’8″, News Anchor, loves french fries and flannel, respects Katniss Everdeen.


I saw her picture and immediately decided to start this out with “she looks like a news anchor.” Turns out, I have strong instincts, because she is a news anchor. My days in pageants taught me nothing if not what a young news anchor should look like. Ben will love her because she is articulate, basic, and dresses well.

THE CATCH: Thinks she understands everything about life, but she’s only 23.


RACHEL. 23, 5’5″, Unemployed, spirit animal is Cookie Monster, never had a serious relationship.


At least she owns her unemployment and didn’t come up with a fake career like “Dog Lover.” (I’m looking at you, Kelly from Juan Pablo’s season.) Anyway, I actually like Rachel. There’s not much to say about her other than she seems pretty normal. This could mean that she’s overlooked on night one, or that she wins the whole thing. I think she’s too pretty to be overlooked on night one, so she’ll probably be eliminated somewhere between Episode 2 and the Final Rose Ceremony.

THE CATCH: No real direction in life.


SAMANTHA. 26, 5’4″, Attorney, doesn’t need to impress a man, family approval is important.


She’s respectable. Not much more to say other than that. Could stay, could leave. Idk.

THE CATCH: Could be too intense.


SHUSHANNA. 27, 5’2″, Mathematician, broke up with her ex because of his mom, cynical about love.


Hey, girl. I get it. Once you start getting to your upper twenties, cynicism starts creeping in. You’re pretty and smart though, so sit tight! Ben will probably like her because she’s petite and intriguing. A fun personality with a wall up= a challenge. She’ll probably be around for a bit, and girls like Olivia the News Anchor won’t know how they feel about her.

THE CATCH: Could be too pretentious and closed off.


TIARA. 26, 5’8″, Chicken Enthusiast, favorite weather is “medium”, likes being center of attention.


Any good Bachelor fan knows to be apprehensive when a contestant is named “Tiara.” It’s too similar to “Tierra.” *shudder* And Chicken Enthusiast? What am I supposed to do with that? Sorry, but she seems pretty annoying. I think the producers Ben will keep her around for a few episodes, and then he’ll give the girls what they want and send her packing.

THE CATCH: Chicken Enthusiast.


Alright, we’re all prepared for next Monday! And if you like the recaps, I won’t be mad if you share them on social media. 😉 Until next time, Bachelor Nation.


Filed under Bachelor Recaps, Entertainment

The Reason I’m Getting Married

I haven’t written a post in over two weeks, which is awful, but holy wedding crunch. Anyone who has had a big wedding knows that the final few weeks are insane with things you simply cannot do until the end, once you have a final guest count and subsequent names. I won’t bore you with the details, but you should know that I have two major blisters on my hands from a hot glue gun, the cases of wine for the rehearsal dinner may or may not show up in time, and the table layout is still in process for its 123rd revision. C’est la vie!

In much better news, I’m obsessed with Aaron and can’t wait to marry him. Although I try not to write many posts that are solely about me, myself, and I, Wedding Week calls for something personal. So I’m going to tell you why I’m so excited and ready to marry Aaron. A lot of people have asked, “How do you know he’s the one?” Well, here’s my answer, and hopefully it will give my single ladies something to hold out for, as well as remind my married readers of their own love.

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From the very start of our relationship, Aaron has given me no reason to worry. He has never ignored a text, acted questionably, or seemed unsure. He was open with me from day one about his past and kept me in the loop every step of the way (as much as was necessary) with the process of transitioning a long-time on-again, off-again ex out of his life. I bring this up only because I have so many friends who tell me of their insecurities with a the guy they’re dating, whom they think is interested in someone else or is still holding onto a different relationship. I’ve been there, too. It’s horrible, and makes the girl feel second best, crazy, and unsatisfied.

Aaron’s transparency from the get-go– not to mention how clear he was about his intentions with me– set our foundation on trust, openness, and pure devotion. I’ve never had to be anxious over what he’s thinking, wonder how he feels about me, or overanalyze his actions. The ease I’ve felt from day one is something I’d never, ever experienced, and is the reason I finally understand the sentiment “when you know, you know.” I used to think that phrase was simply describing an electric chemistry, but in reality, it’s describing an unwavering peace. The way he treats me gives me full confidence in our commitment, which is something I’m grateful for every single day.

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But we can’t ignore the chemistry. It’s ridiculous. I mean, have you seen the man? He’s hot. Beyond the physical, we understand each other so well that it feels like he’s an extension of me. Whether it’s laughing until it hurts at some obscure thing that comes out of one of our mouths, him holding me as I cry because American Sniper is the saddest movie ever (and that turns into a cryfest about missing my mom because I simply cannot separate my emotions—I’ve tried), or talking about world issues and spirituality, we’re constantly bonding. I’ve never been more myself, and at my best. He’s my favorite person to hang out with, but I also want to kiss him all the time. It’s really fun.

Compatibility is key, too. We both love to travel, so I can fully support him in the Coast Guard because I understand military life, plus I love living in new places and meeting new people. I also love seeing how much he enjoys his career, and am excited to support him in that—which includes encouraging his decision to accept a new position that he’s been wanting for years, but means he will now deploy for two months just one week after we return from our honeymoon. Gulp.

On top of that, Aaron and I have the same dreams and goals for our future family, both love adventures, both tackle our relationship with direct intention and regular conversations about how we can be better for each other, and both really like sushi. And wine. And Singapore rice noodles. And New Girl. We’ve learned where the other stands with God and found a church that can help us both grow. We have developed guidelines for our behavior so that temptations never tear us apart. We’ve invested in friendships that we know are good for us as a couple and as individuals, including our wise, esteemed, and giving mentors who facilitated our premarital counseling. Basically, we like the same things and approach life the same way, which is just amazing.

Aaron also simply loves me for who I am without asking me to change, yet challenges me to be better. It’s a balancing act that he manages so perfectly. He is passionate about my passions, constantly pushing me to invest more time and resources into writing and singing, never tiring (at least on the surface) of listening to me practice or hearing ideas I have about a blog post. Also, my sassiness (my friends know I’m just a littleeeee Type A and kind of a firecracker) doesn’t upset him because A) he’s insanely even-keeled, and B) he claims that my sassiness is intertwined with my creativity and passion for life, which are two things he says he loves most about me. He dreams big, and so do I. Whenever I’m apologizing profusely for snapping at him or freaking out over something dumb (which I do try to curb, I promise), he just hugs me and says he thinks it’s funny and that it’s why he loves me so much. “Sassiness comes with the territory of someone artistic and invested in the world.” Am I lucky, or am I lucky?

Plus he never makes me feel “crazy.” He lets me scroll through his Instagram or Facebook feed when I get bored of my own, and even gives me his phone to answer texts for him while he’s driving. Total trust. No secrets. Complete unity. And even when I do do something I feel guilty about, like look at old pictures of his out of curiosity, I always tell him what I did, because I know instead of being mad and defensive, he’ll just say, “I mean, curiosity is natural. I don’t blame you. Just know that if I’m ever planning a surprise for you through my phone, you’ll probably ruin it.” Yeah. I’ll keep him.

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I adore Aaron for who he is, too. He is kind, open, and enthusiastic. He has a unique and impressive way of seeing past exteriors and getting to know people for their souls…almost to the point that I’m concerned for his safety. [Ex: A week or two into getting to know each other, he was driving back from a quick trip to Philly, and we talked on the phone his whole drive home. While talking, he picked up a hitchhiker and told me he’d call me back in 5 minutes or less once he dropped the hitchhiker off, only 2 miles away. Twenty minutes later, I thought he had been murdered, so I called him back. He said he was stopping for gas and getting some food, taking his sweet time– meanwhile I’m in the hot tub thinking that a hitchhiker just dismembered the potential love of my life.] But I love how he so naturally exemplifies the message I work hard to spread in terms of breaking stereotypes and embracing differences.

Then there’s the fact that Aaron is as intelligent as he is open, with an engineering degree from the Coast Guard Academy, and a master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland. This comes in very useful, like when we were measuring and cutting our escort cards at Kinkos, or when our fridge didn’t fit into its wall slot. 🙂

I’m in love with a well-trained handyman who can fix anything, feels strongly about supporting our family, and is just an all-around respectable husband-to-be. Not to mention he’s a renaissance man who taught himself to make jewelry, supports the arts, and owns a Ferrari (casual). And nothing is below him or “out of his comfort zone.” He has been an equal partner in planning our wedding, never wanting to miss a vendor meeting, getting excited about making decorations (it’s truly amazing to witness), and even returning the swimsuits I bought for our honeymoon once I realized that they were way too expensive, but I was too embarrassed to go back to the boutique and return them. He’s a real gem.

I could go on and on…about how he gives me a massage almost every day (and has read books on how to make them professional-grade), is an amazing cook, how much fun we have during mundane errands, the way that he just scoops me up in his strong, manly arms to kiss me when I’m in the middle of cleaning, how any little argument or disagreement is solved incredibly fast due to our mutual dedication to deliberate communication, the way he finishes my sentences, how he always calls me “the littlest”– which is both false and my favorite thing ever, and how he texts me randomly throughout the day just to say “I love you.” But I need to stop myself at some point, I guess. Let’s just say it’s good. It really is as good as it sounds.

I don’t know how interesting or beneficial all of this will be to my readers, but I wanted to write it all down for me, as well. Something I can come back to when we inevitably go through a hard time, or when I miss him while he’s out to sea. I am so honored, blessed, excited, and ready to marry Aaron this Saturday. I love him wholly, and can’t wait to take his name and call him my family.

Happy Wedding Week!

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Filed under General Musings, Relationships

9 Things That Only Happen in Movies

“Relaxing” is not exactly a top priority for Aaron and me at the moment. We are getting married in 3 weeks and 2 days. 23 days. Whoa, that’ll be fun for people with dyslexia to read.**

This past Sunday, however, we made no plans. I was smart enough to realize I’d need a whole day of recovery from my bachelorette party, which took place last Saturday. My girlfriends handmade me a crown, took me to wineries on a bus, and planned lots of games—none of which have names appropriate to share here except for the “Panty Piñata.” Yes, it was as amazing as it sounds. Here’s a pic we took with a selfie stick, because why even have a bachelorette party if there’s no selfie stick?


On our glorious day of relaxation (or recovery, in my case), Aaron and I watched the two most recent Hunger Games movies. Naturally, this left us very excited for the final movie coming to theatres this weekend, so we immediately bought tickets to see it at a fancy cinema café on Friday. (Tonight!!) One particular aspect of the movie really got my wheels turning, though. Why does everyone have such good teeth? Are there dentists in District 12?

Cue eye roll and “It’s just a movie, Shannon.” True. And I’m totally cool with getting swept away by plot lines or grooming standards that are completely unrealistic. But I will always, always be distracted by these 9 unrealistic happenings on the big screen:

  1. Bed sheet explorations

There seems to be a recurring trend among the PG-13+ movies I’ve watched, which is the “girl wraps herself in a sheet to go do something after sex” scene. When has anyone done that? Pretty sure people either put on a t-shirt or just go commando to the kitchen to fetch some water. No one wants to remake the bed.

fifty shades of greymassage chair


  1. Abrupt phone calls

People do not say goodbye when they get off the phone in movies. What is that? If someone doesn’t say goodbye to me on the phone, I immediately text them to tell them they’re a jerk.



  1. Showing up unannounced

I’ve never heard of anyone except psychopaths showing up unannounced at someone’s home or office without at least sending a text. Why do people in movies literally fly across the country to talk to someone? What if they’re not home? What if they’re on vacation? Then what? Or if they’re just waiting there for the person to get home…how long have you been there? Did anyone ask you why you were just standing there? Did the neighbors notify authorities? I have a lot of questions about how this works.

showing up


  1. Not saying what needs to be said

I scream at the screen on a regular basis, because 3 out of 4 scenes go like this: “I really need to tell you something.” *Other person says a bunch of stuff that would be solved if they’d just let their counterpart talk.* *Counterpart lets them walk away without saying the crucial information.* If you know who killed my brother or didn’t actually do something I’m mad at you for, TELL ME, you freaking idiot.

face palm


  1. Venturing into dark basements

We’ve all discussed this one a million times, but here’s a friendly reminder: Don’t walk into a dark basement alone after hearing creepy noises. Call the police or hide under your covers until morning. If you decide to venture downstairs, I can’t even feel that bad for you.

bed gif


  1. Thunderstorms in dramatic moments

Sometimes, in real life, the sky makes loud noises on normal days. Or good days. Sometimes it’s not dramatic at all. Actually, it almost never rains on days I’m depressed or days when I’m kissing my significant other after a fight. And if it does rain when I want to make up with someone, we go inside.

rain gif


  1. “Effortless” Hair

Normal people do not do intricate twist messy up-dos on their way to class in college (I’m look at you, Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect) or wake up with natural blow outs. Sorry, boys.

pitch perfect hair gif


  1. Ridiculous ages

Seriously, though, if anyone in my high school looked like a 28-year-old Armani model, I’d be questioning how many times he failed, not whether or not he’d ever notice me.

cinderella story


  1. Running into people

We all secretly want to bump into our ex who lives in another state, just so we can see if they look happy and also prove that we’re doing fine. But that doesn’t happen. They’ll never be seated next to us on an airplane or be shopping at the same farmer’s market while they’re visiting town. They just won’t. At least you have Facebook.

carrie bradshaw gif


I’ll let you know how the last Hunger Games movie is after I see it tonight, and if Katniss still has great teeth after being locked in an underground bomb shelter for a few months!


**This was written yesterday, so now it’s 3 weeks and 1 day. Holy moly.

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Filed under Entertainment, Lists

Not Your Average Starbucks Red Cup Opinion

My take on the Starbucks red cup “controversy” is different than most, so buckle up. This blog post will probably make people touchy, but I’m going to do my best not to cause any freak outs. If you’re prone to freaking out, I ask that you drink two glasses of wine before reading anything past my disclaimer statement, which is:

Christians definitely shouldn’t (and from what I gather, DON’T…) care if a Starbucks cup features snowflakes or not.

Given that disclaimer, you should be aware that this post is not a bunch of words explaining why Christians shouldn’t care about The [Plain] Red Cup and making fun of the ones who do—which is basically the only take I’ve seen on this subject. Just a friendly warning.

As Aaron put it when I explained to him my idea for this post, “So, you’re complaining about the people complaining about the people complaining about the red cup?”

EXACTLY.confused gif

Summary of Red Cup Gate 2015: A random dude posted a video on Youtube about the fact that Starbucks is serving coffee out of plain red cups this winter, instead of its usual red cups with drawings of snowflakes, snowmen, sleds, etc. Somehow, he decided that meant that Starbucks is firmly anti-Christian (since only Christians love all things wintery…?). A few hundred people agreed with him. Now, a few hundred thousand people have decided to tell him and his agreers that they’re idiots.

I, personally, haven’t seen a single person on my newsfeed say that he or she is offended by The [Plain] Red Cup. From what I gather, a very small sect of people have jumped aboard that crazy train. Because yes, it is rather crazy to say that removing holiday symbols from a red cup is a form of persecution…especially since literally none of those symbols were directly related to Jesus. More on that later, though. In terms of what I’ve seen online, the only opinions I’ve actually read are not posted by offended Christians, rather they are posts making fun of Christians who were offended (who again?) or Christians defending themselves with funny memes. Has no one stepped back to realize that, just like the majority of Muslims are not terrorists, the majority of Christians are not elitists? Why was it necessary for this to become an attack and defense situation?

We’ve GOT to stop radically grouping people together. Not all frat boys disrespect women. Not all lawyers lack integrity. Not all pageant girls are dumb. Not all basketball players cheat on their wives. Not all Republicans are old fashioned. Not all Democrats are bad with money. Not all skinny people have an eating disorder. Not all fat people are unhappy. The list goes on and on and on.

From a Christian’s perspective, the only thing I find frustrating about the Starbucks ordeal is that it’s one more way Christianity is being discredited for the sake of inclusion. I do not understand why inclusion and Christianity are seen as mutually exclusive. [I’m not saying that a plain cup is discrediting Christians. I’m saying that the initial complainers, and even more so—the responses to those complainers, are discrediting Christians. Who gives 2 flips about the cup itself?] If our society wants inclusion, why can’t kids say “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance at school if they want to, and omit it if they don’t? Why exclude the children who want to include God? Why can’t Christians believe the Bible without being made fun of? Why does a stigma surround people with deep biblical convictions? Why are people allowed to strongly believe that there is no God, but people are not allowed to strongly believe that there is a God? This is just as marginalizing as the other way around.

I know the argument is that non-Christians don’t “shove” their beliefs down other people’s throats. Well, I see post after post about things that are against my beliefs on Facebook…a whole lot more “shoving” of things I don’t believe down my throat than I see Christians doing. Also, stating beliefs is not “shoving.” It’s just being true to personal faith (unless it’s directly attacking another group of people). On that note, I also know the argument that atheists or other religions’ beliefs don’t harm people of differing lifestyles like Christian beliefs supposedly do. But those things that harm other people’s lives have nothing to do with Christianity. Old-school Christians aren’t racist—racists are racist. Christians aren’t homophobic—homophobes are homophobic. They may relate those bigoted stances back to Christianity, just like Jihad-extremists relate violence back to Islam, but that’s just God-awful (pun intended) interpretation…not that the religion itself is bad. See the difference?

Back to The [Plain] Red Cup. Yes, Christmas is a Christian holiday at its roots. But I do not believe that the holiday is celebrated widely because Christians are asserting their dominance in our country (at least, not anymore). Far more people associate Christmas with Santa Clause and vacation now-a-days than they do with Jesus. Right or wrong, that’s just how it is. Therefore, anything with snowflakes or Christmas trees or even a manger is not some big slap in the face to Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, etc. Those symbols are just little representations of a season that is supposedly a family and fun-filled time of year—for all.

starbucks red cup

I honestly see nothing to do with Christianity on these old Starbucks cups to begin with…I just see winter. And something that is either a space ship or a deformed turtle. Unclear.

I don’t think Starbucks removing Christmas/winter symbols from their cups was some extraordinary step in their company towards inclusion…because they were never exclusive to begin with. They’re not all of a sudden an open, modern company who supports everybody. I’m pretty sure they already fit that bill…just with a few extra snowflakes. The cup doesn’t represent all of these things the media is now making it represent. It’s just a new design (a boring one, to be honest) that probably costs them less money, but they’re spinning it to be a “blank canvas for whatever people want to associate with the holiday season.” You’re not fooling me, Starbs. You just don’t want to pay for artists and ink. Solid spin by the marketing team, though. Many props.

So instead of making fun of Christians for “their” stupidity and elitism, yet again, why don’t we all stop jumping on trains that never should have left the station. There will be a new controversy that annoys us to death on our newsfeeds each week unless we stop creating divides for no reason. Yes, the small group of Christians that got offended in the first place created the initial divide, but the divide is about 20,000x deeper due to the influx of cheeky responses.

Although I don’t have the time or energy to delve into many of the little points I made in this post, please know that I understand that other people interpret things differently than I do, and that they’ve have had unique experiences shaping their reactions to this controversy—experiences to which I cannot easily relate. This blog is written and shaped by my own interpretations and experiences, so if you don’t understand or disagree with anything I said, please feel free to ask me (nicely) what I meant or why I feel the way I do. I think that’s what we should all do when we don’t see eye to eye, instead of making assumptions and trivializing opposing perspectives. 🙂


Filed under General Musings