After introducing Casper last week, I realized that it would be fun to officially introduce the other member of this road trip team--Grace! From the minute I first talked to Grace, I knew that she was completely different from anyone I had ever met, and now after knowing her for more than four years, there are still things about her talents, interests, and story that surprise me every day.
When I told Grace that I was going to write a post all about her, the first thing she asked is: "How will you explain what I even do?" Great question. Grace's passions and career are multifaceted to say the least, so it's impossible to sum up her job/profession in one word or descriptor. During the beginning of our relationship, Grace worked as a production assistant on a few TV shows in LA, and then she spent a year as an executive assistant at a film studio. All the while, she was pursuing stand up comedy at all kinds of clubs and venues throughout LA, but it was very hard to do comedy well with a full-time office job. In August of 2015, she quit her job so that she could give her full attention to comedy and other creative pursuits. She figured it was much better to be a barista or a delivery driver to make ends meet than stay in a job that gave her no free time. She did end up working as a barista from August 2015 until March 2016, when the cafe where she worked went out of business. She took it as a sign to take a leap of faith and try to make 100% of her income from her creative jobs. Over a year later, and she has consistently made it happen. It's cheesy, but I could NOT be more proud.
So what does that look like? I guess if I HAD to sum up what Grace is, I would say she is a comedian/host. Here is a little glimpse of some of Grace's projects and jobs:
She is a host on The Young Turks network, where she appears every day on their Pop Trigger channel discussing entertainment news with her amazing co-hosts (who have become some of our dear friends). She also occasionally hosts the Main Show on the network, reviews television and movies on What the Flick, is a guest on the Think Tank channel, and some others I'm probably forgetting.
She still performs stand-up live in different venues, and recently comedy festivals have been more of her bread and butter. This year, she was a semi-finalist at the San Diego Comedy Festival and a featured performer at the Sno Jam in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
A totally different side of Grace is that she's a musician, and she has several songs that she has recorded professionally under the name Semler (her middle name). She also has a music video here. Recently, she has been back in the studio (which is owned by one of our best friends), and I am very excited for her to be able to share what she's been working on.
But one of the things I am most proud about is the show she and her producer Amir created: Murder with Friends. It's a show about the darker sides of history, historic murders, unsolved mysteries, etc. The format is two (or sometimes more) friends, one of whom being Grace, talking about their favorite real-life ghost stories or gripping cases. While I am NOT so into the macabre side of things, the show is amazing, and it makes my heart swell to see people from around the world tuning into Grace's show and loving it so much.
I can't help bragging but really, Grace's creative projects and pursuits are endless. I can't even wrap my head around all of them. I'm sure I'm forgetting some here. And yes, she definitely is the one who makes us laugh the most on long car rides.
Casper, more than almost anything
Any place with a view
The San Antonio Spurs
Podcasts, especially You Must Remember This
Sleeping and naps
Her eclectic taste in music; lately it has been very Nirvana, Lana Del Rey, Metallica, Selena Gomez, and Al Green-heavy
Sweets, especially rice pudding, marshmallows, and Kit Kat bars
Her friends, many of whom live overseas (more on that aspect of Grace's life below)
Her parents and family (cute story: when Grace would get sick in college, she would ask her roommate Haley to bring photos of Grace's parents to her bedside to help her feel better)
What Grace Brings to Our Road Trip Team: first off, she is the driver. 100%. Though I am capable of driving myself places and have actually had my license longer than Grace, if we are together, she sweetly drives me and Casper so we can relax. (Another way of looking at this: she doesn't trust me--haha! I choose to believe the former.)
Another critical skill: Grace is the griller and the fire-maker. I might put the food together for our meals, but without heat, most of our delicious camp dishes would be impossible. Thankfully, Grace grew up in a family of Eagle Scouts (funny enough, so did I--I just didn't absorb as much knowledge as Grace did) and she can build a great fire in no time flat.
Most important of all, Grace makes the dream work by keeping us all calm, laughing, and not sweating the small stuff. Recently, we were sitting up on a hilltop in Big Bear and I acknowledged that I had been stressing about unnecessary things lately and it was getting in the way of me enjoying our getaways and time together. Grace patiently talked me through it, and now, at my request, she just says "hilltop" when she thinks I'm getting to a point where I can't see the forest for the trees (so to speak, we do spend a lot of time in forests!). She keeps us all on track and it's the greatest gift.
Some Final Fun Facts About Grace:
Grace's parents are American, but she grew up in Belgium and has dual American and Belgian citizenship. She attended an international school in Waterloo, Belgium, and that's why a lot of her friends from growing up live in other countries
The only food I have found that Grace doesn't like is carrots
Grace was the student body president of her high school, and most definitely the class clown
The reason Grace moved to the US was because she got recruited to play basketball in college
She once dressed as a "hip hop pencil" for an elementary school talent show
Grace went through a phase where she wanted to be a puppeteer, and a Kentucky newspaper once published a photo of her holding her favorite puppet
She can truly fall asleep anywhere, and when we were first dating, I had a collection of photos on my phone just of all the random places she would fall asleep
Grace loves RuPaul's Drag Race, and she says that if she ever has a son one day, he will be required to either play in the NBA or be a world famous drag queen
If you know Grace, I'm curious to know whether you think I described her accurately or if you learned anything new :) If you don't already know her, I hope this post gives you an idea of why she is one of my favorite people on earth! Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for lots more soon!