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.

IMG_3143IMG_1693

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!

IMG_5389

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!

IMG_0950

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!

IMG_2567

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!

IMG_2579IMG_2582IMG_2580

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!)

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

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!

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with a5 preset

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!

 

Advertisements

tulips in golden gate park

IMG_1342One thing I didn’t realize until I moved to San Francisco is that sunshine is really important to me. I can’t believe I had to move to a city covered in grey clouds and fog (during June and July, no less) to realize this, but I guess I just took it for granted living in Florida and Tennessee. So, when sunshine strikes in San Francisco, I try to take advantage!

This weekend, Scott and I popped over to the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden in Golden Gate Park! We spent a lot of time indoors (seeing The Book of Mormon at the Orpheum and seeing Black Panther at our neighborhood movie theater) so the dose of Vitamin D was much needed.

The tulips were so vibrant and beautiful—I thought I’d share some photos here!IMG_1340

IMG_5070Golden Gate Park is one of those places that we always show to visitors when they’re in town. There is a main park entrance two blocks from my house! The park is full of so many different unique spots, including polo fields, an archery range, multiple gardens and windmills, several museums, a lake for canoeing, and several ponds. (Plus much more!) Golden Gate Park is actually larger than Central Park (fun fact) so naturally there’s always something to do.IMG_6616We are looking forward to many more Sundays to come in Golden Gate Park this spring!

summer of love

I’ve been in San Francisco for nearly three weeks already! I started my job as a Recruiting Coordinator for a tech company on June 26 and the first two weeks have gone great. I even added my Florida Gators to the company alma mater wall already!

IMG_9482.JPG

For this first month and a half, I’ve been subleasing right near Haight – Ashbury. It’s been a blast to live close to good restaurants, supermarkets, and parks.

But, I needed to find something more long-term, and I finalized an apartment this week! I’ll be moving in with two girls in the Outer Richmond, super close to the beach and Golden Gate Park. It’s going to be quite a hike downtown for my commute, but luckily I will be super close to public transportation (and being just 8 blocks from Scott’s house will be really nice and convenient).

Speaking of Scott, we have loved our newfound ability to spend time together (instead of just FaceTiming) and we have already done some super fun things.

We’ve visited restaurants like Sakesan, Brenda’s, Barrel Head, and Sunset Reservoir. I also had the best cinnamon toast of my life at Trouble Coffee Company, an amazing milkshake at Calibur, and insanely delicious pastries at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.

A couple weekends ago, we went up to Sebastopol (in Sonoma County) with two of our friends, Eric and Kasey. They’re wine club members at Moondance Cellars and we had a great time visiting the winery with them. It was a gorgeous property and they even had horses!

IMG_9454

For the 4th of July, we drove down to Capitola (a cute little beach town in the Santa Cruz area). We left gray and dreary San Francisco only to arrive to gray and dreary Capitola—bummer! But luckily an hour or so later (after some shopping and walking around town), it was in the 70’s and brilliant sunshine. It was so hot, in fact, that I had to go buy a tank top because my light sweater was no longer comfortable!

IMG_9617

Capitola was super cute and family friendly. It reminded me a lot of the beaches along 30A back home. Scott and I will definitely be visiting this spot again in the future!

Looking forward, we’re visiting a restaurant this weekend (State Bird Provisions) that we’ve been wanting to try for a long time. We’re visiting Scott’s family in Denver the first week of August (and we’re seeing The Head and the Heart at Red Rocks). We also hope to venture north to a swimming hole, and go see Wonder Woman. (We saw The Big Sick last weekend and loved it!)

All in all I am loving San Francisco so far. I am still getting used to the weather and public transportation, but aside from that—California is being good to me!

i left my heart in san francisco

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 1.50.58 PM

The cat’s out of the bag—I’m moving to San Francisco in just a few weeks! Considering the fact that I visited the Golden State 7 times in the last 18 months, it’s probably no surprise that I’m making the leap.

There are so many exciting things about this move.

  1. It’s San Francisco.
  2. I’ll finally get to live in the same place as Scott.
  3. I’ll get to start a new job with new challenges and coworkers and projects.
  4. I’ll get to explore a part of the country I didn’t get to in my first 25 years living in the South.
  5. I’m going to get really, really good at dressing in layers.
  6. I’m going to eat so much good Chinese food. (And all kinds of food.)
  7. I’m fulfilling my goal for my 20s of living in different kinds of places and experiencing adventure!

I’ll be totally honest and say that there are a few scary parts about this move, too.

  1. I’m leaving behind a lot of wonderful friends and coworkers in Nashville.
  2. I’m moving ~2,500 miles from my family.
  3. I don’t have a job lined up yet, and it’s scary to leave behind a job without having a new one secured.
  4. The cost of living in San Francisco is high. You don’t have to tell me this—I’m aware!

Ultimately, I’m just so pumped to start this new chapter. Scott and I have been doing the long distance thing for about a year now, and while I love FaceTiming him at the end of each day, I’d much rather see his face in person! While eating Chinese food, wearing layers, and living in San Francisco.

IMG_8461


PS – I’m applying and interviewing for jobs now—if you work at a great company with an SF location, please give me a shout! Also, if you ever find yourself in the Bay area, you now have one more friend to call.

moss beach + santa cruz

Earlier this month, I visited Scott in San Francisco for a whirlwind long weekend trip. We spent time with friends (but mostly each other), hung out in Golden Gate park, and we took a super fun day trip, which I’m highlighting here!

We woke up early Saturday morning and went to Devil’s Teeth Baking Company for breakfast. The biscuits were insanely good, as was the cheese danish we split. (I may have eaten 70 percent of it, shh…) From there, we got on the road.

IMG_7937

Scott and I at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach, CA.

We drove down to Moss Beach, reaching Fitzgerald Marine Reserve right around low tide—perfect timing to check out the tidepools. We saw harbor seals just offshore, and in the tidepools we saw sea anemones, hermit crabs, etc.

IMG_8041

Tidepools at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.

The forest on the hill behind the beach (shown in the top photo above) was equally as beautiful as the tidepools themselves. While much of the shoreline was closed off because it’s birthing season for the harbor seals, we really enjoyed the view from the top. (As you can see from the photos, it was quite chilly on this morning on Moss Beach!)

IMG_8284

Bundled up on Moss Beach! Look closely and you can see the harbor seals behind us.

From Moss Beach, we drove south on Highway 1 (my favorite) to Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is half hippie beach town, half college town. Scott has been a few times before and we had a great time poking around downtown in the shops, and then out at the amusement park on the beach.

IMG_7960.JPG

View from the top of the ferris wheel in Santa Cruz.

We shared a margarita before walking over to the boardwalk where we rode the ferris wheel, swings, and failed miserably at a milk bottle carnival game. I failed much more miserably than Scott, to be fair. Finally, we bowled a game (for our March date—blog post coming soon with more info on this) and shocked ourselves and each other with how good we were!

IMG_7994

On top of the world in Santa Cruz!

It was getting late—around 6 pm, and we needed to head back to San Francisco to go to a friend’s birthday party that night. So I convinced my man to get his best gal a coke and ice cream sundae from McDonald’s (#blessed) before we hit the road back north. Overall it was such a fun day, and we plan on having many more day trips like this to come!

i’ve got a crush

…and that crush is on the city of San Francisco.

I visited for about five days last week, and my goodness is that city my new favorite place!  I’d been once before, back in high school, but this trip was totally different.  Whereas previously my time had been spent taking in tourist attractions (you don’t have much say in itinerary when you’re on a high school church trip), this time was all about eating, drinking and wandering.  My kind of trip.

I arrived on Thursday morning, and immediately met my longtime friend Drew at Naked Lunch.  After a delicious lunch, he went back to work and I trekked to his place in the Marina.  (Here’s a view of the Golden Gate Bridge from his neighborhood…lovely!)

IMG_1288

I spent that afternoon doing a bit of work at his place, and exploring the area.  That night, we went out for dinner at a taqueria (giant burritos, goodness gracious) in the Mission and drinks at Magnolia in Dogpatch.  It was wonderful to meet lots of Drew’s friends, and this spot had great beer and atmosphere!

On Friday, while Drew worked from home in the morning, I went out shopping on Chestnut Street near his house.  I bought a few fabulous things, made a few friends around Drew’s neighborhood and even got a job offer to be a nanny!  That afternoon, we got in the car and drove to Mt. Tamalpais  to attempt to hike (emphasis on attempt).  It was too rainy and cold and windy and foggy…so we kept driving.  We had stopped off earlier at the Marin Headlands so I could see the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, which was beautiful.  We wound up heading to Muir Woods once the weather cleared, where we did a bit of walking and took in the beautiful redwoods.

That night, we went to a fun house party to celebrate Drew’s friend’s birthday.  While I was there, I found out that  the “Full House house” (aka one of the Painted Ladies) was just a few blocks away, so naturally I convinced someone to walk with me to check it out.  (Thanks, Scott!)

IMG_1304

The next day, Drew and I went to an event at Tank18 for wine and conversation with friends.  Conversation wound up being tough, as the venue was crazy loud, so Drew and I headed out.  We explored SoMa and eventually headed home to chill out and watch some Suits.  That night, Drew had longstanding plans for drinks, so I met up with one of his friends I’d met a couple nights earlier for a drink at La Urbana.  After that, we went with friends to dinner at Southpaw.

On Sunday, I woke up early and went to a solo breakfast at Home Plate in the Marina.  I wound up having to sit with another solo diner, named Thor…let me just tell you, he might have been the most shallow, insipid person I have ever met.  But the food was good!  I then walked down to the Philz Coffee truck on the water and enjoyed some quiet time looking at the boats.

That afternoon, Drew and I explored North Beach!  He showed me Coit Tower (awesome views of SF and crazy hills).  We then went over to Hayes Valley so I could check out the Warby Parker store.  We wound up spotting this awesome biergarten where we had a pint and pretzel, before hitting up Smitten for some ice cream.  Finally, we went to the Warby Parker store (just had to) before heading out.

IMG_1302

That night (my last night of the trip), Drew treated me to a meal at Trestle.  It was absolutely wonderful and a great way to end the trip before I flew out on Monday morning.

I wish I would’ve taken more photos while I was in the city, but I was caught up in enjoying every single moment.  Not a bad reason to miss out on photo ops!

All in all, I absolutely loved San Francisco.  I would move there tomorrow if I could, but alas, the cost of living is astronomical.  However, if anyone out there is reading this and thinking, “Man, I’d love to financially back a girl’s dream to live in the Bay Area for a while,” feel free to contact me!  😉