From a doctor to a fashion blogger to a Dynamo defender, CultureMap's latest edition of Houston's Most Eligible Bachelor / Bachelorette is sure to brighten up your holidays! Check 'em out here.
And let us know who you would like to see in the next edition. Send suggestions, photos and/or videos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to put 'Most Eligible' in the subject line.
• Name: Michael Chabala
• Occupation: Professional soccer player
• Age: 29
• Zodiac sign: Gemini
• Height: 6'
“I’m a California boy, obsessed with the idea of playing pro soccer since I can remember,” says Chabala.
The Houston Dynamo defender has traveled the world playing soccer, but of his current hometown he states, “Houston is the closest thing to home since I left California at 18 years old. I’ve found peace and a home here because of the relationships and friendships I’ve made, and a community I've embraced. That's why I wanted to come back this season.”
Off the field, Chabala enjoys practicing yoga and swimming. “I also read a lot, especially The Economist and headline news, I love being around people, and I’ve always had a knack for fashion,” he says.
• My ideal mate: She's ambitious, confident, motivated, independent, intelligent, beautiful, family oriented. And bottom line, makes me want to be a better man.
• What's your favorite way to splurge on yourself? If in New York, I splurge with quiet time at Aire Ancient Baths in Tribeca. In Houston it would have to be brunch at Backstreet Cafe after church on Sunday.
• What’s your most embarrassing moment? Red card (ejection) in the first five minutes of my professional debut.
• Do you Google your dates ahead of time? Guilty, yes. Or I've tried at least.
• Do you have any siblings? Yes. I have an older sister who is 31 and pre-vet back in California. Proud of her!
• What’s something you’re dying to try? Sailing.
• Name: Trina Boland
• Occupation: Dietitian, daydreamer and owner of Rent My Closet
• Age: 40
• Zodiac sign: Scorpio
• Height: Short!
Boland, a practicing dietician who works with special needs children, is also an entrepreneur. This year she launched the web site, Rent My Closet. She notes, “I was tired of paying full price for clothing so I figured, why buy when you can rent?”
For fun, Boland spends time with friends, paints and makes crafts. As well, she laughingly declares, “I like doing anything outside, but I'm not athletic. I always joke that if a ball were thrown at me, I would duck!"
• My ideal mate: He's not in to yoga, and has half a brain.
• What's your favorite way to splurge on yourself? Coffee and shoes.
• What are you looking for in a relationship? If you like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain..
• What’s your most embarrassing moment? I once fell off a bar stool on a first date.
• If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be? Santorini, Greece.
• Do you Google your dates ahead of time? No, but at some point I might. Of course, if I feel a need to then hmmm…
• Do you have any siblings? Yes, four fabulous ones.
• What’s something you’re dying to try? I really have done a lot of things, although of course there are things I haven't thought of to try. If you ask me what do I want to be when I grow up, having it to do it again, then I would have been a prosthetic maker.
• What was your longest relationship? Not long enough.
• Name: Alberto Luis Colomer
• Occupation: Physician, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine
• Age: 36
• Zodiac sign: Aries
• Height: 5'11"
A physician, Colomer moved to Houston from Puerto Rico in 2003 for specialty training at The UT Medical School at Houston in Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine.
He states, “I came to Houston because it matched my training needs. I didn't expect to stay, but I fell in love with city – that it offers all walks of life and a large Hispanic presence are nice."
When not on call, Colomer enjoys time with friends. He adds, "My favorite hang out spot is Local Pour for its proximity to the Med Center, laid-back vibe and good music.”
• My ideal mate: A woman who is driven, athletic and can make me laugh.
• What's your favorite way to splurge on yourself? Traveling and eating out.
• What are you looking for in a relationship? My soulmate.
• What’s your most embarrassing moment? Walking straight into a glass door while trying to impress a girl.
• What does your ideal Saturday morning look like? A fast paced 50-60 mile bike ride followed by a recovery lunch and drinks out on a patio with good friends.
• If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be? Ile Rousse, Corsica.
• Who should pay on the first date? Always the man. Chivalry isn't dead.
• Do you have any siblings? Two younger sisters. One may soon move here.
• What’s something you’re dying to try? Kite surfing.
• What was your longest relationship? Eight years.
• Name: Michelle Eulene
• Occupation: Photographer
• Age: Ain't nothin' but a number
• Zodiac sign: Capricorn
• Height: 5'7"
Although Eulene’s an accomplished photographer, she also dabbles in TV. She explains, “I recently did a couple of shows as a segment producer for Trick My What? with John Schneider, I was production coordinator for King of the Grill and I just worked on Chevy commercial.”
Eulene's music playlist is a mix of pumping, eclectic tunes. “I like everything from country, especially Josh Turner, to old school rock like Aerosmith, and reggae/Caribbean," she states.
• My ideal mate: He's taller than me and my 4-inch heels. Also, he's sincere, empathetic, determined, and can deal with my random schedule. He also has to have the confidence to hold his own at events, if by chance I have to leave his side to network. Plus, he's street and book smart.
• What's your favorite way to splurge on yourself? If it were possible, I'd jump into a pool of Nutella.
• What are you looking for in a relationship? I'm looking for honesty and "realness." It's funny, the dating phases you go through in life really change. All the little arguments don't hold much ground now. I just want to have a fun and happy life with someone who wants the same.
• If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be? I'd wake up in a hammock... on a small beach cottage in Greece.
• What’s something you’re dying to try? I've been meaning to take boxing classes ... my tomboyish nature always prevails.
• Favorite thing about Houston? My favorite thing about H-Town is the people and the food. Even as a vegetarian, my meals here never compare to anywhere else.
• Name: Paul Smith
• Occupation: Owner of Nutrishop Houston
• Age: 27
• Zodiac sign: Leo
• Height: 6'
Smith, born in Chicago, moved to The Woodlands at the age of five. He received a degree in exercise and sports science from Texas State University and in 2013 he opened his own NutriShop franchise.
Working at the store has lead to an unexpected second career. "An agent from the Neal Hamil Modeling Agency walked in and asked if I had ever done any modeling. I hadn’t, but my grandmother -- bias, of course -- always told me I should be a model. So I went with it and am having fun,” he says.
• My ideal mate: She's an outgoing, friendly, active, positive, music lover who likes to get out and enjoy life.
• What does your ideal Saturday morning look like? My Ideal Saturday would involve starting off with something active and outdoors in the morning (mountain biking, hiking, CrossFit etc). After that I would be feasting on all kinds of breakfast foods and coffee. I imagine lounging around with a good book or conversation, possibly playing some bocce ball, washers or something similar. And then more food.
• Who should pay on the first date? The man should definitely pay on the first date.
• Do you Google your dates ahead of time? No, but Facebook, maybe.
• What’s something you’re dying to try? I am dying to try snowboarding.
• What was your longest relationship? Almost 2 years.
• Favorite thing about Houston? Our sports teams. I love the Texans and Rockets, and I also support the Astros and Dynamo.
• Name: Shalanda Turner (nickname: Shasie)
• Occupation: Chemical engineer by day, fashion blogger by night
• Age: 29
• Zodiac sign: Aquarius
• Height: 5'7"
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Turner moved to Houston five years ago for a job. “I chose chemical engineering because I love chemistry, wanted a stable income and wanted to be able to find a job post-graduation. I wouldn't say it's my dream job, but I do like it.”
Habits include a self-professed addiction to Canada Dry ginger ale, and staying up late. "I'm a night owl. I like to stay up late and get stuff done, but I always regret it in the morning.”
For fun, Turner enjoys singing, blogging about fashion, collecting fashion books, traveling, and watching Vampire Diaries. "Plus, I'm a big nerd -- I love comic book heroes,” she declares.
• My ideal mate: He's generous and he believes in God. He's spontaneous, ambitious, trustworthy, and makes me laugh. And he has a job, loves pets, and understands my double-life of being an engineer and loving fashion.
• What are you looking for in a relationship? Friendship and adventure.
• What’s your most embarrassing moment? I fell flat on my face right in front of a guy I was flirting with. We laughed it off, but it was still embarrassing.
• What does your ideal Saturday morning look like? I do a lot during the week so I'm not going to lie...I tend to sleep in on Saturday morning. However, it would be cool to wake up early and get a workout in.
• If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be and why? Paris. I've always wanted to visit Paris and seeing the fashions first-hand would be amazing. Hopefully one day.
• Do you have any siblings? I have an older sister, Stacy. We're very close. She lives in Pennsylvania with her hubby and 1 year old daughter, so I don't see her a lot but we chat all the time.
• What’s something you’re dying to try? Zip lining.
• Name: David Zahn
• Occupation: CPA turned pre-nursing student
• Age: 29
• Zodiac sign: Leo
• Height: 5’9”
Zahn is a CPA and did tax for 6 years. He recently switched career paths. “ I quit in August to go back to school to get requirements for nursing school. I couldn’t take staring at three screens and tax deadlines anymore. I like working with people and am interested in healthcare.”
Furthermore, Zahn says, “The career change, doing something now that I really love, makes it a good time to meet someone. When you're happy you're at your best.”
Zahn has done 20 to 30 triathlons of varying distances over the last five years including an Iron Man with another slated for June. And at home, Zahn likes to cook. “I make a dang good chicken and sausage gumbo,” he says.
• My ideal mate: She's humorous, religious, athletic, a good cook, and slightly unconventional…I don’t want a cookie cutter, as I don’t view myself as one. She needs to blaze her own trail and know where it is leading.
• What's your favorite way to splurge on yourself? A good haircut.
• What are you looking for in a relationship? Serious and long-term.
• What does your ideal Saturday morning look like? It would have to start out with either cycling or running with friends followed by good coffee and far too much bacon (crispy). I'm also not opposed to a Bloody Mary or two before noon.
• If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be? Any place I can look out my window and see mountains.
• Who should pay on the first date? The guy. I am pretty traditional on this one.
• Do you Google your dates ahead of time? Guilty as charged. I can also be a bit of a Facebook stalker (not in the creepy sense though). It gives an initial base for conversation when you first meet. However, it's nice to meet someone who doesn’t completely reveal her identity on the Internet; a bit of conservatism keeps things interesting.
• What was your longest relationship? My relationship with God. 29 years and still going strong.
• Name: Kelley Elliott
• Occupation: Teacher
• Age: 35
• Zodiac sign: Capricorn
• Height: 5'2"
Born and raised in Beaumont, the friendships Elliott developed while growing up are lifelong. “They’ve shaped me into who I am today. Friendship is extremely important to me; my friends and I are a package deal,” she states.
With a passion for education and children, teaching was a natural career path. “I went to work at the Annunciation Orthodox School 12 years ago. Working in the education field has been the most rewarding career I could ever dream of,” she says.
Elliott enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching the Texans and Patriots play, and traveling. Trips on Elliott's bucket list include: New Zealand and Ireland.
• My ideal mate: He is tall, has a good work ethic, can make me laugh, and loves sports.
• What's your favorite way to splurge on yourself? I try to treat myself to massages whenever I can.
• What’s your most embarrassing moment? Once, on a blind date, I told the guy there's only one Houston restaurant I will never go to. That's when he revealed that he was part owner of that very restaurant... check, please.
• What does your ideal Saturday morning look like? It would be a crisp fall Saturday...the day would start with a latte, followed by breakfast on a patio, shopping around town and then watch football all day on a patio again or at home with the windows open!
• If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be? On a beach. Any beach.
• Who should pay on the first date? The guy... I'm old fashioned.
• Do you Google your dates ahead of time? I try not to. I want to keep an open mind.
• Do you have any siblings? I have a younger sister and younger brother who are my best friends and mean the world to me.
• What’s something you’re dying to try? Swimming with dolphins is on my bucket list.
• Name: Blake Helfman
• Occupation: Automobile dealer
• Age: 24
• Zodiac sign: Scorpio
• Height: 5’10"
Helfman, an automobile dealer, has always liked cars and wanted to run his own business. “My grandfather started in the automobile business in the 1950's. I started working for him during the summers while growing up. Over the years, I really began to enjoy working with my family and wanted to follow his legacy,” he says.
Helfman collects sports memorabilia and likes to fish. He stays in shape by working out before work every day, and playing golf and tennis.
• My ideal mate: She is kind, optimistic, adventurous, and likes to have a good time.
• What's your favorite way to splurge on yourself? A steak dinner.
• What does your ideal Saturday morning look like? Waking up on the lake and taking the boat out.
• If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be? Australia.
• What’s something you’re dying to try? Scuba diving.
• What was your longest relationship? Two years.
• Favorite thing about Houston? My favorite thing about Houston is the sports teams and energy the city has right now. It is a great place to live and work.
• Name: Ruchi Mukherjee
• Occupation: Editor/anchor of Houston Society News Lights Camera Action, society columnist
• Age: Thirty-something
• Zodiac sign: Virgo
• Height: 5'2"
Mukherjee, a writer and also the founder of Lights Camera Action, was born in India and moved to Houston 10 years ago. “I’m outgoing and don’t like sitting at home. I like to be out and about,” Mukherjee states.
About finding her perfect match Mukherjee says, “I’m passionate about charities so I would like to date a guy who is involved with charities, too. I turn on for me when someone spends time doing good.” Furthermore she states, “I believe in love stories, and that there’s a Prince Charming out there.”
• My ideal mate: He should be outgoing, passionate, philanthropic, and career oriented.
• What are you looking for in a relationship? Friendship, and enjoying life together.
• What does your ideal Saturday morning look like? Usually busy, but like to start with workout and then coffee at a nearby cafe.
• If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be? New York.
• Who should pay on the first date? I like a gentleman.
• Do you Google your dates ahead of time? Sometimes.
• Favorite thing about Houston? The people. It's such a multicultural city with a thriving, rich culture. There are so many fun events, yet everyone's family oriented.