5 Things to Make Watching Miss America More Fun.

PEOPLE, IT'S HERE. IT'S HEEEEERE!!!! SUPERBOWL WEEKEND!!!! 

Oh man oh man oh man. I'm so excited. 

I was thinking about how to run down the contestants this year, and there really isn't a way to do that (RIP that tradition, first time in like...seven years?...that I haven't done it), so I thought I'd offer a few words of wisdom to those of you who might be tuning in more casually to The Pag on Sunday night. I mean, information makes everything better, right? 

K. 

SO. The first, and probably most important thing:

1. Miss America is NOT Miss USA. 

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*clears throat* 

Listen up. No shade to my girls who've competed in that circuit (the industry term for "a different brand of pageant), but Miss America and Miss USA are very different. 

For starters, Miss America has been around since 1921, and Miss USA started in 1950. The biggest difference for our purposes, though, is that Miss USA doesn't feature a talent portion. That's the easiest way to tell them apart. Although it can certainly be argued that not all Miss America contestants have a talent that needs to be shared with the world, they have to at least try. 

Miss USA girls go on to compete in Miss Universe, while Miss America is the terminal title in that circuit - you don't get better than that. Miss USA tends to be a bit more looks-focused, while Miss America is a bit more "all-around girl." 

And yes. Until recently, Miss USA was owned by Donald Trump. So, you know...do with that what you will. 

2. Preliminaries are important.

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Ever wonder how, minutes after turning on the show, we suddenly have a Top 10 in place? 

It's all based on preliminary scoring. 

So in order for us to actually have something to watch on Saturday night, the girls compete in preliminary competitions the week before the actual "big" pageant on Saturday night. This more or less means that they're having a mini-pageant Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. By Sunday night, the judges will have seen each girl compete in each area of competition (evening wear, swimsuit, on-stage question/interview, and talent). 

It's important to remember that we won't actually see every area of competition. The interview is held behind closed doors between the contestant and the panel of judges. When you see a girl who doesn't have a strong talent and think, "What the ACTUAL HELL is she doing in the Top 10?", chances are, she had a really strong interview and won the judges that way.  

The Top Ten will be derived from the girls who had the highest preliminary scores. You'll definitely see the preliminary winners in the Top 10, but you'll also see girls who scored highly across the board (even if they didn't win a prelim outright). 

3. Get to know the girls. 

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You know you want to! Peruse their head shots here. 

Some names (and boy, do I mean NAMES, you guys - they must have been recruiting for these weirdo first names this year) to look out for: 

- Miss Louisiana, Laryssa Bonacquisti, who won swimsuit last night. 
- Miss Minnesota, Brianna Drevlow, talent winner last night. 
- Miss Texas, Margana Wood, who won swimsuit Friday night. 
- Miss Utah, JessiKate (no I am not kidding) Riley, who won talent Friday night. 

Other winners of note include the Quality of Life award winner, MISS ALABAMA JESSICA PROCTER (yeah she did, get it!!!). That's not a judged category, but it's a community service honor and something the judges will definitely take note of. 

I just have a feeling this year about AL, y'all. I think she might take it home. 

4. There will now be TWO on-stage questions.

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For some God forsaken reason, these people can't just leave well enough alone and feel the need to add some weirdo "new and dramatic" element every year. 

It's probably because that Rat Bastard Chris Harrison is hosting now, tbh. THE MOST DRAMATIC MISS AMERICA COMPETITION IN HISTORY. Bye Chris, we have your number. 

Anyway, so THIS year, they've decided to add an extra on-stage question. Normally, we only get to see one, and it's the last area of competition (usually only the Top 5 answer). This year, there will be a "personality question" asked of seven out of the Top 10, then from those seven, 5 will move on to the final round, answering their more serious interview question before the competition is over. 

The real question is how they're going to do this. Are they gonna just make those three other girls stand up and be like, "Yeah, not you guys. But thanks!" 

They've done it before. 

5. You can and should be judging at home. 

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This scoring sheet from last year is a good jumping off point, although it's going to be different this year with the addition of a second question. 

In case you're a freak like me, the breakdown of scoring goes like this: 

Composite – 25%
Swimsuit – 10%
Evening wear – 15%
Talent – 30%
Question 1 – 5%
Question 2 – 15%

(PS - "Composite" means an average of all the contestant's preliminary scores from the previous three nights of competition. That's why preliminary winners almost always make it into the Top 10 - if they won an overall category, their average score is going to be high.)

Way more fun to do this if you have friends over. My mom and I, for example, will be video chatting throughout the competition. 

What are they looking for? Wholesome, friendly, funny, smart, talented. By and large, you won't see any dumb dumbs or vulgar swimsuits/evening gowns on the Miss A stage. Take it into consideration. 

And if you're wavering, you can always ask my grandmother, who 100% of the time guesses the right Miss America like halfway through the competition. 

 

THERE YOU HAVE IT. I just got myself so worked up and excited that I'm practically salivating. I need to go run laps around the house. If you want to watch and follow along on Twitter, I'll be tweetin' it up @mcmcannally. I'm not responsible for what comes out of my mouth on Twitter that night - I have no control over my body or mind. 

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It's The Pag. It does it to me every time. 

HAPPY JUDGING! 

5 Things Friday: Roundup!

Well HEEEEEY! 

Been a minute! 

I took last week off because I was traveling to Chicago, and this week - well, frankly, pregnancy just walloped me this week. So I said, "Mmkay, I'll just lie down." But things have been happening! Here are some of them: 

1. Chicago is awesome and I loved it so much. 

That's the city by boat. Right?! Gorgeousness. It wasn't a bad way to be introduced to ChiTown. 

So I'd been about ten years ago with my dad, but hadn't been back as a grown up person. I got to travel there with a girlfriend of mine who is also pregnant, which made the trip perfect in every way. When we wanted to nap? We napped. When it was time for a walk? We walked. And when it was time for an entire deep dish pizza and cheesecake? WE ATE THEM. More on this fabulous trip and allllll the incredible places I got to see next week. 

2. I am really, definitely pregnant. 

 This is obviously not a cute photo as I took it in a hurry per Jordan's request to show someone at work the bump, but w/e. This is my life. And this is straight up what I look like right now. 

This is obviously not a cute photo as I took it in a hurry per Jordan's request to show someone at work the bump, but w/e. This is my life. And this is straight up what I look like right now. 

You may be thinking, "You don't look THAT pregnant." Yeah, I invite you to crawl into my body and walk around for a while. 

Don't get me wrong - I am EXTREMELY excited to meet this baby and have loved being pregnant. But I've crested a hill in the last 10 days or so that has made the reality of pregnancy sink in in a new way. I'm achy and feel really big - but I know that things are just gonna get bigger. Like, I have 15 weeks to go. By the end of this movie. I'll be big as a damn house. Not in a cute way. In an, "I thought Mary Catherine used to have a jawline?" way. In a, "Maybe we should avert our eyes as we pass her on the street..." way.

This is part of the game and I'm rolling with it, but I'm also realizing that lots of my self-confidence has come from being able to control what I look like. I can't control a damn thing anymore, so I'm learning to find confidence from within (like I should've been doing all along). More on this next week, too. 

3. MISS AMERICA IS NEXT WEEKEND. 

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This is my SUPERBOWL. If you've been following this blog from the beginning, you saw last year's posts here and here - my annual contestant rundown. But if you've been friends with me on social media for any length of time, you've seen my completely obnoxious, Newsfeed-monopolizing commentary on every single contestant in The Pag. It's a big day for me and I'm very excited about it. 

This year, the contestant videos don't even include them talking (UGH SO LAME), so I'm not sure how we're gonna run it down prior to the show, but I'll figure it out. Either way, I'm basically peeing in my pants waiting for it to happen. I thought about throwing a party to watch it, but then I thought, "People will talk though it and then I'll turn into a horrible monster and scream at everyone and no one will like me anymore." So I passed. 

But if YOU want to watch it with me, I'll be tweeting up a storm @mcmcannally. 

4. Game of Thrones, you are KILLING. ME. 

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If you haven't seen Season 7 up to Episode 4, scroll down to #5 and skip this one. 

...did you do it? 

K. So HOLY WOW THE DRAGONS, THE DRAGONS, THE DRAGONS. Jordan and I are slowly catching up and just finished the episode where Daenerys releases the freakin' fire squad on the Lannister army and basically just turns everyone into human s'mores. WTF?!?!? This was INSANE. I'm realizing that I care way more about horses/dragons dying than I do about people, which is like...really sick and awful, but true. The second they threatened the dragon's death, I was all, "NO OH MY GOSH!!!" Meanwhile, there are like hundreds of men running around shrieking because they're burning alive. And I'm like, *shrug.* 

We have just a few more left until we're FINALLY caught up with the end of the season. At this point my thoughts are as follows: Kit Harrington is a lot shorter than I thought; I love The Hound so much; Sam cured grey scale!!!!; Gilly, you are #sodumb; Maisie Williams actually frightens me; Bran Stark is the most annoying character in the world. 

5. We are re-doing tons of rooms in our house and I'm so excited to share some before and afters at some point. 

...no photos here yet, but we've re-done our living room, bedroom, and are putting together the nursery. I will share that I bought the world's most precious animal prints to hang in the baby's room - how cute is this?! We did six and went with pig, bear cub, bunny, baby chick, fawn, and giraffe. This woman's shop on Etsy is called PinkeeArt - check her out. Absolutely makes my heart skip a beat. 

Go nuts this weekend and I'll see you back here on Tuesday - refreshed, recharged, and ready to rock. 

DNR - JTI: 17 Weeks Pregnant Edition

As always, credit for Do Not Respond - Just Take It goes to the brilliant and beautiful Mollie Erickson, whose blog can be found here

Dear Body, 
Hi. I'm sure you're like, "WHAT'S GOING ON MARY CATHERINE?!?!" Except really, you're not. You seem to know exactly what to do. You're gaining weight, you're growing a human being. But also, you are losing your balance and your mind and other weird stuff. I think my belly popped this morning but I can't be sure. How does one test these things? Anyway, keep up the good work and also what are you doing to me and also I'm sorry.  Do Not Respond - Just Take It. 

Dear Snoogle, 
You are a gift from the Lord. I never knew that a pregnancy body pillow could mean so much to me in such a short amount of time. We've become inseparably bonded to the point that Jordan is now jealous. Of me, to be clear - he wants his own Snoogle. Who can blame him? I work you into every conversation. See you tonight. DNR - JTI. 

Dear Friend from College, 
Sorry your wedding gift is so late.  I accidentally sent it to myself because I can't functionally think anymore. This is evidently a "thing," so I'm going to blame it on this sweet little parasite sucking the logic outta me. You'll get it, I promise. Or, if I get lazy enough, I may just keep it. I mean, it's a Le Creuset serving piece, it's pretty nice. I kinda want one. Stay tuned. DNR - JTI. 

Dear Jordan, 
God bless you. DNR - JTI. 

Dear Entire Bag of Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Chips, 
Bye! DNR - JTI. 

Dear Leg Hair, 
You and I have been locked in a battle of good and evil since I was about 12 years old. (To be clear, I'm good and you're evil and if you have a problem with that you can get your own blog). Prenatal vitamins, while helping my growing baby, also seem to have taken your side and joined the effort to ruin my life. But I won't be defeated. I will get rid of you every day until I can't see my legs anymore. STOP GROWING SO FAST OR ELSE. You've been warned. DNR - JTI. 

Dear Woman Working at Subway,
When I went in for a pizza, you looked at my belly, looked back up at me, looked at my belly again, and then asked if I was pregnant. "Yes," I said, "But that was a risky question." You said, "I was just trying to figure out if it was a boy or a girl." "Well?" I wondered. "A girl," you said, "because you're carrying low." 

FIRST OF ALL, WWaS, carrying low is not a compliment. It means you maybe didn't have a strong core before you got pregnant (or so I've read). I'm a fitness instructor, so I sure I hope I did. SECONDLY, you've got it backwards. Carrying low means you're having a boy, which is what I think I'm having, which makes you not only a bit impolite, but also wrong. You were the first person to acknowledge I looked pregnant and I am simultaneously offended by you and excited. I have a lot of feelings that don't make sense, okay? Please just make my veggie pizza and lemme get outta here before I buy that entire freaking case of cookies. 

Dear The Baby,
Please feel free to kick at me anytime. I really loved that. It was like you were saying, "HEY UP THERE! I'M IN HERE!" And it was magical and the best ever. You've gone radio silent for a few days, which I respect, because you're not trying to be an attention hog. You're makin' me wait. I like your style, but I also miss you, so...you know. Maybe just give me one whenever you feel like it. Love you. DNR - JTI. 

Shows You Should Binge This Summer.

Summer is here, and if you're in the South like I am, that means some days are too damn hot to be outside. That's why God invented streaming services! 

I've been watching several shows lately have all been better quality than normal TV is, so I thought I'd share the delight they've brought me by suggesting them to you. 

First up: 

1. Master Of None, Season 2

THIS IS JUST SUCH A GOOD SHOW. I really can't even stand it. S1 was good, don't get me wrong - but it wasn't this good. Aziz Ansari really outdid himself this time. The acting, the writing, the cast (hello, Francesca, most beautiful creature I've ever seen), the sets, the stories...it all just comes together in this beautifully cinematic way that makes you feel like you aren't watching a TV show, but mini-movies. Did I mention there are many scenes in which homemade pasta is the star? 'Cause there are. 

Ansari manages to tackle issues of race, culture, and sexuality with grace, tact, and humor - and without leaving you feeling like you've been beaten over the head with it. There are capsule episodes that will thrill you ("I Love New York" was a favorite of mine), romantic storylines that will intrigue you, and characters that will make you fall in love all over again. I have not one bad thing to say about this season. It was completely charming and I enjoyed every moment. #heycutie 

Available on Netflix. 

2. Downward Dog

This is one you may or may not have heard of, but definitely need to watch. It's a 30-minute morsel of straight-up goodness and it has a dog in it. I could really stop right there, but I won't, of course. I'm long-winded. 

The star of the show is Alison Tolman, who got her start on Fargo Season One (and was freaking incredible, btw). She flexes her comedy chops even harder on this show and proves she can hold down both a dramatic and a comedic series singlehandedly. Of course, she has a little help - the dog, Martin, is voiced by Samm Hodges. Now before you get all, "There's a talking dog?? No." There isn't a talking dog. The show is built around you being privy to Martin's thoughts and narrations. He doesn't talk to humans or other animals - he just a constant inner monologue that you get to hear. And it's hysterical. 

Storylines include: Martin feeling like he's all brain and no brawn because he can't complete a dog obstacle course; Martin realizing that he can control various objects with his mind after he mistakenly thinks he made a set of automatic doors open by thinking about it really hard; Martin v. the neighborhood cat. 

It's just good for your soul and it may get canceled because no one is watching it and WE NEED MORE GOOD TV, SO WATCH IT. It's on Hulu or on ABC weekly. 

3. The Handmaid's Tale

Ooooookay! So I've suggested two pleasant shows, now I'm suggesting this doozy. 

Listen. It's hard to watch. It ranges from relatively to extremely upsetting. 

But this show is really good. 

Besides Joseph Fiennes (Commander Waterford)'s creepy overacting, this show is packed with people who are killing it from episode to episode. Elisabeth Moss, who I'm a longtime fan of after she won my heart as Peggy on Mad Men, BRINGS. IT. every single episode. This chick is an acting powerhouse, and since her station within the show's culture demands meekness, lots of her best acting is absolutely tiny - a facial expression, a look - her role could've only been played by someone who's able to deal in subtleties. 

If you aren't familiar with the concept, the show is based on a novel by Margaret Atwood about a dystopian society in which a far-right religious sect has staged a military coup and taken over the US. Because fertility is a huge issue in this world, this group, the Sons of Jacob, have rounded up all the fertile women and forced them to work as slaves to high-ranking, pedigreed members of society in order to help those families reproduce. There's a lot more to it, obviously, but that's the gist. 

This show is all about hope, persistence, grit, and women standing up in the face of insane persecution to defend themselves. It's worth watching because it makes you think deeply about rights, liberties, and personal agency. 

Available on Hulu. 

 

Are you watching any of these already?? Did you love them? Hate them? What are you watching that isn't on this list? 

5 Things Friday: The Internet is Great.

Look, it's been a big week. We've had James Comey's hearings (whoa, btw), we've had lots of rain up this way, and all of that has made me a little Internet-browse-y for hilarious things. Luckily, I am a loser who spends just an inordinate amount of time on the World Wide Waste of Time, so I'm here to provide you with 5 things that will make you laugh or brighten your day. 

*Cheerleader style*

Ready? 

Okay! 

1. Snoop Dogg Narrating Planet Earth

If this doesn't make you laugh, I don't want to know you. I'm serious, let me know if it doesn't so we can stop associating with each other. 

2. Robert Irwin on Jimmy Fallon

This is the sweetest and best and Robert really is Steve reincarnated. Also BABY BLACK BEARS. Also also Jimmy Fallon is scared of the animal kingdom with is kind of hilarious. 

3. This family's story on Ellen

So I watched this in the car on the way back from my sister-in-law's wedding and I was just sobbing. Jordan thought something was medically wrong with me and was like, "Are you okay?? ARE YOU OKAY??" But I had headphones in so I wasn't listening. ...anyway it's incredible. 

4. Ellen's Staff Recaps the Ellen Episode of The Bachelorette

It's just funny and stupid and that girl reacts pretty much exactly like I do. 

5. Lil' Baby Aidy Being Adorable

Listen, I really only had four things, so this is a throwaway but also something that made me giggle. I love Aidy. And I love SNL. AND I HOPE YOU DO TOO. 

 

Have a great weekend, peeps! I'm going to my ten year reunion which makes me want to throw up that I've been out of school for ten years. Why?! WHY?!?!