i said yes!

Last weekend was the best of my life. Scott planned what he called a “Spoil Mal” weekend full of surprises, and man did it exceed my wildest expectations!

On Friday (May 11, 2018), after work, Scott took me to dinner at the Top of the Mark. It’s a restaurant at the top of the historic Mark Hopkins Hotel with amazing views of the city. We shared a few delicious small plates and listened to a live jazz band as the San Francisco city lights sparkled through the panoramic windows.

On Saturday, we went to brunch in Sausalito, and then on to Tiburon for a tandem electric bike ride! The weather was beautiful—sunny but breezy—and the battery on the bike made climbing hills much easier. We poked around some of the cute (but pricey) stores in Tiburon before returning back to San Francisco.

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I was going to a Taylor Swift concert that night, and was really wanting to get a fresh manicure beforehand. (THANK GOODNESS I did this and had nice looking nails for the next day!) Luckily, we got back to the city with plenty of time and I was able to get some fresh polish before my girlfriends (Kasey, Savannah, and Claire) came over! I drove us all down to Santa Clara to Levi’s Stadium, where the 49ers play, for the Taylor Swift show. We had such an amazing time and the production, props, and overall show quality was insane!

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After I got back to the city, Scott told me to be ready the next morning at 9 am to go to breakfast. He let me know that I could wear sporty clothes (phew). We ate breakfast at Bartlett Hall before walking around the corner to a spa for an hour-long couples’ massage! The massage was absolutely awesome and we both left feeling more relaxed than ever.

We went home and showered / changed / etc. and then Scotty took me to Alamo Square for a picnic. Alamo Square is actually the park (adjacent to the Painted Ladies of Full House fame) where we went for a walk the second night we ever hung out, back on February 19, 2016. So it’s a pretty special place to us! We’ve gone there for a picnic once before, which came to an abrupt end when I slipped and fell into a mud bog…so I was really hoping this one would go better.

We set up a picnic blanket in Alamo Square and Scott began to pull out the most lavish spread EVER. He had three kinds of cheese, multiple kinds of crackers, fruit, meats, etc. He had a package of Oreos and a candy bar. He had a Diet Coke for me and a bottle of champagne for us…it was crazy! Then, as his last act, he pulled out a box from Nothing Bundt Cakes (my favorite cake ever). I actually freaked. There isn’t even a Nothing Bundt Cakes in the city, and he’d Ubered down to a suburb the night before while I was at Taylor Swift to pick up this cake he’d ordered!

The next 10-15 minutes, Scott was basically trying to get me to open that cake box. (Of course, I didn’t realize that at the time!) He was making comments like, “What flavor do you think I got?” to which I responded, “Chocolate Chocolate Chip, it says so on that sticker!” And then a few minutes later, “You’re going to love the decorations I picked for this cake,” to which I said, “I bet! When Irin (my boss) got me a cake for National Recruiters Day, she got birthday decorations because they were the best she could do!” Honestly, Scott must have been so anxious that I just would not open the box! But finally, he said, “I say we open up one of these treats. Which do you want?” And he pointed to the Oreos, chocolate bar, and cake box. “The cake, duh!” I said. He told me to open it up. I did, and I saw, right in the middle of the bundt cake, a RING BOX!

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Re-enactment of how the ring box was placed inside!

I of course got the biggest grin on my face as Scotty picked up the ring box and shifted his weight onto one knee. “I think this is the part where you stand up,” he teased me. I stood up and he proceeded to say some of the sweetest, most heartfelt things I could ever dream of hearing. Finally, after asking me to marry him and me shouting YES, he opened the ring box and got the ring out. His hands were shaking as he put it on my own shaking hand. We celebrated, hugged, I cried, and it was perfect. Then, I finally got a good look at the ring—OMG! It was so perfect!

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At this time, Scott pointed out one of our friends, Ezra, standing nearby, being a sneaky ninja capturing candid photos of this whole event. I couldn’t believe it!

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We took a bunch of pictures, the entire park cheered and clapped for us (two random girls even ran over with cups of champagne) and we never, ever stopped smiling. A little while later, we packed up our picnic to go home and share the good news with our families! (Those were some fun phone calls to make! Telling our moms, Happy Mother’s Day—you’re getting a new kid!)

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That evening, Scott took me on a boat ride all around the San Francisco Bay. We drank wine, ate appetizers, took a bunch of pictures and just snuggled up and enjoyed the views and our newly engaged-ness. May 13, 2018 was the perfect day and the whole weekend was honestly perfect. I still kind of can’t believe it all happened!

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We’re hoping to get married Summer 2019 and we could not be more thrilled. I’m so lucky to have the love of a kind, thoughtful man who goes out of his was to plan such special surprises for me. I can’t wait to spend my whole life with him!

 

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happiness is a choice

“If you want to be happy, be.”  -Leo Tolstoy

I have this quote painted in my bedroom.  I believe that happiness is a choice, and it’s one that I try to make daily.

This week has been pretty up and down for me.  I’ve dealt with some stuff that left me bummed out.  But before I allowed myself to wallow too deep into self pity, I had a moment of total clarity.  Life is too short to choose anything other than happiness.

I have fresh flowers on my dining room table.  I’m wearing a dress that I love.  I took the time to do my hair and makeup this morning.  I did an anonymous act of kindness last night.  I got a compliment from a stranger earlier.  I paid three more forward.  I woke up early and enjoyed an hour on my front steps, reading my book, enjoying the cool morning air and this song.  I ran into friendly faces all over campus today.  My nails are painted.  I’m burning my favorite candle.

I have every reason to be happy.  When I am so myopic that I can only see the few negative things affecting me, I miss out on recognizing the 100 other wonderful things that happen to me on a daily basis.  So today, and moving forward, I’m choosing happiness.  I hope you’ll choose it with me.

PS- This song feels like my day.  To be clear, I’m not a large black man singing about the United Streets of America.  I am, however, having a good day!