Men Tell All: Meet the Boy Behind the Blog!

With new season of "The Bachelorette" premiering this week, I thought I'd do my own edition of "Men Tell All" and introduce you all to the boy behind the blog around these parts. Ladies (and gentlemen?), meet Mike!

One of my top 5 favorite pictures of him ever, haha

1. Hello! Please introduce yourself.

Hi my name is Mike. I'm a native San Diegan (Dieg-on.. Dieg-in...), but I currently live and work in Naples, Italy.

2. What do you do for a living?

I am a Navy Officer currently working at a Task Force doing operations planning around Europe and Africa.

3. What do you do for fun?

Some of my hobbies include body surfing and stand-up paddle boarding (or really any stereotypical Southern California outdoor activity you can think of). I'm a self-diagnosed fitness junkie stemming from my high school football days and reinforced by working as a personal trainer upon graduation from college. Healthy living and fitness is one of the innumerable areas Alyssa and I share a mutual interest as I'm sure you've seen from some of the amazing meals she has blogged about in the past.

4. If you could travel to any place in the world, where would it be?

I have always been 100% content with just hanging out on the beach every weekend, and never had the travel bug like some of my friends (despite the fact that this weekend I will be setting foot in my 26th country, thanks Navy). If I had to choose a travel goal it would have to be Easter Island. Seeing nature's beauty is great, but I have always been more interested in the incredible feats accomplished by humans. The fact that people just like you and me were able to carve and transport those giant stone memorials across numerous miles using rudimentary technology is inconceivable.

5. What's your favorite color?

Blue, maybe red... I don’t know, they're all good.

6. Favorite animal and/or spirit animal?

My spirit animal is the giant panda. They are the perfect animal for the following reasons (and many more):

- First, they are just... full of love
- Great team players 
- They are firm, but kind parents (and curious children)
- Fiercely fashion forward as you'll see at 0:15 of this video
- And of course, they like to have fun in the sun

And now some mushy stuff...

7. How did you and Alyssa with an A meet? What is your current relationship?

Alyssa and I met through some mutual friends and I am lucky to say that she is has been my girlfriend for over a year and a half. I can admit to you all that I've had a crush on her since the moment I met her (roughly the same way you felt about her blog the first time you saw it), and as we got to know each other in various social settings it became clear that we had a palpable connection. After a few months of becoming friends we started officially dating, but sadly at the most inopportune time. I was slated to move to Naples for an 18 month tour, but neither of us had a doubt in our minds that it was worth the wait to be together. To anyone potentially facing a long distance relationship: we did it, you can too. Despite being separated by 6485 miles, a nine hour time difference, and $1500 flights, we did it. When you're with the person you KNOW you are supposed to be with, it's worth it.

8. What's your favorite date that we've been on/ favorite thing that we've done together?

It would be impossible for me to pinpoint my favorite thing that Alyssa and I have done together, but a few of my favorite experiences we have shared include going to Capri when she visited me in Naples last year, doing yoga on the beachfront cliffs together in San Diego, and checking up on the sea lions in La Jolla (you should see the joy in her face when she's down there). Not to get too mushy, but every day with her is really my favorite.

9. What are you looking forward to most above moving back to San Diego?

After a deployment on a ship to Southeast Asia/the Middle East, a deployment to Afghanistan, and an overseas tour all in the span of four years I am ready to have some stability for a little while. I have learned a lot, grown as a person, and seen/done things that very few people get to experience, but I am really looking forward to being able to order "the usual" and know the name of the guy/girl who makes me my morning coffee.

10. And oh yeah... how many days left until we see each other again?

What it all really comes down to though, is that there are only 22 days until I move HOME.

...How's that for an intro?! You can thank Mike for the plethora of YouTube video links in there, especially all of the panda ones (he should have listed "finding videos on YouTube" as one of this hobbies...). Admittedly, he took this way more seriously than I thought he would, but considering he has a knack for surprising me, I guess I should have expected that.

If you want to know more about Mike, I recommend following him on Instagram: @giant0panda. He is weirdly talented at taking and editing photos (seriously, it's weird). Exhibit A:

Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed getting to know "the boy behind the blog" a bit better! Happy Wednesday :)

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