Wednesday, November 29, 2017

2016 Memories

2016 was the year of life events. I got married, honeymooned in Greece, and moved gracefully away from posting personal details. But during Outsidelands (fourth year attending!), my iPhone was stolen and I quickly discovered my photos were not backed up. Within the same month, my honeymoon journal was nowhere to be found and the whole search resulted in my annual appreciation for blogging where memories are safe from festival pickpockets or lost luggage.

When I look back, 2016 had two parts: wedding celebrations and everything else. The wedding was such a unique and beautiful experience that gave me a year worth of inspiration, projects, trips, and excitement. While planning, I realized the paradox of weddings is that they are all so similar but to the couple so much thought goes into each detail that it feels incredibly personal and representative of you.
The wedding year kicked off with all the major celebrations:
  • Engagement photos

  •  A bridal shower in my home town.

  • A bachelorette in Vegas.

  • The wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. 

  • Our wedding day! One of the most amazing days filled with beautiful details that our friends and family helped to make happen.
Before we had any wedding plans in place, Scott and I knew that we were going to Greece for our honeymoon -- it was even on our bucket list that I wrote out a few years ago. Despite traveling together to Brussels and Paris or visiting each other in Prague and Copenhagen, we realized our honeymoon was our first international trip together of a substantial amount of time. Our 2 weeks in Athens, Naxos, and Santorini ended up being the best vacation of my life and lived up to the hype I've built around the country for years.

While the wedding was the main theme, so many amazing things happened this year:

Especially when New Years Day kicks off with a camel ride and sweet green tea in the Moroccan desert. I headed over right after Christmas to visiting my sister while she studied abroad in Alicante, Spain. She showed off her favorite places in the city, and we managed to sneak in a few days of traipsing through Madrid and Marrakesh.
Over Valentines weekend, Scott and I went to June Lake with his brother and girlfriend in our first trip back since the proposal. We spent the weekend at the new brewery, played in snow without waterproof clothes, and skied for the first time in about a decade. I grew up going to June Lake Mountain with my family and had been down every run in high school. Back on my skis, I could not have had more fun showing off the mountain to Scott and realizing that there is finally one sport where I beat him.

Halfway through the year, my grandma took us to one last Hawaiian vacation with just our immediate family before the wedding. Scott, you are invited next time! It was a perfect quick trip since the honeymoon was taking most of my time off, but it was enough time to relax and feel the Hawaiian vibes that always draw me in. I worked on my tan and mai tais while boating, snorkeling, and pool hopping.
We spent our 10 year anniversary in Waco, Texas for a family wedding. Scott's brother was getting married and gave Scott and I an opportunity to practice walking down the aisle together before our big day. After flying into Dallas a few days early, we road tripped over to Waco. Between some adorable coffee shops and a stop at Czech bakery in the middle of nowhere, the few days before the weekend were super sweet. Scott had planned a dinner at the fanciest steak house in Waco where we enjoyed Texas portions of rosemary popovers, lobster bisque, and amazing steak. With the low lighting, flowers on the table, amazing food, and corner booth, that Texas summer dinner was easily one of our top 5 romantic dinners. The next days included a wedding rehearsal with Mexican food by the river and an amazing wedding with true Texas BBQ followed by all night dancing. Not to mention, I gained a sister in law!
My 24th Birthday was low key since it meant we were less than a month away from the wedding, but it included a day that was surprisingly perfect. Scott and I headed over to the Treasure Island Flea Market, grabbed donuts from a food truck, and started exploring some of the booths. Within minutes we celebrated some major wedding wins. I had been on a fruitless search for frames for the table seating and decades of couple photos, and we found huge, beautiful frames on the cheap that were too good to be true. With just a few weeks before the wedding, crossing off that find and starting with some donuts was the perfect gift for that year.

In what's becoming an annual tradition since moving to San Francisco, we had a huge group together for our third round of Outsidelands. This year we grabbed a day pass and enjoyed playing around the festival. It ended up being so much fun and the perfect amount of time to fit into a busy summer. 

We spent the rest of the year attending two more weddings (taking our total count including ours to 6!), moving our focus away from the wedding to our financial goals, careers, and decorating our apartment, and finally celebrating our first holiday as a married couple. 

It was such a great year, it seems like a waste to not document it as much as possible. Especially since this blog has proved that even years I keep coming back to and fills me with so much gratitude.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Engagement party

Before my engagement party, my only knowledge of them came from the movie Bridesmaids. While that scene remains one of my favorite movie references ("the dessert wine is out," anyone?), my engagement party turned out to be one of the most lovely nights of the engagement so far. My grandma took the reigns for this party, and I simply gave a few names to invite. My mom had bought me a cute white dress for my birthday a few weeks before and I took the opportunity to don my first white dress since the proposal (btw props to mom for picking out the perfect dress on her own, I loved it!).

I was blown away. The house was marked with adorable champagne and gold balloons, and you walked into the most elegant outdoor dinner party that could exist. I wandered around checking out all the details -- the bride and groom signs above the chairs, the queen of hearts card wine marker, and lights strung everywhere. I was so overwhelmed with and the beautiful decorations that it felt like the small backyard wedding of my dreams.

The craziest part is that Wendy didn't have any knowledge of Pinterest and is simply an amazing hostess, cook, and design genius. Event better, having all my high school friends, family, future inlaws, and most college friends in one place was an incredible feeling and led to a great party. There were many reunions with friends I hadn't seen in months (years?), and it felt so odd and fun having everyone there to celebrate me and Scott. It was wonderful and gave me a slight idea of what the actual wedding will feel like.

Our meal was served on long tables on the raised green backyard area, and Scott and I sat in front of a the old clay fire pit surrounded by friends and family. After dinner, Wendy surprised us with a cake (which included a classic college beach picture) and gave us a knife to make the first cut. Just to add to the warm fuzzy feelings, she let us know that it was the knife my parents used to cut their wedding cake decades ago. Sure enough, it had their names and wedding date engraved on the blade.

With cake passed around and champagne glasses filled, both of our dads stood up to give a toast. Scott's introverted Dad had everyone cracking up with hilarious jokes, while my extroverted Dad started tearing up--leading to chain reaction. I had no idea I would love (the slightly ironic) toasts as much I did, but I have realized it's such a unique experience to have your loved ones talk about how they view your relationship and love. Needless to say, I am taking note while planning the rehearsal dinner.

We ended the night staying up late with a few lingering friends, finishing off the cake, and opening up gifts and cards. My love of paper products and stationary exponentially grew with each engagement card as they became increasingly adorable and thoughtful. Although unexpected (we hadn't registered), we also received some amazing gifts. A beautiful Anthropology blanket, adorable pillow cases, candles, mugs (which we use daily), and a thoughtful Greece travel guide book for honeymoon planning plus more. 

I ended that night feeling so grateful for the friends and family who came to celebrate, happy to have a hostess who knows how to perfectly execute an event on my wedding planning team, and most of all excited that the wedding process had officially started. It was only one month prior that we had picked out our venue and date, and a few weeks since I started asking bridesmaids. This event sealed the deal on the fact that wedding planning and the engagement had truly started.

Looking around at the engagement party, I could see my wedding vision pictured. Elegant, natural, European rustic and surrounded by love. Several months have passed since that night as we are now under the 6 month mark, but I can't let a beautiful memory that kickstarted a fun momentous period of Scott and my lives not go recorded.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Lakeside Proposal

I grew up going to my family's cabin in June Lake my whole life. It's been the source of amazing memories--summer days filled by jumping in the lake, rock climbing with siblings, and tons of time with family and friends; not to mention, winters of skiing June Mountain and building snow forts in the cabin driveway. Scott has been up to the cabin in the past few years on a family vacation and he fell in love with it as much as I have (a positive sign, if you ask me).  This blog has seen a few posts on adventures I've had in the Mammoth area, and it just feels right that one of my favorite places that been a part of my life since childhood, is now the story of my engagement and soon future major milestones.

The plan: My childhood friend Turner and I left our beloved southern California and ended up in Portland and San Francisco. We decided to plan a girl's weekend together at my grandparent's cabin in June Lake, CA. Since her parents and my aunt recently moved to Reno, we decided it was the perfect place to join forces and drive out to the cabin for a weekend.

What actually happened: Scott and Turner had been orchestrating a secret proposal, and I somehow had no idea.

One reason the proposal was such a surprise was because it was such a crazy weekend leading up to it. I spent the week on my first independent business trip in Chicago (aka not a conference) and first time in Illinois. Between the time change, work events, and meeting with a friend for dinner, it was fun but hectic. After Chicago, it was a bumpy flight back to Reno where I saw my aunt's new house and hung out for two days with them. The funniest part is that she knew what was coming and subtly planned a day of activities including getting a manicure and shooting some rifles (aunt and uncle came from Texas, y'all).  Finally, my friend flew into Reno and we were off on the drive to June Lake. We got in late, headed to bed to be rested for what was going to be an eventful day.

The next morning was spent at a cute little mountain town coffee shop complete with a sugared up coffee drinks, fresh made pastries, and the owner's old golden retriever laying by the wood burning stove. Once we were fed and caffeinated, Turner and I went on a short walk down the small one street town center and the small winding roads filled with old timey motels, cabins, and lake views.

One of the most impressive parts of the proposal weekend was that while I was enjoying my mountain retreat and talking to Turner for hours (including conversations about possible engagement), she didn't give a single clue away. I'm not sure exactly how she managed to keep it a surprise or a straight face, but she convinced me to throw on a maxi dress and some makeup before we were off to June Lake's new brewery. There she tried to stop me from ordering the pulled pork quesadilla, but I continued my blissful ignorance and ate the entire thing. A few beer flights later, and Turner suggested we walk back to the cabin.

As we were about to turn up the driveway to the cabin, I saw Scott standing in a suit at the path to the dock and I immediately knew what was happening. Turner ran up to the cabin, and Scott led me down to the edge of the dock talking about us, our future, and even the role that June Lake will play in our lives. He was being sweet and romantic, and unfortunately I was in so much shock that I wasn't quite reacting to anything (outwardly). Finally, he got one one knee and showed me the most beautiful ring that he had created and I managed to get out my yes. A few people on their fishing boats cheered, we kissed, and Scott turned me around back towards the cabin. On the deck popped out some of our closest friends cheering -- and I was even more shocked then I knew possible. Turner, my sister, my high school bestie and current SF roommate, Scott's best friend, my college best friend, and another high school friend had all driven multiple hours to watch and celebrate.

The rest of the night was spent with bottles of champagne, pizza from the local shop, jumping in the lake in our underwear (and amazing friends who somehow forgave us for being a casualty of that), Harry Potter movies as we lost a few to sleep, and a lot of staring at my new ring finger.

The next morning was spent at the same coffee shop and a similar walk this time as a newly engaged women surrounded by my fiance and friends. A quick clean up later, and it was time to say our goodbyes as we all parted ways. I wish I could better put into words how much this weekend meant to me. For Scott to know one of my favorite places and make it a lifelong memory for us, for him to orchestrate a real genuine surprise (and my friend to pull it off), and to know that I would love to celebrate with friends after. It was proof that he really does know me, and I wouldn't change a thing -- except maybe have a stronger reaction. Ends up when I am truly, mind blowingly shocked my face kinda becomes expressionless haha.

Just as touching was the fact that our friends had traveled hours to a remote cabin in the mountains to be there for that special moment and celebrate. I have a "behind the stage" video and it just means so much to me to hear the support, love and excitement are friends had and the fact that they were willing to dedicate their weekend (and the majority of it to travel) to be there for us. I already feel so lucky and loved.

This is obviously a few months late and wedding planning is already underway, but I'm excited to get it on the blog for memories and years to come.