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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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