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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my favorite year to date

One year ago today, Scott asked me to make our relationship official. We had spent more than six months getting to know each other—slowly at first, through text messages and Snapchats. The casual conversations soon turned to sporadic phone calls, and those soon turned much more routine. Eventually, we were talking every day. We would FaceTime, text, talk on the phone…whatever we could make work with a two-hour time difference and 2,300 miles between us. When the time finally came that Scott visited me in Nashville, it felt like we’d known each other forever!

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Though I didn’t know it at the time, all of those months building a friendship (following a serendipitous weekend spent hanging out in SF when we first met on my vacation) were laying a foundation for a love that I’d come to give thanks for every day.

Scott encourages me to be vulnerable. I share my biggest insecurities, fears, hopes, and dreams with him, and he meets me with empathy and understanding.

Scott makes me more vibrant. I feel empowered to be my truest, most bubbly self in his company. He laughs at my jokes and makes me laugh even harder at his.

Scott makes the sun’s rays shine brighter. He lightens up my darkest days and makes my sunny days even sunnier. He reminds me to practice gratitude and never stop seeking out adventures.

Scott brings joy to my life. He is always willing to drive to that nearby town, kiss in that photo booth, or sing that karaoke song. I savor my weekends with him.

Scott makes me a better person—I want to love harder and give more generously. He continually serves me in a way I never imagined anyone would, and he inspires me to do the same.

The magic I’ve found in falling in love has made the last year the best one of my life.

I usually pride myself on being good with words, but when I try to convey to Scott just how meaningful he is to me and how much I love him, I always come up short. My words just don’t seem to carry the weight that my heart feels for this man. However, I’m hoping to spend a really long time trying to find the words that will do him justice.

My Scotty—happy anniversary. I love you past the moon!

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love advice from taylor swift

At home, my roommate Maddie and I have a “House Quotes of Note” board.  One of the quotes on there says, “I’m crying.  I just love T. Swift so much.  She gets me.”  This quote was from yours truly.

The pathetic part is that I really was crying.  As I listened to All Too Well and I Almost Do and Last Kiss and all the other heartbreaking songs on Red for the first time, the night that it came out, I couldn’t help but cry.  I am a female.  I was, at this point, 20 years old.  Hopelessly romantic.  Hopelessly single.  I can’t remember right now (and how awesome does that feel) but I probably had feelings for someone who didn’t return them.  I have had a lot of that in my lifetime.

As Taylor Swift grows up, it seems to me that many are waiting for her to fail — or at the very least, have a misstep.  But I continue to watch year after year as Taylor becomes an even sparklier, more admirable best friend-I-wish-I-had.  Not to replace my current best friends of course, just to join our clique, clique, clique.  (Is it bad that I just referenced Kanye in a T. Swift blog post?  I digress.)

Well, recently, Taylor Swift has been responding to fans’ posts on Instagram, supplying sweet comments, thoughtful advice and humorous captions.  I came across this comment recently, that Taylor wrote to a fan asking about unrequited love.  Taylor’s view on the topic struck a chord with me (music pun fully intended) and I thought I’d share it here.

“I think we grow up thinking the only love that counts as true love is the kind that lasts forever or is fully realized. When you have a broken heart, the first thing a stranger will ask is ‘how long were you two together?’ As if your pain can be determined by how long you were with someone. Or if you were with them at all. I don’t think that’s how it works. I think unrequited love is just as valid as any other kind. It’s just as crushing and just as thrilling.

No matter what happens in this situation, I want you to remember that what you are doing is selfless and beautiful and kind.  You are loving someone purely because you love them, not because you think you’ll ever have your affections reciprocated. You are admiring something for its beauty, without needing to own it. Feel good about being the kind of person who loves selflessly. I think someday you’ll find someone who loves you in that exact same way.”

I agree wholeheartedly with Taylor’s perspective, particularly the point she makes about how long you were with someone not necessarily having a correlation with the amount of pain that relationship’s end brings you.

I think that Taylor takes some of her cues from Cheryl Strayed, an author that my friend Nicole introduced me to.  Reading the words of both of these women, my mind races and my heart swells.  My romanticism may nag at me but I’m not interested in curing it.

Cheryl Strayed said: “Don’t be strategic or coy. Strategic and coy are for jackasses. Be brave. Be authentic. Practice saying the word ‘love’ to the people you love so when it matters the most to say it, you will.”

She also said, “You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.”

Between these two ideas, you’ve got how I’m living my life and what I’m trying to fully realize in my life.  I suppose I need to find the middle ground between the two.

For now, I’ve got to go, but if you need me, I’ll be the grown woman driving in the car, windows down, single tear streaming down my cheek because “T.Swift just gets me.”

i and love and you

I think that much of our society has come to fear the word “love.”  And I don’t like that.  I don’t like it one bit.

Why do we feel like we lose our power when we say “I love you?”  This is, in fact, where we gain it.  We free ourselves from uncertainty and cloudiness and ambiguity.  The other person’s reaction or response doesn’t matter; they are not an authority on the subject matter of our hearts. Obviously having love (and the expression of it) reciprocated is wonderful but it isn’t the point. If we all waited on the other person to say “I love you” first, the magical three-word combination would never get said.

I remember for years loving a friend but being afraid to tell him.  What was I afraid of?  It’s not as if I was in love with him, professing my desire to run away together and live like Noah and Allie until we wrinkle in our old age—no.  But I loved him, and I knew it.  The fact of the matter is that my love for him wasn’t conditional on him returning the phrase.  (Although in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll admit that he did.)  Once you’ve chosen to actively love someone, the hard part is done.  Saying it is simple.  Furthermore, the more love we give to others, the greater our capacity to love becomes.

Love is not to be stifled, softened, limited or withheld.  It is ours to throw out the window, letting it sweep like the wind over those we leave behind.  Love is ours to give freely (and I’m not talking about the “free love” of the 60’s and 70’s), whether to the grocery store cashier or a lab partner or an author whose books you love or even a guy you met randomly in a fast food restaurant one Thursday afternoon.

What I’m suggesting is simple: if you love someone, say it.  Say it in a letter, a text message, a postcard, a speech, a voicemail.  Say it in chalk, in ink, in watercolor, in charcoal, in permanent marker.  Say it often and say it with conviction.  Don’t be scared to say it and don’t be scared to hear it; we were made for this.

Note: In an ironic twist, this post has been sitting in the “notes” section of my phone for about a month now.  Perhaps I need to match my fearlessness for posting on my blog with my fearlessness for letting people know that I care about them.02f579cec2c01ebd5e4914f672057884

2(7) dresses

As I peruse Facebook, amid the “so humbled and honored” posts where friends brag about their new jobs and the “look at this amazing place I went to that you’ll never see” travel posts that worsen my wanderlust, I see them: the engagement and wedding posts.  I am officially at that age.

This past weekend I had my second experience as a bridesmaid.  The first time was last December, when I was a bridesmaid in my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding.  This time, I was a bridesmaid for my friend (and mentor) Jordan.

Here’s the thing–I absolutely LOVE love.  It’s evident to those who know me.  I cried when Jordan and Evan got engaged; I cried when they rehearsed their walk down the aisle; I cried when Evan arrived to the B&B and Jordan had to hide so he wouldn’t see her…the list goes on.  Seeing two people so in love and so incandescently happy makes my heart overflow with joy.

However, I was reminded as the DJ ordered all of us fun, single girls off the dance floor and called on the “couples in the room” that I am not in love.  Ugh.

I’m perfectly happy being single most of the time, except in moments like that.  Moments where I feel utterly alienated because I lack a better half.  On one hand, I feel comforted by the other girls sitting around me, forced off the dance floor with me in their singleness.  On the other hand, I feel sad knowing that they’re probably just as hyperaware of their loneliness in that moment as I am.

At this point, I have accepted the fact that I will quite possibly wear 27 dresses before I get to wear that one special dress.  I’ve got two down, 25 to go.  However, I cling to the hope that my James Marsden character will come in the middle of all the bridesmaid-ing and sweep me off my feet (but hopefully not publicly humiliate me in journalistic pursuits).

Don’t get me wrong; I recognize the pros of being unattached.  When I graduate in May, I have no strings tying me down.  I can go on a spontaneous trip at any moment without telling anyone first.  I can flirt with any random (single) guy, ever.  But it’s hard to get excited about these things when you’re sipping sweet tea out of a mason jar, watching beaming couples slow dance under sparkly lights.

A boy named Michael Jones told me in the fifth grade something that I’ve never forgotten.  He said, “You are the most intimidating girl at our school.  That’s why boys don’t like to talk to you.”  Not much has changed.  I still have what I’m told can be a very intimidating personality.  Everyone says “it” happens when you aren’t looking, but let’s be honest: everyone is looking.  We are designed to love and be loved.  While I am by no means actively scouting a better half, I’m am hoping that one of these days, the right boy will talk to me.  And when he does, I’ll have a heck of a lot of bridesmaids ready.

PS- Christian Mingle, you can stop emailing me now.  I’m nowhere near rock bottom.