How involved should you be in your engagement ring process?

Were you like me growing up?

After seeing proposals as a kid on telly and stuff, I always assumed that the entire process of getting engaged was a giant surprise.

Whenever I would see those jumbotron proposals, I would always think to myself, “What if she says no,” not realizing until a teacher told me later, that a proposal, and an engagement, generally, were discussed at length prior to it happening.

So all that said, when I got into a relationship, the sort where I felt like I could share my life with this person, I had no idea how we were supposed to go about choosing a ring.

Wasn’t I supposed to be surprised?

DID I want to be surprised?

And then I thought about it.

I love Austin so deeply.  However, throughout the course of our nearly four-year courtship, it became apparent that he might need some help picking out the jewelry that would symbolize the start of our relationship together.

For one, he was colorblind.  When colors, especially those on the same note, were mashed together, he couldn’t tell the difference, which I learned after we spent a weekend painting together.

For two, he was a straight male engineer.  Engineers are notoriously no-frills.  He likes his hair buzzed.  He doesn’t like fancy clothes.  And fashion isn’t one of his main concerns.  And knowing that, I still decided to try the whole “going to pick out a genre of ring, and letting my man decide” thing.





My husband didn’t know what to do.  He didn’t know what was a pretty metal.  He didn’t understand why I liked the stone in a certain shape.

So off to the jeweler we went.

We went to a custom jeweler in 5-Points who sat down with both of us.  Austin gave him his budget on the DL, and I gave him what I wanted, after I figured out what I wanted.  The day Austin got down on his knee, I was surprised, happy, and I think Austin was happy with my answer 🙂

So to answer the original question?

It’s really a matter of individual preference.  But for me?  I liked having my hand in the design process.

What do you think?  How involved will you (were you) in the engagement ring process?


Engagement anxiety.

Being married is my favorite thing ever.  Everyone keeps asking me what I think about being married, and honestly, it has been beyond amazing.  I felt, a few days ago, for one of the first times, that we’re settling into marriage, which is a beautiful thing.  It was nice to look out of the window a few days ago, see the shed that my husband painted, and kind of smile and think, “we’re building something together!”  And I know, marriage isn’t all la la la kittens and baby turtles, but in the time that it is, I’m relishing the time and drinking it all in.


We got married at a pretty standard age I think, in fact, I’m a little older than some of my friends were getting married.  But, I think I’m starting to get into the season of my life where I’m seeing a ton of weddings and a ton of engagements, and I’m so happy for folks.  I am so pumped.  But I wonder if any of these brides have experienced any of the engagement anxiety that comes with being engaged.

The reason this came up?  A few days ago, I ran into a friend who was brand, brand, newly engaged.  I spotted her hand sparkling and asked her about it.  She raised her arm, almost zombie-like, and showed me.

“Oh my gosh,” I said!  “When did you guys get engaged???!”

“Last night,” she quietly drawled.

She didn’t seem sad.  But she didn’t seem happy.  If anything, she seemed a little…stunned?

And I think that’s perfectly normal.  You’ve just made the pre-commitment to commit to someone for the rest of your life.  That said, it’s normal to feel:

  • Stupid happy.
  • Like a grown-up.  You might not feel like a grown up, because grown ups, in your mind, are old and go to bed early.  And they never drink too much.  And all of a sudden, you’ve done something that really old grown people do.  And you might start to feel old.
  • A little stunned.
  • Tired.  You’re showing off your hand, you’ve recounted your proposal story about 400 times, and people keep asking when the date is, when you’ve only been engaged for like a week.  It’s a lot of attention.  I thought I liked attention before we got married.  Woof, that was a lot.

I can’t speak for the men, but I’m fairly certain they too go through the “oh, shit” phase before it passes and you’re married to your best bud.  So remember, my engaged friends, it’s okay to have some or all of the above feelings for a few weeks after engagement.

What was one big life change that had you stunned for a day or two?  

Wedding Wednesday: The Engagement Sessions

It’s really fun to do these Wedding Wednesday posts now that I’m married, and I’m not taking any time away from doing any wedding things. Yes, I could be writing some more thank-you notes at this precise second, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

So I have a confession to make.  A big, huge, horrible confession.  A confession that I’m ashamed to make.  But…years and years ago, I asked myself as I looked at a friend’s engagement photos, I thought to myself – “What is the point of engagement photos?”

Even after we were engaged, I wasn’t necessarily sure what the point was of getting these photos done.

Couldn’t we just save the money, skip the photos, create a really cute save-the-date without our faces being plastered all over them?  And I suppose we could have…until we saw the engagement photos of this gorgeous couple I went to school with.  The engagement photos literally took your breath away, and suddenly, as we were gathering a down payment on the house that would be our first home together as a married couple, I envisioned a home with zero pictures of us when we were young and freshly-engaged.  And I couldn’t do it.

So a year after we were engaged, I contacted the gentleman that I knew wanted to do our photos, and explained our weird situation to him.  He seemed open to the idea of it, even a year after our engagement, and he agreed, with all the grace that a human being could have with a silly couple like us.

image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios

And once we spent the afternoon with Cole of Blest, it became extremely clear why engagement photos were important, perhaps even necessary, when you’re getting married.  

  1. Luckily, I knew Cole, and Blest Studios long before I was engaged, and I knew that the quality of his work was head and shoulders above what I’d seen from other photographers.  However, taking this photos really got me comfortable in doing photos with my husband.  You might think you’re really comfortable with someone – until you have to take photos of you making out and groping your husband on camera.  It really, really gets you comfy with each other. 
  2. Taking these photos gets you comfy with your photog.  Especially in cases when you don’t know your photog or his or her work, this can be really important.  I mean, you don’t want someone to eff up your memories, right?  If it takes some money for you to find out that you don’t jive at all with your photographer, why not, right?
  3. They serve as memories of an incredible times with your spouse.  We didn’t take the photos right after we got engaged, however, even after waiting a year, the pics, even taken a month-and-a-half ago, remind me of a beautiful time, where we met up in a park and met up with a friend to take some photos.  I remember being nervous, I remember showing Cole the spot we got engaged at, and I remember feeling so close to Austin as our story seemed to unfold for Cole. I won’t be forgetting that anytime soon. 
  4. You know what you’re gonna be getting for your wedding.  Direction, organization, light, editing.  We got the good stuff – and we knew that. And you will know that with engagement photos. 

I can admit when I’m being kinda rude, and kind of judgey.  Engagement photos?  Worth it.  

Check out Blest Studios, whether you’re engaged, pregs, celebrating an anniversary, or if you just want some gorge photos of yourself.

Annnnd they’re not paying me to say this.  I mean, it would be cool if they were.  And I’m opening the floor now for some payment 🙂 but Blest is just that good. 

Did you do engagement/pregnancy/anniversary photos?

I witnessed a fantasy draft.

So wayyyy back when we were looking at wedding venues (it feels forever ago now,) we almost got married on the 6th of September.

I say almost because Austin took one look at that date, and said something along the lines of “Babe, we can’t get married then because I might miss my fantasy draft!”

I was dumbfounded – NFL is not really my thing, and I had so much fun with this wedding, I literally thought he was kidding when he said he couldn’t have it then.  Then I realized how serious it was when a friend of ours got married on a Sunday mid-September.  Austin begged for me to see if I could get the televisions at the venue turned on (absolutely not), and then left the wedding with like a millions guys in tow to find a television to watch the game.

Well, I witnessed a fantasy draft on Friday night, and it was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.  12 men sat around at a table.  They hung up this…paper poster thingie on the wall and they had printed stickers of all the players.  They each brought in $50 for the pot.  And then, for three hours, three hours, they went around the table, drafting players, while I looked on in astonishment.  I have never seen 12 men so attentive and focused on anything in my entire life – and it was incredible.

Apparently, this fantasy thing is kind of a big deal?

Engagement Photos

So, this a little bit of a right turn, but instead of being a normal couple, we waited over a year after our engagement, just weeks before the wedding, to do our engagement photos.  I’ll talk more about that on Wedding Wednesday, because the entire process of doing the engagement shoot was really interesting and fun.  But originally, we weren’t going to do the whole engagement shoot thing, but I got a little sad when I saw how beautiful a friend’s turned out and blah blah blah you get it.

So anyhoo, one of the best gifts I received on our wedding day that I forgot that I was going to get was a beautiful jump drive with ALL of our engagement photos on it – and lucky day – I’ll share a couple of them with you!

Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios

Obviously, I have well over 100 photos, and I will gladly share them with you via email if you’re curious, but these were my faves!

Happy Labor day, beautiful people, and stay safe! 

Things I will do on the 4th of July…

I’m sitting here, and I don’t really know what to do with myself.

After I taught my Thursday night Zumba class at the Y, I actually had time to hop on the bike and ride for a while, and lift because…I had nowhere to be early on Friday morning….because it’s the 4th!

I feel so fortunate.  I am a global thinker, and I am going to love, once we get married, to travel all over with my hubby.  But my parents both come from developing nations, and because of that, I feel like I have an appreciation for the States.  I get really up in arms about politics here, about decisions the Supreme Court makes, about things I see on social media, and especially during elections – presidential and midterm, but once in a while, I have to step back and marvel at the fact that we live in a country where that sort of thing can do down, and you won’t get your head chopped off for voicing your opinion.  Let’s not take that for granted.

So one cool thing about the 4th is that my agency is closed, meaning that I have Friday 100% off.

A day in the middle of the week off?  YAAAS HONEY.

So in order for this day to be 100% successful, I have to make a list to make sure I hit everything to make this the best best best best best 4th day off in the middle of the week ever.

Things I will do on the 4th of July:

  • Give my hubby-to-be a kiss before I forget – the 5th of July is our 1-year anniversary of being engaged, and all I have is pee-in-my-pants excitement about getting to marry Austin.  Eep eep!
  • Work on my blog, and go read some other blogs.  The past few days, what with invites and all, I have not gotten as much time to read, and I’d love to catch up on some of my blogging babes.  I have some really amazing chicks I look up to, and I’m so so fortunate to have them in my life.
  • Run the Raleigh Downhill Mile.  It’s a race that consists of…one downhill mile.  I’m not sure how fast I can do it – it may be really hot, and my poor tendon might not be feeling its best, but I’d like to gauge how I do a mile when I go balls to the wall for a mile.
  • Visit a newly-married friend!  A friend of mine and her new husband bought a house, and we want to head over to her place to give them something for their nice, new house!
  • Nap. NO explanation required.
  • Do something wedding related. Idk what that is yet, but it couldn’t hurt right?
  • Download ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ on my Kindle. A librarian told me I MUST.
  • Go to the pool and socialize with young thangs drinking beer and chicken fighting with each other.

What are your plans on this beautiful 4th?  Anyone experiencing any nasty Arthur weather? 

Wedding Wednesday: Almost 3 months away!

I say this every week, and I will continue to say this – I don’t know where the weeks are going.  I’m in love with the fact that the time is flying by, and that after the harsh winter from hell that we’re already having 90-degree days in Raleigh, but as far as wedding planning goes, this time rocketing by thing is a little scary.  Nevertheless, taking the time out to make a few lists and holding myself accountable by telling you guys about what I’ve been up to has been so helpful.

So first things first.

I had another stress dream last night, this one involving my wedding dress.

My dress has long been ordered, and it’s to die for.  It’s sexy, and still classy, and perfect for the barn bash we’re throwing in August.  But in my dream last night, it was anything but the things I just described.

When I looked in the mirror, the dress contained this like, pink piping around the shoulders.  “This isn’t what we ordered,” I said to myself, and I ripped the silky piping off, to reveal a wedding dress that looked like a golden suit of armor underneath.  Then I woke up sobbing late for work.

Stress dreams aside, things are great!  Save-the-dates are out, like I said last week, and there were only a few people who asked about theirs, one of whom gave me his address incorrectly (my sister did that too 😦 ).  We are meeting the DJ tonight, and I’ve pretty solidly nailed down the costs for him, and for the rehearsal dinner, which came in a hefty amount less than I thought it was going to be for about 20 folks!  I love saving money!

The crafting part has been really fun too.  Over the past few weeks, I have been trolling the Craiglist for mason jars + jelly jars for favors, and at first, I couldn’t find anything, and then the heavens exploded with jars.  I have a friend getting married this weekend, and she has over 50 jars.  I have so many jars that I’ve either purchased for cheap or gotten for free.  And now, it’s just a matter of painting/decorating them/filling them with pretty things.

photo 3

Alsoooooo, I finally got to see my younger sister in person, who’s also engaged too.  I’m getting married in 3 months, and she’s thinking a December wedding.

Bahhh this is so fun!

My brides, how are you hanging in there?

Wedding Wednesday!


Okay, so I was planning for my Wedding Wednesday (hashtag Wedding Wednesday on the Twitter) posts to continue maybe only through my wedding, which is in August.  Well we get to continue these posts cause guess what?

20140412_111714 unnamedMy little sister is engaged, and I could not be more happy for her!

More posts!  More wedding stuff!  more helping her figure out the stuff that I need!  And guess what wedding nerds?  That means more posts for you! (Provided she doesn’t elope).  I’m not making any guarantees though.


I don’t think that I’m a major bridezilla, but something happened today that was no one’s fault, but I felt myself melting down a little bit.  Ladies, do everything you need to do early cause I promise you, this will happen.  But yesterday, when I called to check on the save-the-dates, a mistake had been made (not on the part of the paper shop), and the pre-invites were not ready.  And I almost burst into tears.  I don’t know why exactly, but I’d planned to have this finished weeks ago.  Why this?!

I talked to my mom, and one of my bridesmaids, and they both assured me it was fine, and that we had plenty of time.  Okay.  But it still really freaked me out.

Anyone else run into planning issues?  Also!  My sister is engaged!


10 things I wish I’d known at 20.

I feel really reflective this time of year.  Not in a bad, I’ve screwed up my entire life kind of way, but in a, look at what I’ve done this year kind of way.

I was on Twitter yesterday, and noticed a friend of mine, still a student at my wonderful alma mater, lamenting that he couldn’t wait til he graduated to get out of there.

I was there.  I think we all were there, especially toward the end of undergrad, when you’re 25-pounds plus more than when you entered the door, and your liver is revolting for all the awful things you’ve done to it, especially that second semester of senior year.  Yikes.  But here are 20 things I wish I’d known at 20 (or technically 21, which was when I graduated, but 20 kinda rolls off the tongue better.)

  1. Take care of your body.  A lot of the weight I gained during undergrad didn’t just have to do with my horrid diet, but it had to do with the fact that I never worked out.  I would work out once in a while, get super sore, and not embark on another workout adventure for weeks at at  a time.  Had I figured out that working out would transform my body and my palate, I would have saved my self hours of lifting up my shirt in front of the bathroom mirror, sucking my belly in, and telling myself I could never get my stomach to look like that.
  2. While you’re taking care of your body, quit hating on it so much.  Putting crap in and never working out also served to create a thick, greasy, layer of hatred and self-loathing for my body.  Now that I work out, you can’t tell me nothing.  Cause I am extremely fly.  Extremely fly.
  3. Networking is so important.  I ran into this kid at homecoming who was starting the job search and I gave him my dad’s email address, since my dad is pretty high up at a financial institution.  I don’t know why he never contacted my dad, but when someone gives you an email address or a phone number and tells you to call it for a job, do it.  I learned this the hard way.  But use everyone around you as a resource for your job purposes.
  4. Do your thang.  There was a time in my life when someone making fun of me would have sent me over the edge.  But if I had allowed it to tear me up so badly that I never taught a Zumba class, for example, I would not be sitting on my sexy behind writing to you all.   So make fun of me for my running, my love of coffee, hummus, and three-quarter tights, I will not be giving any effs any time soon.
  5. Don’t take that breakup so hard because…
  6. You’re not in love.  I have not been in love until I met my husband-to-be.  And I wish I hadn’t taken it so hard when I broke up with my two serious boyfriends in college.  With both, I suffered incredibly crushing heartache, and I literally thought that the pain of the situation was going to kill me.  It didn’t, and I grew back stronger, kinda like a weed.
  7. Cherish good friendships.  I have a ton of friends.  But the quality friendships, I like to nurture, water, and feed.  Good people who will support you when, for example, your mom has a stroke, are hard to find.  Keep them close.
  8. Dump bad friends.  Nobody’s forcing you to stay friends with the butt who lived on your hall your second semester of freshman year.  Dump them on Facebook, dump them and real life, and laugh in their faces when they try to get themselves invited to your wedding 6 years later.
  9. Work hard.  Play harder.  That’s not just the rule in college – it’s the rule in real life.  If you don’t play enough, you will turn out to be super stressed and super broken.
  10. When in doubt, run.  Don’t run fast if you can’t.  But just run.  You will be absolutely shocked at the things running can fix.

What 10 things do you wish you’d known at 20?  

Jingle Ball!

Before we get started, a moment of reflection for Nelson Mandela, who passed away yesterday at the age of 95.

When I was watching coverage about his passing on CNN, a few things really struck me.  One, all the video they showed of him, he was smiling and dancing, which is exactly how I’m sure he would have like to be remembered.  And the second thing came this morning, where a friend of Nelson Mandela’s stated that he didn’t view this loss as Mandela’s death, but as freeing his spirit from an ailing body.  I just love that.


The man also never ages.  I was watching video from his 90th Birthday party, where my favorite fellow Jew, Amy Winehouse, performed, which was right after she’d won a bunch of Grammy Awards.  I loved the video because you’ve got Mandiba, who at the time is 90, and is watching this little squirrel of a jazz singer scurry all over the stage.  At one point, you see an aid of Mr. Mandela’s sort of motion toward Amy and try to explain what she is.  It’s so cute.

But really, nothing I can say here will do Nelson Mandela any justice.  He was, and is a beautiful spirit.

Now, speaking of some beautiful spirits – The Jingle Ball last night in Raleigh.  So, I talked about it  before, but basically, the Jingle Ball is a beautiful ball, and the price for admission is a child’s toy, valued between like $20 and $30.  So me, Austin, and my friend Kim from undergrad orchestrated an evening where I was still able to run, teach my class, shower at the gym, and still get to the ball with plenty of time to party and dance.

This isn’t even all of the toys collected. The mountain was so huge, I had chills just looking at it.


Rocky Top Catering did the food, there were free drinks, and the DJ was so bomb, that I got his card for our wedding.  I saw everyone that was anyone in Raleigh, realtors, everyone from run club (cause runners are amazing nice people, duh), and a few folks from my job.  The best part of the night happened when the DJ proposed to his girlfriend on stage, stating “Baby, we’re not going ring shopping this weekend.” CAUSE HE ALREADY BOUGHT THE RING OMGOMGGOMG!



The second best part of the night, other than getting to dance it away with my future husband and good friends was when I realized that with my beautiful and expensive ModCloth dress, I had completed the look by forgetting and leaving my Garmin on my wrist.  So as the night was wrapping up, I made sure I took a pic in my beautiful dress (that had pockets and a stunning neckline and garnered a million compliments) and my Garmin 610.  Happy Holidays!