True life: I went to a Bachelor casting call


bachelor-casting-call-picHave you ever wondered how the super beautiful and (some) slightly crazy people make it on ABC’s The Bachelor? Why the guys who get picked are always please-keep-your-shirt-off HOT, and the girls have perfect hair all the time? Or how about how someone who loves onions and the Mesa Verde gets a chance to find love (and also a paintball gun – yikes!)? Well I still haven’t figured that one out but I do know how the show auditions people to cast the Bachelor and I’m hear to tell the story, my story. (Because my story is just amazing.) <– spoken like Kelsey from Chris the farmer’s season.
For years now I’ve been telling my friends (aka – my bachelor viewing party pose) that I want to apply for the show to find love. Now we all know that not everyone finds love on the show and statically the number of relationships that succeed are less than perfect. But the thought of putting myself out there seems exciting and scary all in one, especially for an introverted accountant such as myself.

So the story started a few weeks ago when I texted a fellow bachelor viewing party comrade asking if she wanted to take a trip to Charleston that weekend.  The thought of good food adventures lead to an easy “Yes” but little did she know my true MO. A day or so before the road trip, I spilled the beans that we would be taking a stop at the Bachelor Casting Call upon arrival.  The next few days contained multiple articles and blogs of what to expect, the pros and cons. From the readings, I expected to find the audition:

1- full of beautiful girls with lush curls, boobs and tan skin
2- nice girls, but they really don’t want to be your friend so most would seem fake
3- long lines and uncomfortable spaces
4- prying questions
5- rush then wait mentality

Wait why do I want to do this?  That sounds awful!!  Oh yeah, to find love!

Fortunately, my bachelor casting call was not exactly what I was expecting. It was anticlimactic, quick and eye opening. I think part of this is because Charleston might be a smaller venue than say LA or Atlanta and we got there early. So here’s my tips on what to expect at a bachelor casting call and how to best prepare.

bachelor-casting-infoStudy
You wouldn’t go to a job interview without studying and practicing questions you might be asked, would you?  I hope not.  So study up. Download the mail-in form online and pre fill it out. Take time to answer the questions. Some are obvious like why do you want to find love, while others are very bachelor appropriate – do you drink? What’s your favorite beverage? (Yes- red wine, Moscow mules, St Augustine vodka)
Some girls seems concerned about the questions, like weight: I overheard “what should I put for this one? I think I’m 115” <— girllll- you know how much you weigh. Don’t lie. And wait, why do they need to know weight?!?

Another girl asked me what does “list 3 characteristics that would surprise people about you” mean? Again- treat this like an interview- good luck thinking that one up my fellow applicant, we are basically all up for the same gig.
My friend and I had a 4 hour car ride to Charleston so she asked me the questions in the event I would get asked. This made the paperwork super easy and we had more time for blood orange mimosas (true bachelor fashion)

bachelor-casting-infoVendors
When I entered in the room, the first things I saw were two ladies with cameras, a tanning pop-up tent and a rack of bikinis. “Holy macaroni. What have I gotten myself into?!?  Grab a REAL bachelor pen and dash out of that place!” Luckily, I soon discovered this was just a vendor showcase and the ladies with the camera were there to take really awkward photos of you. The vendors were local shops for ladies- mostly health and wellness and places to make you prettier as well as the local abc news channel. Harmless, until I got back to the hotel and realized my goodie bag contained samples of fat pills and my friends contained libdo pills – got it Bachelor, got the note.

abc-bachelor-casting

Early bird get the worm
Or a spot on the local news clip.
We got there about 45 minutes early. Once the casting call  opened, we signed in, grabbed the official bachelor pen and looked for where to go next. You will write your name, age and phone number on a white board then take a mug shot like photo. Or three.  Plan ahead for this. Strike a pose? I’m not sure exactly but I’m sure my pictures turned out very accountant-like  📸 😳
Then I was directed to a small line to go back for the interview. I sat awkwardly with about 5 other girls. Some were more chatty than others and wanted to know things like “so what all do you ladies do? I mean we are all in this together, right?! hehe” no girl, we are all doing this but not together.  Until you make it to the mansion and its up the the actual Bachelor, the show is trying to cast the best of the best for the guy and I’m not interested in small talk.

I glanced at a few of the girls applications-ages  21, 22. Oh lord. Y’all don’t know what love is yet. But good luck to you 😉
Luckily I got out of answering that question but only because the local ABC channel 4 news station conveniently picked me to interview for a segment. A series of events lead me to that exact seat in front of the camera (and lights) where I was caught completely off guard. Sure- introverted accountant would love to tell Charleston what’s going on right now! Ha – said no one ever. But hey if I get casted, this is only the beginning so let’s prep now!  In the middle of the oh-my-gosh-hot hallway which smelled like greasy bacon (and I was starting to get hungry), I told America why I was there. Ok, so only a handful of people saw I’m sure, but I can say I’ve been on ABC for The Bachelor– let’s leave the details out 😉

The interview
The last step is the video interview. You will be escorted to talk one on one with a casting agents and answer a few questions. I got:
What do you do? CPA – I work in Corp accounting at a Fortune 500 company
Hobbies and interest? My dogs, home, being active, cooking and baking – lactation cookies. Yes, lactation cookies.
Kids? No, well yes, my dogs are definitely like my children
Why do you want to be on the show? Because ABC believes in the process and I think it can work. The amount of resources and time that goes into this, must be better than online dating.

Then the interviewer will have you stand up and take a video of you toe to head. (In that order) Another awkward moment…

And that’s it. Now you wait. And wait.

And wait.

casting-call-bachelorPost-casting call
What happens next I’ve learned from asking the interviewer and reading online— soon you will receive an email that you’ve either made it to the next step, or your search to find love ends there. If you’re one of the final few, you get to fill out more paperwork and then possibly get selected to go to “Hollywood Weekend” where the final 26ish are selected!

Even if I don’t make it to the next step, Charleston wasn’t waste by any means.  I had a blast eating and drinking my way through the town.  Check out this blog post on a few great places to try in Charleston.
#thebachelorforcassie

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The Danish Challenge: Prelude

 

IMG_4961A few years ago, I was in a book club and one of the books we read was The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner.  Weiner travels the world to 10 different countries in search of the happiest places in the world. He seeks out a Dutch professor, Ruut Veenhoven, who runs the World Database of Happiness (WDH) in Rotterdam to examine his research. As I was going through the book this evening, I stopped at a few pages I had earmarked. One of these contained the findings that Weiner noted from Rotterdam (with the thoughts I had as I was reading): 

“Extroverts are happier than introverts (well at least they look it); optimists are happier than pessimists (duh); married people are happier than single people (well, that’s just great for me); though people with children are no happier than childless couples (? Maybe that’s due to a lack of sleep?); republicans are happier than democrats (ok one in my favor); people who attend religious services are happier than those who do not (amen!); people with college degrees are happier than those without (so my piece of paper includes happiness? Awesome!), though people with advanced degrees are less happy than those with just a BA (MAcc and CPA- nevermind I retract my previous statement); people with an active sex life are happier than those without (no comment); women and men are equally happy; though women have a wider emotional range (see, it’s not just me, this is fact people!); having an affair will make you happy but will not compensate for the massive loss of happiness that you will incur when your spouse finds out and leaves you (thanks Hollywood for proving this one); people are least happy when commuting to work (reason #1 for why I live 5 miles from work 🙌); busy people are happier than those with too little to do (ha! Maybe that’s because we are too busy to realize we could be relaxing on a beach with a book and fruity drink); wealthy people are happier than poor ones, but only slightly (thanks for the added clarification).

One of Wiener’s last comments in the book are “Our happiness is completely and utterly intertwined with other people: family and friends and neighbors and the woman you hardly notice who cleans your office. Happiness is not a noun or a verb. It’s a conjunction. Connective tissue.”  <– sometimes the happiest person I see all day is that lady who takes my office trash!  True Story.

I found this book intriguing yet obvious, funny yet insightful and now I want to travel.

IMG_4820Fast forward to this past weekend and I started a new book called The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. Russell is witty. I found myself laughing even in the intro and I wanted to read more. (Which is something I rarely say!) Russell shares  the journey of moving her life from London to Denmark because her husband (referred to as Lego Man) landed a job with Legoland and she spends one year committed to living a Danishly- I don’t quite know what that means yet, but I’m soon to find out!

So what does The Geography of Bliss and The Year of Living Danishly have in common? I thought you’d never ask! According to the WDH, Denmark is ranked #1 among 155 nations as having the highest level of “inequality adjusted happiest” which “is measured as a linear combination of the mean and the standard deviation of the distribution of happiness in a nation.” Essentially if everyone in the country was completely happy, the country could score 100. Denmark ranks #1. Take away the technical, mathematical calculation, and I’m pretty sure we can summarize it as the Danes are pretty happy.

Russell knew this as well and set out on a journey to uncover why the Danes are so happy and how she might in turn, become happier by living Danishly. What’s their secret and how happy do they consider themselves??

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Since I really have enjoy this book so far, and have an interest in Danish living, I’m going to embark on my own journey – to learn why and how Denmark is so happy and see if I can incorporate Danish living in the US.

I’m going to call this The Denmark Challenge. Each month I will read and study a new chapter in this book, learn and adapt. The book is broken into 12 chapters, one for each month of the year. I’ll share what I’ve learned and how I’m “living Danishly in America” My hope is that I leave this challenge with much more knowledge of Denmark (not going to lie- I wasn’t even exactly sure where it was on the map) and a full embrace of happiness, which might be the Danish way of happiness, but only time will tell.

I’ll leave each post with a few Facts About Denmark and Living Danishly that I’ve gathered so far in the book and other research. I hope you take this journey with me to “Living Danishly.”

IMG_4736Facts About Denmark

  1. Legoland is in Denmark (some of the hotel rooms are themed and built legos – oh to be child-like again – that must be the key to happiness?!)
  2. Denmark has 5.6 million people
  3. Denmark is a progressive society
  4. Danes tend to look a lot alike- tall blondes (great, just great – dying my hair will not, I repeat, will not make me happy – no year-long test needed for that one) 

Living Danishly

  1. Christian Bjornskov is Denmark’s happiness economist- look him up later
  2. “mere penge, mere problemer.” translate 
  3. They are happy because their high expectations are realistic
  4. More than 70% of Danes believe most people can be trusted – wow. Just wow.

 

PS – After writing this, I now have Bob Marley’s “Everything’s gonna be alright” in my head… okay – not sure what Denmark and Bob Marley have in common but these are nice tunes to jam to as I’m getting ready for bed.

god nat [gohNAT] (good night)

image
a view of Nyhavn Copenhagen, Denmark

Napa: Running Swag & Wine Tastings

napa-zooma-tough-girl-tutus-sisters

This year’s annual girl’s trip lead us to Napa, CA for the Zooma Women’s Half on June 28th.  This was my second half marathon and second destination run.  Last year, I ran the Subaru Distance Classic Half in Jax on Thanksgiving Day and also a women’s 5k in Chicago!  Napa was the perfect girls destination weekend trip!  What’s more to love than great food, amazing wine and laughter with wonderful friends?  Oh maybe perfect weather… Napa had that too!

I took hundreds of pictures and have way too much to say about Napa and all that wouldn’t even do this city justice.  If you love wine, this place is definitely worth the trip!!  In fact, I don’t think you can do it all in one trip and I already have a list of places to see next time!  Napa is about a 1 – 1.5 hour drive outside San Francisco (if no traffic) but feels like it’s a completely different world.  The weather perfect… sunny, warm and low humidity ( <— according to my standards), the people are extremely nice (they drink all day) and calories don’t count!

So here’s a short recap of our weekend and my favorites of this trip!

napa-fume-bistroFirst things first… drink wine.  Eat lunch.  Check and check.  Right around the corner from our hotel, the Napa Winery Inn, was Fume Bistro, a delicious restaurant with great outside seating.  This place was great for late night cocktails, early lunch and everything in between!  We ended up eating here at least twice and brought our own bottle of wine the last night.

So the wine tours (and amazing food) planning process was well under way!

napa-il-posto-italian-restaurant

The first night we  ate dinner at Il Posto, and let me just say, OH MY GOODNESS Italians sure do know how to cook.  The desserts…. well we couldn’t pick just one so we got three… My favorite, hands down, the affogato.  It just sounds Italian, right?! Affogato!  Affogato what I ate for dinner because this dessert was so delicious!

  •  Affogato – vanilla bean gelato, espresso
  •  Tiramisu – coffee, ladyfingers, mascarpone
  • Fiorello’s Sorbeto – strawberry

The next morning we got up super early (thank goodness for carb-loading the night before!) and ran a half marathon!

napa-zooma-half-marathon-starting-line

This was the first time the  Zooma Women’s Half Marathon Race Series held a race in Napa, Ca.  Seriously, what’s more enticing to women than beautiful weather and wine!? I know, feeling super girly and fun with awesome women and awesome tutus from Tough Girl Tutus!  I love, love Tough Girl Tutus.  This was my first order from this company but I have since placed a second order.  The tutu really is fit for a runner and the colors are so much fun!  I emailed Tough Girl Tutus about shipping times and their response was super helpful.

napa-zooma-half-marathon-tough-girl-tutus

The course was beautiful so we thought, why not take a few snazzy pics?! I used my Jenny Collection Handy 10 water bottle during the full 13.1 miles!  This was a great size for the race and allowed me to hydrate with Gatorade between water stops.    I actually run with this often because I hate searching for fluids on runs, especially in Florida!

napa-zooma-half-marathon-tough-girl-tutus-run

After the race, I was feeling pretty tired but the thought of wine tours and more amazing food was enough to keep me going… and so we went!  Off to Yountville!  I would definitely stay in this little town within the Napa Valley.  It has great restaurants and many wine shops with tastings on the main street.

napa-yountville-RandD

Wine tasting…

napa-yountville-cornerstone-cellars-tasting

The last full day was even better!  We went on two tours of vineyards and both could not have been more different from each other.

napa-bell-windery-clone-6Bell Wine Cellars was stunning!  The grounds are beautiful and we even got to drink wine and play bocce ball on the lawn… how fancy can you get?!  I loved learning about the wine making processing and our tour-guide-tasting-teacher-master-wino-extraordinaire, Elise, made it such an enjoyable experience.  <— the wine might have helped a little too 🙂

 

Our next stop was a crazy-interesting-must-go-to-see-for-yourself winery.  Raymond Vineyards.  The wine was amazing, the atmosphere even better.  I don’t think I’m a wine connoisseur and nor can I comment on wine tasting other than my own preference but Napa wine is definitely top notch!

napa-raymond-winery

I feel alittle wine-isticated (<— note to self, not a wino if you use that term!) after this trip and every glass I’ll remember, swirl and sniff!

napa-raymond-winery-inside

Not sure how the next girl’s trip can top this one, but I can’t wait to find out!  Any recommendations for destination races?