Online Dating Fails: Part 1

Let’s be frank for a minute. Dating is tough. The good ones are few and far between and overshadowed by the copious amount of nut jobs and weirdos. If you expect to only meet someone in a bar or through friends you might find yourself perpetually single. So another valid option today is online dating; you instantly get a lot more options to browse and choose from all while you sit in your underwear. It also gives you a bit of insight as to why some people are single. Between Match, Jdate and OkayCupid, I’ve now gone on more than enough dates and been the recipient of some of the strangest messages.

Through all the weeds, there should be a few good ones out there. So ladies, when you find yours, be sure to hold on to him or you might find yourself on the receiving end of some ridiculous messages like these. Guys, take note of what not to do if you legit want to go on a date.

*I apologize some are too long but grammar, vocab and punctuation have not been altered in any way. These are not all of the messages, nor are they the worst. I wish I had started saving them sooner.

Without further adieu… Enjoy.

  • “Alright, I can tell this profile is fake but can you at least give me the name of model of those pictures you used?”
  • “O two maid of honors?! Were you upset? You’re really cute btw lol” (This was his first message to me. I was okay with two MOH’s, but not okay with his negativity and implying I shouldn’t be. No, thanks)
  • “Finally a girl on here who didn’t write an glorified essay about herself. Dig the profile.”
  • “If you’re looking for a man with a heart of gold and passion of reliving life to the fullest, I think we could make some crazy plans this week. I guess you could call me the shy and mysterious type. I may not speak often, but my words hit you like a Mike Tyson knockout punch. With that said, I think we may have some chemistry then. How about it?”
  • “OMG. Those innocent eyes, those juicy lips, that awesome bod, soo HOOTTT!!……. but enough about me, how u doin?” (Wait, Joey Tribani, is that you?)
  • “Those beautiful eyes, that smooth skin, that cool personality. But enough about me…hows your day?” (These were two different guys…similar cheesy line. Ha!)
  • “Free Massages by Prince Charming. Act now.”
  • “I’ve come to the conclusion I am not be like most people. And I’m probably going to be less and less like most people and at first it will be very lonely…” (slowly…walking…away…. run!)
  • “I THINK I LOVE YOU” (This was first email to me… again run!)
  • “Hey Sexy, I’m in town for work, want to party with me?” – username: KinkMasterSpank. (Can’t make this up)
  • “Hi there – Loved your profile! I think you are fabulous and would love to get to know you better 🙂  Please drop me a note…would absolutely love to connect!” (That’s a lot of “love” for an intro note…)
  • “Hey! I just signed up here after massive maternal pressure. Have you had any fun?” (This one was obviously from Jdate)
  • “We’re both Jewish… that means something right?”  (Yes it matters to me but, still no. What are you covering up here?)
  • No picture shown: “A little about me… Originally from Baltimore. I am 5’11 185 brn hair and blue eyes, witty, smart, funny, well-groomed, old enough to buy cocktails and young enough to remember where I parked my car. What I do want is great conversation, some laughs, no drama, a few drinks, and some company. I am a passionate smart, successful, yet unpretentious with a great sense of humor. I am confident in my demeanor and is willing to go on adventures… after all life is an adventure. Intrigued?”   (Nope. Not in the least bit)
  • “How are you doing? Cute smile and beautiful eyes… That is if I maybe so bold as to say. Just wanted to say hi, came across your profile and caught my attention. So wondering if you might like to chat sometime? Would you care to share something about yourself that’s not on your profile. (Nope. I’ve shared what I want to share for now) Well. I will keep this short and simple for now until I hear back from you and see if you are even interested in chatting to begin with. :). Scratch that. I just realized how much I had already written. Lol. Guess it is too late to try and keep this sweet and short. Haha. Looking to reading from you if you are interested in chatting.”
  • “Hi there, I liked your profile and wanted to drop you a note. Will be traveling down your way and I hate eating dinner or drinking a bottle of wine alone.”
  • “Hey There! I liked your profile and if you don’t mind me being so straightforward, I think you’re incredibly attractive. I hope my compliment didn’t offend you in anyway and if it did I apologize in advance. If my compliment made you blush a little and put a smile on your face in a good way, then I think we should chat because I believe we have similar interests and hopefully the chemistry in becoming good friends at first and possible more. I hoped you liked what I had to say and look forward to getting to know more about you. – YourRomanticMan.”
  • (Received on Feb 13, 2013: His location: California. Mine: DC) “Mazel tov! Princess, Tomorrow night I’m taking you out for an AMAZINGLY romantic/fun Valentines Day Dinner. You have the rest of your life to date all these other guys you’re looking through on here- which are NOT the long term answer for you. I am and I plan on proving it starting MANANA. Call me real quick 🙂 Matt  I don’t respond to these messages except this one just pushed me over. My response: “Absolutely not. Addressing a girl you don’t know as a Princess is demeaning and disrespectful. You’re congratulating me (Mazel Tov) like I won a prize? And how do you know that I don’t already have a date for tomorrow? And it is obvious you copied and pasted that to as many girls as possible. We’re not even on the same Coast. No need to respond to me. I am not interested.”
  • “What do I look like to you? You look like my greatest match and the girl next door and my future !”
  • “Okay, so I have a question for you. I normally completely stay away from girls like you, but there’s something about you that has me somewhat intrigued. Maybe it’s the fact that you’re just such a goody too shoes, and I have always wanted to bring a good girl to the dark side! :-P”
  • “63 from South Carolina, but you can call me negative Ned…”  (so I clearly ignored him but then he wrote be a few days later…) “You were like screw that guy. I’m gonna totally ignore him. You’re terrible! 😉 On that note, sorry if I’m being too persistent.”  (63 from SC and to call him Negative Ned? Yup, I’m going to ignore that one for sure.)
  • “Hi I’m Jeff, So some things about me I guess? I grew up in Oak Lawn now live in Oak Forest and did a rehab on the inside and now I’m pretty much done just deciding whether or not to put carpet down in the basement or leave the sweet sweet 70’s tile. I have a only one brother and my parents and am close with them… So tell me more about you.”
  • “Seriously I don’t know what to say. Your smile just took all the words from me.”
  • “I just moved out here in September! I notice you are serious about Judaism. If you can overlook that I’m not, I think we’d get along great. Besides, the kids would be Jewish, and that is what really matters, no? ;)” (Nope. That’s not all that matters to me, buddy.)
  • Do you think Jdate should hire a grammar policeman to scroll through profiles and let people know when their spelling and grammar are so poor that it’s just embarrassing to everyone?” (First email. Very strange.)
  • “Heya, my name is Ben. Well, I am Jewish, but I’m not orthodox. I am a “Conservative Jew” but I do not keep Kosher or attend schul every Saturday. I did actually try to teach my friend George Allen Yiddish. Now THAT was funny. I almost taught him the word “schmuck” but decided against it. I was Bar Mitzvah’d. I of course attend High Holidays. I’m a nice intelligent guy and a notorious hard worker. I come from a good family and I work full time. I also am generous. On New Years Eve, when at a party in DC for New Years right before midnight, i stepped outside of the bar where the even was being held. I noticed a poor “bum” on the side of the building asleep. So, I just tossed him over $20 while he was asleep, but also close enough to him so the money wouldn’t be stolen. As my Rabbi said, “It’s important to give to the less fortunate”. Even if the “bum” bought a bottle of booze with the money, I don’t care. The important thing was that I gave him the money, even if he didn’t know, and allowed him to make the choice. If you have time to speak, i’d really like the chance to get to know you. Plus we have a fantastic match rating. Drop me a note if you’d like to talk. I would really like to talk to you.” (There are just no words.)

Have you had any bad pick up lines and emails from online dating? If so, please leave them in the comments and my next post will be compiling your worst online dating experience fails! 

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The Best Klout Perk: Being VIP at an NFL game

You know how you have those weekends that blur into a foggy memory and you look back and wonder what in the world you did? This past weekend was not one of those occasions. It is one that I will remember and smile about for the rest of my life.

***

I’m one of those girls who can be a girlie-girl and get my nails done or hang with the guys and watch NFL on Sundays. I like sports. A lot. This year I started a March Madness league and NFL Fantasy Ladies ONLY league.  I like watching them on TV and going to games live. I have my teams from all sports (Go Blackhawks, White Sox, Bears) that I root for. Seeing games live is exhilarating and fun and the energy is fantastic (when the team is doing well, at least) but I’ll admit, I usually prefer NFL games on TV. Growing up in Chicago, I was not about to sit outside in the frigid cold and get frostbite when I could sit comfortably on my couch in my cozy house. I admit I prefer the replays and commentary from TV commentators but given the opportunity to go to a game, I just can’t refuse.

***

Klout perks have been sucking lately. If you are unfamiliar with Klout, it is  the Standard for Influence. If Klout thinks you are influential, it assigns you a score and rewards you with perks based on said score. The perks I’ve gotten lately have all been useless. For example, the last 5 I got were all for McDonalds and one for Norton Antivirus. Being that I eat mostly healthy and as unprocessed as possible, that didn’t work so much for me. However, on Thursday I got a perk thanks to Women of Washington (Washington Redskins Women’s Club) that invited me and a friend to go to a preseason Redskins vs Buffalo Bills game as free VIP. That alone was awesome but what ensued was more than I could have dreamed.

Being last minute, I asked around and not only were people already busy but apparently there aren’t many Skins fans in DC Proper (too many transient people, I guess). I ran to Target to get a shirt; they had the most pathetic selection so I tried a local sports store. I couldn’t go to this event without sporting team support! There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to make this happen, even if I had to go alone.

It wasn’t until Thursday that I got the invite and then on Friday, the day before the game, that I found out I was going to get to go ON the field for player introductions! Because it was a WOW event, my date who came with me had to wait for me back in the seats. I felt bad for a hot second but this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I wasn’t going to miss it. I talk to everyone so I had made a friend while we waited. They brought us down onto the field and we stood alongside the cheerleaders to form the tunnel for the player introductions. It was absolutely wild and epic and totally thrilling to be on the field. Words can’t describe how exciting the whole thing was. Afterwards, we were quickly rushed off the field and ushered to our seats after the introductions were complete

I thought our seats were inside in the standing room only nose-bleed section. Turns out, not only did we have Exclusive Club Level access, we were seated 3rd row in the Dream Seats – the seats before the stands begin along the 20 yard line on the visitor side. Sitting so close to the game is the only way to go. I’m officially spoiled now. It was a beautiful hot day, the Redskins won and all of this was free. I am still in shock and overly excited that I got to experience this.

Everything exceeded any expectations I had when I claimed this perk from Klout.  This was my first Redskins NFL game and pretty sure that no other game will compare from here on out. Surely no perk will top this and I joked with my date that he’s screwed. How do you top this for a second date idea? I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking:

Women of Washington Redskins on the field

Thanks to Klout and Women of Washington for an experience of a lifetime. It was so much fun and absolutely something I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life.

welcome field run from Caryn Levy on Vimeo.

How To: The DOs & DON’Ts of how to help a friend get through a breakup

We’ve all been there before.  It doesn’t matter the details of the breakup, whether they were dating 5 weeks or 5 years, if they weren’t serious or if they were engaged. What does matter is that she is hurting and heartbroken and she needs you, her friend.  But we all handle things in different ways.  Not every tactic works for everyone and not everyone wants to be supported or cared for in the same way. Know your friend – but Here are several suggestions on the DO’s and DON’Ts for helping your friend through her breakup through her breakup:

DO be there for her, be supportive and listen: One of the most important things you can do for her is to listen. Let her know that you understand and that you are there for her. She may be a broken record in your eyes, but she needs to talk it out. Be there to just listen.  Be there emotionally, physically and mentally. Tell her she has people in her corner who love and support her and that she is not alone.  When she is lonely, keep her company. Even if you sit in silence or watch TV, she’ll appreciate your mere presence.

DO offer positive & healthy distractions to keep her busy: Encourage her to get out of the house. Help her get involved in fun activities – Take a day trip together, go for a walk, window shop, volunteer for a cause, go to a movie or a concert, go out for dinner, play games, see a comedian, get her a massage. Invite her out to things, have a girl’s night out (or in), or watch an episode of Glee together.  Make sure she is not always alone and get her out of the apartment.

DO reach out just to say hi and that you’re thinking of her via calls, texts, emails, e-cards or even snail mail: Remind her that she is not alone and that someone (you!) care. Be genuine, not nosey. Ask how she is doing or if she prefers space. If she prefers space, that might be just that day. Tomorrow she may want your presence again. If she does want space, she will tell you to stop but still appreciate that at least you cared enough about her to try.  However, most people need to feel loved and thought of and will need their friends to check in on them.

DO NOT set and forget or one and done.  Just because the breakup is not at the forefront of your mind, does not mean that she has moved on, too: One text or call is not enough. Even a few weeks or months later she still needs to know that you care, that you are still thinking about her, and that she is not alone. You may think you are a great friend because you went to dinner with her once or texted twice, but a real true friend continues to reach out consistently, not only in the beginning.

DO encourage her to rediscover herself:  Is there something she has always wanted to do but never done? Anything she never tried like knitting, taking dancing lessons or baking peanut butter cookies because he was allergic? Has she always dreamt of traveling but he was afraid of flying? Encourage her to explore new things, to find new hobbies and passions.

DO NOT make the breakup about you: Let her have this moment. Don’t compare her breakup to your past breakups. She is the one grieving now, so let her work it out. After some time has passed and her wounds are not as fresh and she is doing better and moving on, then you can swap battle stories.

DO have comments & feedback but keep it positive:  It is okay to say, You did the right thing, or I can’t believe he did that to you. BUT…

DO NOT Bash and trash the ex: This is not the time to let all your real feelings out of the bag. Don’t release all the personal complaints you’ve held against him. Avoid criticisms of his personality, looks and habits. She chose at one point to be with that person good or bad so don’t say you never liked him anyway or how ugly he was. What happens on the off-chance they patch things up and get back together? She won’t forget what you said and your comments will likely come back to haunt you. You might think bashing is helpful but it is not supportive behavior. She will go back and forth on hate – be supportive and positive. Don’t hate.

DO make her laugh and have fun together: The breakup shouldn’t end the fun in your friendship.  She will have good days and bad days, but let her know it is okay to laugh and have fun even if she is sad and missing him. Help take her mind of things. Try to make her laugh even when she thinks she doesn’t have it in her to smile.

DO NOT expect her to “get over it” after x amount of time: She doesn’t know how long it will take but she needs to be able to grieve. Time heals so let her have her time. Be patient and understanding. Breakups can be like a death when you lose someone from your life. It is a loss. Let her mourn the relationship. Don’t rush the healing and grieving process.
DO reach out proactively: Don’t wait for her to tell you she is struggling. Check in with her before  she reaches out to you. Knowing that someone is thinking about her (without her bringing it up first) will help her heal faster.
DO NOT forget to say 4 little words: “I’m here for you”: She is venting and heartbroken but she is also probably worried about if she is annoying you, too. Be present, listen, and her confidant. Be encouraging and supportive. She has so much on her plate and is worried about so much. Don’t be another cause of worry for her.

DO respond to her emails or text messages with a little thought of something that shows you care: Even if you do not know what to say, try to say something that makes her feel like you care. Replying only “I’m sorry” to her plea for help is not supportive and screams that you do not care. Instead try, “I’m sorry, is there anything I can? Let’s grab a dinner or coffee soon.”

DO NOT tell her that dating sucks and that there is no one out there. Remind her that this pain won’t last forever: Remind her that she will be happy again and that it gets better.

Do be her personal cheerleader: Breakups can be are a blow to the self-esteem and she may have a lot of self-doubt. She may feel she is not pretty enough, not love-able enough, not fun enough, that she is never going to find another man – etc.  Tell her how wonderful she is, remind her of her great qualities, and how much your friendship means to you.

DO NOT make her cry about her ex in a bar (or anywhere for that matter): She will cry about it anyway. Do not instigate it. Do not try to get the gossip out of her about the details of her breakup. If she wants to talk to you she will. Do not bring up The Ex after she has been drinking. Again, if she wants to talk  about it she will.

DO be a confidant and trust worthy: She is talking to you because she trusts you and needs a friend. Do not be a blabber mouth. Don’t go sharing her stories with others. Show her you care by keeping her trust and stories confidential.

DO NOT get upset with her if she asks you to do her a favor regarding The Ex: If she tells you, “I’m still getting his mail” or “can you please give him his pants that he left at my place” just be a doll and offer to pass along the pants & the mail. It is hard to have The Ex’s stuff still lying around. Help her move on by removing the memories.  She isn’t asking you for this favor to start anything or make you feel uncomfortable. You are her friend and she is looking to you for help. Odds are they are not on speaking terms or it is too painful. ** Note: Once or twice is ok, but you cannot be the monkey in the middle.

DO set boundaries but be polite and subtle: The breakup is hard on both of you. You want to listen and be there for her but it can be stressful for you too. Help yourself and help her at the same time. Be upfront and agree to talk about the situation for 15, 30 minutes, an hour, whatever seems appropriate for you both, with the intention to change subjects after the time has passed. (note: Don’t interrupt her and say TIME’S UP though!) It is good for your mental health as well as hers. This allows you to continue to listen but stops the breakup from taking over her life, too, allowing her to think about and move on to something else.

DO NOT tell her juicy gossip you her about The Ex: Be considerate of her feelings. If you are still friends with The Ex, do not tell her that he slept with Susie Slutface. This will not make her feel better.

MOST IMPORTANT- DO BE A FRIEND!!: Maybe she actually is your first friend to go through a breakup. Maybe you don’t know what encouraging words to say or what to do. Don’t worry about that. You don’t have to talk about the breakup.  Whether she is your first friend to experience a breakup or not, being a friend shouldn’t be unfamiliar territory. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here- JUST BE HER FRIEND. All she needs is you to be there for her. 

Life after breakups can be very emotional and challenging. She will learn a lot about herself and who her real friends are during this process. Be the friend that you would want to have if you went through this. Being a friend shouldn’t be a foreign language to you, but here are few of my personal favorite things my closest friends are doing to help me: 

  • Coming home to an empty apartment after he moved out was heart wrenching. My ex neighbor turned friend came over and helped me rearrange the couch, do laundry, hang pictures on the newly barren walls, make my bed with said clean sheets. It was the littlest thing but it made such a difference to me.
  • Offer to bring dinner over. If she is anything like me, I have trouble making myself dinner when I’m blue. Bringing her dinner (and eating with her) is one of the most helpful things you can do.
  • Have a girls night & sleep over.  Sounds silly to have sleep overs as an adult but it will mean the world to her, especially if she used to live with The Ex.
  • Fly across country to physically be with me, to hug me and to help cheer me up.
  • I got Snail Mail letters filled with encouragement, support and love from fellow bloggers. Emails are good but getting an actual physical envelope to open really shows her that you care.

*this is all from ‘her’ perspective for consistency but same advice applies to guys.


What do you say to or do for friends when they are going through a breakup? What has helped you move on from your own breakups?  Are you, like me, going through a really tough breakup right now?  Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. You are not alone!


Shootin’ & Drinkin’ and making dreams come true

This date post just doesn’t seem as cool anymore, not after the surprise weekend getaway but I have been so busy between the new job, holiday season stuff and wedding planning, I haven’t had a chance to post it yet. Better late than never, right? I am trying to keep up, I promise! Just because I haven’t been posting as frequently, doesn’t mean I don’t love you, readers! I DO! Without further ado, here is the post that keeps getting delayed…

I didn’t grow up in the heart of the south where people had shotguns on their front porch, or in a dangerous neighborhood. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and am very lucky to have the upbringing that I did.  I am also lucky that my only exposure to guns was on TV, in the movies or video games and at summer over night camp.  You are probably thinking, guns at summer camp? what camp did your parents send you to?!  It’s nothing like that, I promise. Camp offered a riflery class where you got to shoot real rifles at targets. My parents and I have a long-standing joke that even though I claimed to get a bullseye, that I made it up because I always managed to forget to put the targets in my letters I sent home. Anyways, that has been the extent of my gun exposure. Since dating Mr. Fiancé, I have learned to play the killing video games, which I admit are a lot of fun. He frequently talked about how cool it would be to shoot an AK47.  He grew up in Texas where guns were more prominent, but he still never shot anything more than a BB gun.

So when I saw Living Social Adventures had an offer called Shootin’ & Drinkin’ where you got to actually shoot an AK47 & a pistol followed by lunch and drinks, I was very intrigued and jumped on it immediately. And yes the drinking came after the shooting. If I didn’t act on this, I would regret it forever. I wanted to make his dream come true but I also knew it had to be a surprise.

Back in early November, on our pairing food and wine date, I told Mr. Fiancé that he had to keep Sunday the 19th open for another date that I had planned. Keeping this secret from him, was nothing short of nearly impossible. On top of being extremely excited, I also have a very hard time lying to him, so when he’d ask questions, it took everything in me not to spill. But I did it! Until the day before that is.  I needed him to sign a waiver, which he claimed he wouldn’t sign unless he knew what he was signing away his life for. I can’t say I blame him. Guessing it is different than being told so I played the hot or cold game with him until he got it right.  He was so excited, I thought he was going to fly away.

We had bets going about who was going to be on the tour.  Mr. Fiancé thought I was going to be one of the only women but I thought most would be couples where the girl had bought it for her man.  I won. When we arrived, they split us into two groups – one to shoot first and the other to eat.  We had delicious pork sandwiches and met a lovely couple who only proved my theory more.

We were given bullets, goggles and ear protectors. Thank goodness for the ear muffs. The noise was shockingly loud, even with them on.  There were bullet shell casings scattered everywhere, which lead me to think, how do people fire off rounds in public without getting caught? The shells have to leave a trail everywhere!

He shot first with the pistol and got 3 in the center. I didn’t do as well as I did when I was at camp and I blame it on the fact that my arms started shaking after a while. That, and even though I was aiming in the middle, I consistently shot towards the bottom right. Holding your arms straight up with a heavy object is not easy and neither is loading the damn gun! The guy had to help me load my rounds because it was a hell of a lot harder than it looked.  Shooting the AK47 was not at all like I expected. I know they say you are supposed to put it in the crook of your shoulder, look through the hole and aim, but if I did that, it would recoil into my face. Umm no thank you. So I just shot towards the target. Mr Fiancé’s recoiled so hard that his ear muffs blew off.

Me shooting a pistol

 

Me holding the AK47

We had a blast (see what I did there?) and it was definitely something we will remember forever. While it was kind of a rush, addicting to try to see if I could hit the bullseye and definitely a stress reliever, it was also very terrifying.  Here we are, at the shooting range, relatively safe and having a good time.  But to think that the very object that I had in my hands is used as a weapon to kill people, well that kind of freaked me out. What if someone crazy was on our trip learning and planning?

Does it get any more stereotypically American than this?

After the range, the bus tour went to a winery for the drinkin’ portion of the adventure.  It was my first Michigan winery but if they are all like that, it will be my last. They brewed beer & wine and I was not impressed with anything they had to sell.  Pick one to specialize in, not both!

They did have a sign on the wall that made me feel really old. Kids born in 1990 are turning 21! WTF!? Um, what? Wow I feel old now!

When did 1990 become the legal drinking age? I feel so old!

Even though it was terrifying to think about the power of the gun in my hand, I still felt like such a rock star that day, like I deserved the girlfriend of the year award.  In all fairness, the partner of the year award winner is now up for debate as I don’t know which is better: a gun shooting date vs. surprise weekend trip.

I love that I defy the typical suburban Chicagoan stereotype. I love that people are surprised when I tell them I wanted to do this with him not only to make his day but because I thought it would be fun too. I love that I can do fun awesome non-girlie stuff like this with my best friend.

Part of being in a relationship is being there to support your partner and that includes doing what you can to make them happy and help make their dreams come true.  It means the world to me that I was able make that happen for him.

The mystery date that turned out to be a surprise weekend getaway

I’m a firm believer that it is important to keep the romance going by continuing to date your partner, no matter how long you’ve been together.  So about the time that I took  Mr. Fiancé on our wine date – he told me that he too, had a date planned for me on Dec 12 but refused to tell me anything more.  Weeks went by and he refused to give me any clues. Finally, he gave me my first clue.

Clue #1: I needed to take Monday off of work.   I asked if he could change it to Friday instead of a Monday, (Mondays are busy at work) and he said he would look into it.  Turns out, he had no intention of changing the days.

Clue #2: I pushed for more clues and asked, “Is it in Illinois?”  He gave a smirky guilty smile which meant it likely was not in Illinois. He didn’t ask me to take Friday off, so I gathered it was either an adventurous day activity (Living Social deal perhaps?) that could only be booked on that specific day OR it was an overnight stay somewhere. Otherwise why did we have to go on a monday?  I share my car with my sister, so I reminded him that if we needed the car, he had to let me sister know.

Clue # 3: On the Thursday before we were to leave, my sister asked me if I needed the car that Saturday. I thought, Aha! We don’t need the car! As innocent as she was, she had no idea that she just gave me another clue.  Had he told her we were taking the car, she would have already known and not asked. I told him about my newest discovery and found out my next clue.

Clue #4: We need to leave at 5am Saturday morning. My deductive reasoning skills told me that leaving early + no car needed + taking Monday off, meant we were flying somewhere. But where!?

The night before we were to leave, I insisted on more clues so I knew what to pack. Pack for warm weather? A cruise? Arizona?  Florida? Cool weather? Colorado? Yellowstone National Park? Michigan? You can’t expect a girl to go away for a weekend and not need to know what to pack. If you do, be prepared for the whole closet to be packed.

Clue #5: The weather is in the 40’s-50’s. Okay, so a cruise and warm weather places are out.

Clue #6: We were flying somewhere and then renting a car to get to our final destination.  He wanted to wait until we were at the airport or on the plane, if possible, to tell me where we were going, but me being the ruiner that I am, destroyed that. I started guessing. My first guess was Yellowstone – you have to fly and then drive to get there. Wrong. But I did get it on my second try! I don’t know how I got it because I honestly had zero idea what he was up to.

Mystery Weekend Getaway Location:  Nashville & Memphis!!   

WOOHOO! I was so excited! Can you believe it? Seriously? Who does that? Who plans a surprise weekend getaway? BEST.DATE.EVER.  What an amazing surprise!

I took an American History: Cold War & Elvis course in college where I rediscovered Elvis and have talked about going to Graceland ever since. Having taken music classes and being a country music fan, I also wanted to visit the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

Our Weekend Getaway:

Last time we took a cab in the wee hours of the morning, we had a near death experience, so I decided the night before to ask @Chicagocabbie if he would pick us up. People of Chicago – follow him on Twitter. He is reliable, clean, friendly and prompt. I highly recommend reaching out to him for your airport or local cabbie needs.

Anyways, Southwest had a deal so cheap it felt like we were stealing.  They don’t fly into Memphis so we had to fly into Nashville and drive. Have you ever been to the Nashville airport?  It goes down in my book as one of the nicest airports I have ever been to. Super comfortable welcome waiting area and very clean. Not to mention, it is smart and practical for airports to have bathroom stalls big enough to fit your luggage inside with you.  Just saying.

As this was a surprise trip, I wasn’t able to do any pre-vacation research like I usually do, therefore it was a very spontaneous trip.  While he got our rental car squared away, I went to the information booth to get Nashville tourist pamphlets.

First stop: We drove about an hour and a half out to Lynchburg, Tennessee to tour the Jack Daniel’s Distillery.   Mr. Fiancé really wanted to stop here and since he planned this weekend, how could I say no? Plus I like whiskey. I thought we’d get to taste some like you do at wineries so I was a bit nervous, but you turns out you don’t get any samples. Did you know that Jack is made in this one location only and distributed worldwide?  Did you know that it is the wettest-dry city possible? The city is dry but the distillery is still allowed to produce whiskey.  Did you know that for $10K you can buy your own barrel that fills about 200 bottles of the rarest single barrel whiskey they make and get a plaque on the wall? Crazy, right? Maybe someday… It was an interesting tour, definitely a lot more land than I expected.  You get quite a different vibe when you go to a whiskey distillery compared to a winery.

A bronze statue of Jack Daniels stand on this rock out of view of the photo. Get it? Jack on the Rocks.
Xmas Tree made of Whiskey barrels. Epic.

I wanted to see Nashville, but since we had to return for our flight on Monday anyways, I figured it would be easiest if we came back early Monday to tour it then.  We drove four hours to Memphis from the distillery. And in the process we saw the back roads of nowhereland, more cows than I could dream of, probably what used to be plantations, and countless confederate flags.  We were so far into nowhereland at one point, if my phone’s GPS was a real person, she would have thrown her arms up and said “F it, even I don’t know where you are.” She had us going in circles for a bit.

Ever since I found out we were going to Memphis, I couldn’t get Marc Cohn’s song, “Walking in Memphis” out of my head. Walking in Memphis -I was walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale… I saw the ghost of Elvis on Union Avenue – Followed him up to the gates of Graceland -Then I watched him walk right through…”

If you visit Memphis – you must stay at The Westin Hotel. When I say the location was perfect, it still doesn’t seem to do it justice. It was two blocks from Beale Street, across from The Gibson Guitar Museum, across from the FedEx Forum (where Bob Seger was performing), across the street from the free Graceland shuttle pickup spot and just minutes away from Sun Studio. Can you ask for a better location? I think not.

Our first stop was BBQ for dinner. We went to Rendezvous and I must say, I was disappointed. I’m not a huge dry rub ribs fan, but even with BBQ sauce, it just wasn’t very good. You shouldn’t have to hide the meat behind layers of seasoning. After dinner we walked down Beale Street and stopped in B.B.Kings Blues Club for some live music.  We were exhausted but stayed as long as we could because listening to some quality blues with a drink in hand, is simply the best. We saw horse-drawn carriages with dogs riding along. I was so sad my pictures didn’t turn out of that. Even if you aren’t a dog lover like me, you would still think it was the cutest!

On Sunday, we took the first shuttle to Graceland and I could hardly contain myself.  My family had gone when I was about 8 years old, but I couldn’t wait to go back as an adult after my Elvis class.  The house was pretty much as I remembered, especially the Jungle Room. He had really horrible tacky taste but man did he have a lot of property. I would hate to be the little house on the lot next door.  We got to go inside his personal airplane & jet and see all the cars he collected, including the famous pink Cadillac.  We took a tour of the famous Sun Studio which is argued to be the birthplace of Rock & Roll.  We took pictures in the same spot that blues legends stood years before us.  The Million Dollar Quartet of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded their impromptu jam session here.

Rockin' Out at Graceland
Standing on the X with the mic that Elvis used to record his first single.
Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and more all recorded in this room.

Mr. Fiancé still wanted to get his fix of good southern BBQ since the first one was under par. After all he is from Texas, so he has specific BBQ expectations.  We debated between either Corky’s or Central BBQ but eventually settled on Central BBQ. Apparently we chose the right one because we ate lunch at the table next to Holly Madison.  (I wonder how many of you are still reading. If so, thanks & I bet that caught your attention!!) I had seen a billboard that said she was performing that weekend but didn’t think anything of it.  She just played on her phone while she ate and barely talked to friends at the table. Maybe reading email? news? hungover? But Holly was very friendly when she was asked to pose for a picture with the restaurant staff.  She looks EXACTLY like how she looks on TV, maybe a little shorter but it was hard to tell with her ginormous heals on. I made  Mr. Fiancé slyly take this photo because he had better angle. I was impressed that everyone (but the restaurant) left her alone while she ate.

Holly Madison at Central BBQ

Driving trips with  Mr. Fiancé never seem to feel as long as the amount of hours that passed. We got to Nashville and went straight to the Gaylord Opry Hotel.  This place is ridiculous. Driving up, we felt like we had arrived at Disney Land or Six Flags. The hotel was massive. There was a river boat tour and performance stage INSIDE the hotel.   The sheer size and high ceilings made me feel like I was on a cruise except for the part about the luscious green trees, flowers and waterfalls everywhere.  We tried to tour the Grand Ole Opry but the stupid Rockettes were performing and there are no tours until February.  We only got to see the gift shop and outside.

I still can’t believe that  Mr. Fiancé took me on a surprise vacation.  He really is the best and I’m the luckiest.  I tease him that this wasn’t a date because it was a weekend, but I only kid. I just say that because I can’t top it. EVER. I do like being spontaneous but I am a planner at heart who always likes to have an idea of what we will do and how we can do it in the most logical way to save time. However, this trip was out of my control (until we got there) and we had an amazing time. Sometimes you have to sit back, enjoy the moment and go with the flow. And remember to love the ones who treat you well; they are a rare breed, and I’m so lucky to call Mr. Fiancé mine.