If there’s one thing you take away from reading this publication, we hope it is this: being yourself is more than enough. It is also hard as crap sometimes, to be true to who you are. But we believe the only way to be the best version of you is to be the best version of the real you. In our movie version of yourself essay, we talk about how we wish we were in our heads. Let us be clear on that: there’s a difference between wishing you could improve certain aspects of your life to achieve your full potential, and wishing you could be someone totally different. And that’s why we named our magazine BE.
Well, that’s the big reason. A major bonus perk of that idea is that BE. just so happens to be the initials of the co-founders. Isn’t it great when things work on multiple levels? We are Bridget and Emily, two sisters originally from Maryland, co-founders of BE. and partners in crime, even from 300 miles apart.
Last month, Emily interviewed me (Bridget) to help readers get to know me and why I wanted to launch this publication. This month, Emily’s in the hot seat and learning that, as difficult as it is to write a profile on someone you’ve known almost your whole life, it’s even more difficult being interviewed by that person!
I don’t want to give too much away, as it’s better to hear about a person from the source, but let me give you a brief introduction to Emily. She’s currently a nurse living in a suburban town near Annapolis, MD, after three years living and working in Washington DC. She lives with her husband and their dog, Boyd, who they rescued from the pound and are totally in love with, even though Emily was completely resistant to having a dog before having a child. They also took in two other strays this year— our brother and his dog, who moved into the basement in October. It takes a special person to invite their 25-year-old brother to live with them, but Em is all about family, one of her best traits. That, plus she gives the best birthday gifts, is secretly hilarious, and will totally have your back, whether you’re jumping out of a plane, walking down the aisle or starting an online magazine.
You did! Saying no to you is scary! No, I remember you texted and said you wanted to start an online publication for modern women. And I just thought: yes. I wanted to be a part of that, however small. I was tired of mainstream cover models. The models and actresses and reality tv stars that society says we should look up to, but who can’t seem to get their real lives together. And I was tired of being faced with boobs and butts on the covers of “health” magazines that are not attainable for so many real-life women. I loved the idea of putting real women on a pedestal, saying here’s someone who has worked hard, and may not be worth millions, but is someone you can trust and respect and aspire to be like.
Where would you like to see BE. go?
Well, I always wanted to be on Oprah! Like do something worthy of being interviewed by her. She’s not really our modern society standard anymore, but I’d love to see BE. take off to the point that becomes a recognizable name. But whether we grow or not, what I really hope for and what I’d love for it to become is a resource for women. A place they can go to just get a few minutes of healthy, intellectual content, or read about a woman like them or their sister or friend.
That would be awesome, and I’d love for that to happen too! But in the meantime, tell us a little bit about your day job. How did you decide to become a nurse and how did you get where you are?
Nursing sort of just fell into my lap. Honestly, I never even considered it as a career possibility until my freshman year of college. I was taking econ classes as an undecided, but leaning towards business, major and I just realized I couldn’t do that for four years. Growing up I wanted to be a teacher, but the reality of what that entails didn’t appeal to me as an adult. The other job I always wanted was to own a flower shop, but really you can’t just graduate and open a shop with no capital. There were a lot of nursing majors on my dorm floor and I started talking to them, did a little research, and switched into the program second semester. It was all very quick and unlike me. Although, thinking about it, most of the big decisions in my life have been relatively quick or spur-of-the-moment. I’ll take hours to decide what my favorite food is or what I want to do for the evening, but I was talking marriage a month after meeting my husband, applied for, visited and accepted my college all with in two months, and decided to become a nurse three weeks after thinking about it for the first time. All of those decisions have been some of the best ones I’ve made so far. I graduated, got a job in a NICU, and I’ve been working with those little peanuts ever since.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love working with premature babies. There’s a rather large percentage of babies born premature in this country and even with all our modern knowledge we haven’t really pinpointed why. We get a lot of full term and older babies at the hospital too, but there’s something about the little ones. I’ve literally held a baby that weighed less than a pound! But they still have ten fingers and ten toes. Their little hearts beat. They look a little more like an alien than a baby at times but it’s pretty amazing watching them grow. Then they hit four pounds and I’m like “oh my gosh you’re huge.”
Ok, now I’m going to ask the toughest questions you asked me. What’s your greatest accomplishment?
Hmmm…this is tough! I just turned 30 and had to take a really hard look at my life. My retirement planning wasn’t where I thought it would be. I was still at the same job I started when I was 21 and back living in the same state I grew up in. A lot of things weren’t how I envisioned 30 would be for me. But you know, I’m married to my soulmate, we own a house (which, although it’s always messier than I’d like, I have taken pride in making not just a house, but a home), we’re talking about thinking about starting a family (shhh…don’t tell the mothers) and, while I’m still living in the same state, I’ve traveled to many different states and countries and collected a lot of really cool stories and experiences along the way. So I think my greatest accomplishment is living a successfully “normal” life. I’ve checked the boxes I was “supposed” to check–went to college, lived alone, got married, bought a house–but managed to have some once-in-a-lifetime experiences along the way. And I’m happy living that “normal” life. As long as I can continue to occasionally jump on a plane (or out of one) to experience something new.
Speaking of jumping on a plane, what’s your dream trip?
Ever since I was a little girl my dream trip was to go to Australia. I remember Grandma traveled there (she was an avid traveler, back in the day) and I just thought it sounded so cool. I made it to Australia in 2009 and I have to say I’ve been hard pressed finding a locale to replace it as my “dream vacation.” There are tons of places that I want to go, but honestly I wouldn’t really say any of them are at my top spot. I do have a life-long goal, however, of traveling to all 50 states. I’m about halfway there and I’ve really been working on knocking some off the list in the last few years. So I think, even though it’s many trips, finishing them off is probably my top travel goal right now.
I definitely agree—that’s one of my goals too! But when you aren’t traveling, how do you like to spend your Saturday nights?
One of two ways, depending on my mood. Either having what we call a “lazy night” snuggled up on the couch with snacks and a movie, or out for dinner and drinks with the hubby or friends. More accurately, out for dinner and an activity–bowling, mini-golf, game night, it doesn’t matter, but nothing puts me to sleep faster than just sitting in a bar. But group activities I love! Even if it’s just shuffle board or pool in said bar.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Romance novels and chick flicks. Not like the incredibly raunchy stuff, but the feel good, girl meets guy, guy falls in love with girl and they live happily ever after stuff. My husband loves war movies and I just don’t get it. When I want to zone out with a book or movie, I want it light-hearted and feel good. And I really don’t care that the ending is predictable as long as it’s happy. Oh, and HGTV. I love getting decorating ideas and looking at houses. One day I really want to buy a fixer-upper and completely remodel.
I think you’d be really good at that! You’ve gotten really handy and crafty since you guys bought your place. As demonstrated in the article you wrote From House to Home. But, actually, I want to talk about another piece you wrote for this issue, the movie version of yourself essay. I won’t get into too much detail now so that people read it for themselves, but describe the movie version of yourself.
It’s funny thinking about the “movie version” of myself, because really my thought is who would watch, let alone make, a movie about me? I’m pretty extraordinarily ordinary. I’m always saying I’m something “in my head.” Like, “In my head…I’m a great cook!” Or “In my head…I have an amazing singing voice and zero stage fright.” My husband likes to tease me by saying it must be pretty amazing…in my head. Only recently have I started thinking about this as a “movie version” or best version of myself. First off, in my movie I’d be a successful entrepreneur. I’ve always wanted to own my own business or work as a freelancer. I’m by far my favorite boss! So that’s the goal for one day! In the short term, maybe movie part 1, I would say I’d be a little less of a procrastinator (something I’m always working on), a little less messy and more put together around the house and I’d cook more frequently. Also, if the whole world is going to see my movie anyway I’d have to get over my fear of putting myself out there! I’d be the more outgoing person I am in my head rather than the wallflower I tend to display.
What genre would the movie be?
Geez, I don’t know. I think it would have to be a little bit of everything. Romance, comedy, adventure…I mean, I wouldn’t be going around shooting things up or anything, but I like to think I have some adventure in my life. And humor. You really have to get to know me before I’m my true self around you, but I’m really a pretty silly and funny person at heart.
This is a tough question for people who read as much as us, but what’s your favorite book?
Romance novels, remember? Haha. Actually, my favorite book is The Twelfth Angel by Og Mandino. He’s a self-help/inspirational writer and, thinking about it, the book really is kinda cheesy. But it’s about a down on his luck middle aged man who is coerced into coaching little league, and meets Timothy, whose dream in life is to play baseball and who is so not good at it. He teaches some of those cheesy life lessons and he tugs at your heart strings. It’s rare for a book or movie to make me cry and and unheard of for one to get me twice, but I’ve read this book five or six times and cried during every single one.
I remember you reading that back in the day. Looking back, what was the highlight of 2014 for you and what are you looking forward to most in 2015?
Looking back, 2014 was kind of a weird year. There weren’t any real lows, but there weren’t any crazy personal highs either. 2009-2013 were big years. In ‘09 I met my husband. In ‘10 we got engaged and ‘11 we got married. In 2012 I bought my dream car. And in 2013 we bought a house. In 2014 we got a dog, in January. And that was about it. I did manage to fit a few trips in so those were probably the personal highlights. I returned to Nashville, which I’ve decided is one of my favorite cities, finally made it to Boston, which I’ve decided either I didn’t get the true experience, or I just don’t get the hype, checked New Hampshire off my list and had a few casual lake and beach weekends with friends. But really 2014 was a highlight year in that there no big personal changes, and I think I needed that.
In 2015, I’m really looking forward to finishing projects. We’ve been in our house going on two years and there are still rooms to be painted and organized. I finally painted our master bedroom, but then never put anything up on the walls. Plus there are countless other projects that come with owning a home. I got an awesome camera from my husband for my thirtieth so I’m really excited to start working on improving my photography skills. I love taking pictures and really want to get better at it! We are planning a bunch of trips this year that I’m really excited about. There will definitely be some new states and countries. I’m really excited to just have a year of working on me and us and checking some things off the bucket list. And of course, launching BE. was a big part of that. I’m really looking forward to watching it grow (fingers crossed).
How are you doing on your new resolutions?
So far, pretty good! I’m working night shifts this month which means I’m at work from 7pm-7am and then sleeping during the day, so my days and nights are pretty mixed up. I’m having a bit of trouble remembering what day it is! So I’ve maybe missed a day or two so far, but I’ve also flossed after work and then again before work and then realized it was actually the same day so some days have been twofers! I definitely (intentionally) made January an easy goal, but I’ve also been looking ahead to some of my other resolutions I set for down the line and unofficially been starting to work on them, or at least planning for how I’ll make time for them.