Tag Archives: choices

How I Ended Up On a Reality TV Show

The Big Choice Makes A Comeback In My Life A Decade Later.

So, I’ve always been a truth seeker. Sometimes even too much. I might even call myself an over-sharer. In an effort to connect with other people I tend to dig deep while sharing and talking. Usually, it’s a good experience and an interesting conversation. However, my stint on the reality tv show was not something positive or something I wanted to share with anyone.

Joe MillionaireBrandy Sullivan-Joe Millionair

Posing in front of the castle outside of Paris. It was 2002 and I was 27 years old.

Back story: I was on a furlough from being a flight attendant post 9/11. I was living in LA, teaching spin classes and waiting tables at Big World Restaurant on Main Street in Santa Monica.  I lived in a cute, little bungalow in Santa Monica right by the promenade with girlfriends. Life was oh so simple. One night I waited on the producers of a dating reality tv show. We instantly connected and got along really well. They convinced to come to an interview for an upcoming reality tv show.  At that time, reality tv was The Real World on MTV and the Bachelor had just started to take off. I hadn’t watched the bachelor so had no idea what I was getting into. I also had zero interest in watching other people date on tv. It seemed boring and the little bit I did hear about the girls seemed caddy and pretentious. Two of my least favorite characteristics.

Back to how I got roped into auditioning for a dating reality tv show when I was 27.

The producers asked me 3 basic questions:

1. Do you like to travel? Yeah! I love it! After being a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines for 3 years prior, I was no stranger to the joy of travel.

2. Are you single? Yeah, super single and on a 6 month no date dry spell to be specific.

3. Would you like to go on an all expense paid trip for a month or longer? Twist my arm-yes please!

I immediately pictured myself on a beach in Taihiti working on my even tan and snorkeling everyday. Or maybe sipping americanos in a cute cafe in Europe reading my Eckhart Tolle Book, A New Earth.  My mind was exploding with awesome travel fantasies.

Needless to say, none of them happened. Yes, I stayed for a week in the castle with 12 other actresses. There was a lot of sitting around waiting and more waiting at all hours of the night. Yes, we left our microphones on in the bathroom, while running outside and any other time. Yes, we woke up to large tv cameras in our face. Startling to say the least.

The producers would set us up to not get along everyday. It was being a kids and playing duck, duck goose and the snowball all at the same time. One day they brought in evening gowns all different sizes and styles. Then they let us loose in the room with the dresses to find a dress to wear. You had to choose a dress but there was one of each kind and no repeat sizes. AWKWARD. Yes, this is how it felt the whole time.

What I remember the most from being on that show is feeling trapped in a divey Best Western hotel in Paris. With no access to the outside world and a bodyguard outside the hotel so you couldn’t step outside for 3 weeks. There were 8 of us girls that got the boot after the second cut. After being driven away in the middle of the night and dumped at the ghetto Best Western, we had to go everywhere in a group to make sure no one “talked” about the show. Secrecy is a big clause for reality tv. No workouts, limited fresh air, McDonalds everyday and no contact with friends and family or the news. It gives me goose bumps to even write about it. It was SO UNCOMFORTABLE! I remember running the stairs in the 6 story hotel and doing a ton of push ups and sit ups in my room to stay sane. There were a couple of “handlers,” an onsite psychologist and a bodyguard who made sure we NEVER went outside. The bodyguard was like a rent a cop but bigger and super creepy.

Back Story cont. While waiting on the tv producers, I told them that dating one guy with lots of other girls wasn’t my style. I was more traditional than that, one guy and one girl is more my style. Perfect, they said we need someone traditional. I said I’m from Oregon. Even better, they said! They continued to talk about the travel and how perfect I’d be. At the very least come to the first interview and then see how it goes. I talked myself into the interview because I figured I could decide later if I even made it. Well, the interviews went well over a couple of days. Then we had 3 days to get ready and show up at the airport with our passport. Turns out, there would be 20 girls and one guy in Paris. 15 were aspiring actresses and models, only 5 of us including me were “real people.”

Spoiler Alert: Being on the show was very uncomfortable and so invasive. It wasn’t anything how I pictured and a lot worse. After the month abroad in the Best Western, I returned home and felt really bad. The trip wasn’t anything like the producers that I met explained to me. They had really cool people do the auditions and casting so you think it will be okay. But, the cool, casting people don’t go on the trip, they just rope you into the deal. By the way, the show was supposed to be called “THE BIG CHOICE” not Joe Millionaire.

When I got home I felt shame and so much embarrassment from being on the show. The pilot commercial aired during the superbowl which is where everyone heard the “new name” and the theme of the show. Oh my god, that was not what I signed up for…

The way that reality tv show worked back then was the opposite of reality and a high drama story that the producers created. Turned out that Evan Marriott (the average Joe) was as dumb as nails, with icky long, greasy hair and had a girlfriend waiting for him back in Santa Monica…

Funny how life works. It’s rarely what you expected, sometimes it’s better and often times it’s NOT AT ALL WHAT IT SEEMED.

That my friends is how I ended up on the Joe Millionaire reality tv show. It’s taken fifteen years to talk about it without the shame face. Like Brene Brown says, shame can’t exist with truth, light and vulnerability.

The funny part is most people thought it was really cool and were surprised I didn’t want to talk about it. Back then, I usually said it was really weird and not what I signed for. You never know what’s going on behind the scenes on tv and in life. So f*ck the secrecy, silence and judgement. At least I did it and won’t ever wonder what it would’ve been like. No wondering here. Not at all. Haha!

 

Big Family, Small Herd

Days are long. Years are short. Days are long. Years are short. IMG_3974.jpgKai, getting it at the playground!IMG_0494Pre bedtime snuggle with my girl band! 

Our days are bat shit crazy busy with kids stuff so I keep our afternoons/evenings very low key with a hard emphasis on the bedtime routine. Yes, Blaize and Pepper are 5 years old but they need their sleep. And so do I!

They are not the kind of kids that can stay up til 10pm and be “cool” the next day. I still plan my life around playing and chasing the fun with my kids during the day while honoring our “family sleep schedule.”

More music, more singing, more adventures and sleep, lots of beautiful sleep.

Happy sleeping my friends!

Maui I Love You

I love my layovers, especially my Maui layovers. I was so lucky this past weekend with this little guy. He came right up to me, popped his head out of the water and it was love at first sight. IMG_4167ChillingIMG_4162Friendly, little guy saying hiIMG_4163Hard eye contact. Haha!IMG_E4176And, he’s off.

Wow this was the best turtle encounter I’ve ever had in Maui. 

Maui, I love you!

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

IMG_4236Post Red Eye Flight

I rallied to celebrate the luck of the Irish. Sheppards pie-check, guinness-check, my favorite Irish bar-check and a second location to a fancy place in the VIP section with my high tops and white v-neck-OY! check, check. Ended the night with a burger and fries right before bed. It was a good, long day.  IMG_4238Thanks for the cozy hoodie Squires!

Identical Twins Are So Special

Being a mom to Blaize and Pepper (identical twins) is so special AND keeps me on my toes every. single. day.

When you are 25 or 45 years old and tell me, ohhhh I always wanted twinssss. I don’t know what to say to you and ususally say nothing. I would like to send you to this blog post so you can get a taste of the real situation with identical twins.

No, they are very different in personality.

Yes, they are extremely competitive with one another.

No, they STILL don’t like to share me or my attention with each other.

Yes, I can tell them apart every time. From their normal voices to their whiney voices.

No, I didn’t know raising identical twins and a 7 year old would be so awesome! 🙂

Yes, I wanted to be a mom my whole life with 4 kids in tow.  But I always thought one baby at a time would be how it would happen.

No, I’m not supermom. I’m just a mom who loves my three little people as much as you love your singleton.

Yes, my momo pregnancy rocked me with weekly Dr. appts to listen for heartbeats starting at 12 weeks pregnant. Complete with an emergency trip to San Francisco for fetal heart surgery and a long ass, scary hospital stay followed by 32 days in the Nicu.

No, I don’t have stretch marks even though I gained 52 pounds.

Yes, I’m lucky. 🙂

No, I didn’t like tandem breastfeeding and neither did they.

Yes, breastfeeding 3 and 4 pound premature twins with nipple shields at the hospital in the Nicu is the opposite of fun.

No, I didn’t sleep long enough to enter REM-too busy pumping 12 times a day for way too long.

Yes, I was “sleep deprived

No, I didn’t want to give them formula.

Yes, I gave them breastmilk AND formula.

No, I didn’t like giving formula but was breastfeeding around the clock because tandem breastfeeding wasn’t cool for any of us.

Yes, my sweetest girlfriend snapped me out of the “exclusively breastfeeding obsession” (that many women sign up for) by saying “Bran, you’re not getting a medal for exclusively breastfeeding twins.” Let. it. go. I supplemented with formula proudly after that talk with her in her L.A. closet. Haha!

Yes, I would do it again in a second. Yes, having all three of my kids are the best thing I’ve ever done. Yes my mandatory c-sections weren’t that bad after all, even though I wanted a natural birth with no drugs. C-sections are pretty okay of you ask me. Shrug. Giggle IMG_9574Do you see the ear grab?! There was an eye gouge photo after this one. Sharing mom is soooo hard. Especially for identical twins. #justsayin

 

It’s Official, I Love To Eat

This is so true. Always has been. Except, I prefer having someone cook for me. Maybe, it’s cooking for one that makes me want to eat out or maybe it’s being a mom? Dunno? Either way, I’ve never enjoyed someone cooking for me more than I do right now. I mean, if we’re talking about the crazy hot matrix, then someone who can cook would raise their number by at least 1.5 points in my book. Just sayin.

IMG_0676_2Soaking up Portland sunshine with my girls. On our way to PIZZA. 

 

If you haven’t seen the crazy, hot matrix-you must watch it! I love it! If you laugh and love it, then we can be friends. If it makes you angry or defensive then I don’t want to know you.

Maybe, I appreciate food more than ever because I am constantly in the kitchen at home “feeding, cleaning up and then feeding again.” Taking care of my little people is a full time job that I love but boy it’s a lot of “wet hands” in the kitchen.

I started getting lean cuisines because sometimes a hot meal with zero clean up is really nice. Actually, it’s frickin awesome! And it’s even cooler on the airplane. When I pack my lean cuisines and cook them in the galley it’s pretty rad. It smells so good. And it’s all about perspective. My spaghetti lean cuisine was the envy of all the flight attendants and a couple of first class passengers. Something vulnerable and real about being hungry on an airplane. Basically, you have nothing to eat, there’s nothing to buy AND we’re 38,000 feet in the sky.

Maybe I’ll bring back my love for oranges on an airplane. Before I had kids, I used to eat an orange on the airplane and loved it. Then I had kids and was busy pumping breastmilk for years on the plane.

Well my airplane pumping days are long gone (thank God!) so bring out the oranges!

Why I’m A Single Mom With Three Little Kids

The below document is the reason I’m divorced with three little kids in tow. It was given to me by my husband at the time 4 years ago. I was breastfeeding 1 year old twin girls while carrying a 3 year old little boy around. I took the document very seriously and honored the 24 hour deadline that he gave me as I chose choice number 2.

The question I ask is why the 3rd choice wasn’t listed? The 3rd choice is my current  reality called heavy litigation for 4 years. ..With a document this detailed and thorough, one would think that all “3 choices” would have been listed. 

Yes, we all have our health which is always a blessing. However, 4 years of litigation is the opposite of healthy living if you ask me.

Court hearings, motions and judgements are public record but my only response is no comment. Without sharing any details, for privacy reasons I ask for your prayers for a speedy and amicable resolution.

*I have permission from the author and thank you notes for sharing Brandy’s Choice on my blog and the internet*

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Hot Yoga Is Too Hot For Me

Lately, I’ve been hitting the hot yoga a lot and it’s been good to me. People love to tell me that hot yoga is “too hot for them.” I listen empathetically and nod to all their really good excuses why they don’t do hot yoga or any physical activity for that matter. And why they don’t look like they did 20 years ago…

Dudes, I get you! I really do. Hot yoga is TOO HOT for me-Yo! And I don’t have the time or energy to do hot yoga on most days. Nor do I “want to.” But, my mind drags my body or my body drags my mind and after it’s over it’s glorious. 

I know that if I don’t kick my ass (in a workout) life will do it. And when life does it, it sucks. It’s not cute. But, if I get after it and get my yoga/workout in first, it’s easier to manage the life bullsh*t that inevitably comes and goes. IMG_3631Final Resting Pose where I soak up all the goodies from class.

The next time someone in life or on the airplane rattles off all the great reasons why they can’t get in shape or go to yoga-I will listen empathetically. Then I will say, hot yoga is TOO HOT for me as well! But I do it anyway. Because I know it’s good for me. It makes my mind focus and come to the present moment (like any high intensity workout) which is part of the life secret. Focusing and being in the present moment. Not the future, not the past. It’s easy to say and write about especially when life is spinning. So, like a good student I will hit a hot yoga class today. Not because I like stretching in extreme heat or sweating profusely where my fingers prune up. And not because I like the smell that happens when a bunch of people are pushed to their physical limits in a closed, hot room. It’s because I want that happy song and clear mind that happens after every hot yoga class.IMG_3590Enjoying my post hot yoga sparkle

Get your hot yoga on and tell me about how frickin hot it was…And you did it anyway 🙂

 

 

 

 

Aloha Friday

Seeking more adventures, life balance and lots of laughs next year! Only 16 days left in 2017 and I couldn’t be more excited. 2017 rocked my world in so many ways. I’m ready to say farewell, goodbye and hello to the new year. IMG_4528Doing a 360 degree spin jump this summer

As I reflect on the past year, I shake my head. It’s like the saying goes, 2 steps forward and one step back. Or 2 steps forward and 4 steps back in my world. One big change for me is that I’m focusing on what I want, instead of what I don’t want. I used to reiterate what I don’t want because I thought that list was easier to swallow. When the noise rises, so does my self care. A friend was surprised that I did anything other than yoga. Wait, what, you go to the gym too?! Haha! Yeah, you could say that. Running, spinning and gym time is way easier for me than the yoga. However, the yoga is my best effort toward self love and self care. It’s what I need but not usually what I want. #justsayin

I’m ramping up the self care and gettin’ after the good stuff. Focusing on the fun, the travel and the mom life (the best life) this next trip around the sun.

So, I dragged my tired, puffy self to burncycle this morning. I haven’t been for over 10months and it left a mark. I will be walking funny for days… But, I’m looking for a new outcome 2018 so gotta put my money where my mouth is. There is no butt kicking quite like a cycle class. And, I LOVED it!IMG_2206Here’s to an awesome last couple of weeks of 2017 and a bigger and better 2018!

Let the good times roll, my friends.

Tinder Tales From A Single Mom-Part 2

So, my second experience with tinder was with someone that I had known for a long time. Back in the day when I was known as crazyspingirl and was single, he would come to my spin classes. He was married so it was always a very platonic, easy going friendship without any funny business. I was 30 years old, taught a ton of spin classes all over Portland and squeezed in match.com dates like a super hero. I figured online dating was a numbers game, only 30 yrs old and had a lot of stamina for the dating game. I used to say that I didn’t expect to meet my boyfriend on match.com but maybe make a friend. Then end up having a connection with one of his friends at a barbecue. Seemed to make perfect sense back then but sounds kinda naive now that I write it down?! #realtalkIMG_0955Me dating in my 30’s-focused and dedicated to the process of landing on that teeny, tiny little floatie.IMG_0954.JPGGood visual of me online dating in my 30’s. SO MANY DATES so I’d squeeze em in.

My divorce became final after a very long process. I won’t get into the details because it’s private. But, I didn’t have my kiddos for Christmas that first year in 2014 and was scared to be without them. I was elated when I reconnected with my “old spin friend.” He was also divorced and didn’t have his kids for Christmas that year either. At the time, I didn’t realize this but now I understand this is HUGE. Opposite parenting schedules can kill the dating deal right out of the gate. So similar parenting schedules can be a huge bonus.IMG_0907My current attitude about dating. My face says it all, if you get my drift. Haha! 

Anyway, we decided to see a movie and catch up. We went to the movie alright, but I don’t remember seeing it. Yep, it was one of those movie situations. Where you’re in the movie theatre and it seems like you’re alone and you give zero f*cks like you were 16 years old.

Which reminds me of how judgemental I was in my 20’s and 30’s. I remember seeing “moms” getting after it on layovers and thinking how sad they were. Wow, they’re MOMS and they’re getting wild and crazy! What’s wrong with them?! I also thought (and still do) those mini van driving moms are scary drivers. And then I had kids…Even though I don’t get wild on my layovers OR drive a mini van I can relate to those moms on so many levels. Being a mom is like nothing else. You’re scrutinized by your little kids 24/7 and judged in public all the time especially by people who don’t have kids. Now, I understand  there’s a lot going on inside a mom’s car. Little kids are needy people-yo! Sometimes, they’re happy and sometimes they’re wildly upset. Those mini van driving mom are trying to drive while simultaneously handing out snacks and keeping the peace. Being a mom is so amazing but not without it’s daily challenges. So, those moms that “let go” a little on their layovers- I get you girl! And I don’t judge you one bit! 🙂

 

Back to that tinder number 2 story. The make out movie date was my wild mom moment. And boy did I pay for it for days later… First, I have sensitive skin and hadn’t kissed anyone in awhile. So, my face was pretty red and raw after the movie. I figured it was just a random thing that would fade. Oh no, my face lost about 7 layers of skin the next day. It was so sore and looked like I had been in a skateboarding accident and landed on my face. It looked horrible and felt even worse. It was so far gone that make up didn’t even help.

We dated for about 2 months and had fun but his 5’oclock shadow was even rough and never went away. My face sort of got used to it but not really. And I was always afraid of kissing too long for fear that another “skateboarding accident face” would develop.

It reminds me of the prize down below, you never know what you’re going to get. I mean it is a TOTAL MYSTERY until it’s not. Haha! It doesn’t matter how tall you are or how big your hands and feet are, none of it matters. #justsayin

My point it, sometimes the facial hair is rough or strangely soft but you never know until you test drive it during a movie.

Happy dating my friends, may the people be honest, and the laughs be frequent.