A new chapter has begun in my life and I’m going to blog about it – yes, you read it right. I’ve decided to open my personal life up for all to see! Those of you who know me, know that this is a big step for me – no, let’s be honest, it’s a flying leap. For those of you who don’t, well, you’re just lucky enough to get to know me now that I’ve reached this new carefree, open phase of life. Hooray! Anyone who holds Justin and I near and dear, needs ideas for their own upcoming wedding, loves LOVE or just likes to snoop online when bored at work is welcome to read on…

December 9, 2011 marks the day that everything changed. Justin had told me a couple months prior about his plan to schedule a weekend get away for us. Usually we do alot of planning together but in the weeks following, he didn’t include me in any of the details! He wanted it to be a surprise. I happily obliged and did my best to go with the flow. Definitely not my strong suit but, and I think Justin will agree, I did pretty well without asking too many pestering questions. So when we arrived to San Francisco on that sunny December morning, I very willingly did whatever he suggested without worrying about the rest of our itinerary. We wandered all over downtown on foot and even made our way to the ever popular Lombard Street where we snapped one of my new favorite shots of us (above). After we’d had our fill of city sights, we hailed a taxi and headed back to our hotel. I had a few minutes to slip off my shoes and rest my achey feet before receiving a knock at the door – here’s where the surprises start rolling in. I opened the door to find my sister and her husband. Surprise number one! This is the moment when all fleeting thoughts of a romantic proposal that dared to make their way to my silly imagination bolted out the door, down to the lobby and exited the premises to hail a taxi of their own. I quickly realized this trip wasn’t going to be a fun filled adventure for just the two of us after all. It was time to gear up for a few days of group activities. The first of which, I soon found out, was going to be an evening of ice skating in Union Square. Surprise number two! Keep in mind, I hadn’t skated since I was twelve and even then I wasn’t great at it, but I decided to grin and bear it…I’m a carefree, go with the flow kind of girl now, remember? So I grabbed my coat and a warm pair of socks and we headed to the rink. All the while, unbeknownst to me, Justin had a very special, sparkly something in his pocket, just waiting for the perfect moment to make it’s way to a certain finger of mine.

Before going any further, let me just say, Christmas time downtown is unbelievable. Skyscrapers covered from head to tow in glittering lights, wreaths in every window, and of course a larger than life Christmas tree at the center of it all, glowing with warm wishes. Oh, and did I forget to mention the holiday tunes wafting through the air? That is what we found ourselves surrounded by as the four of us stepped, with slight hesitation (on my part), onto the ice. After wobbling around for awhile on weak ankles, I was finally starting to get the hang of it when Justin suggested we pull off to the side for a minute to take a breather. So we skated hand in hand to the edge of the rink. No big deal, right? Boy, was I mistaken. That’s when he decided to profess his love to me and that he didn’t want to be with anyone else. Best surprise ever! Yes, ladies, he did attempt to get down on one knee before placing that dazzling ring on my finger, however, it proved to be potentially hazardous in a pair of slippery skates. So cute! I remember exclaiming ‘yes!’ and then things got a little fuzzy after that. Overwhelmingly exciting, life changing moments tend to have that effect on me. I do remember the whole ice skating rink roaring with applause and cheers of congratulations – just like in the movies but it was real life. My real life. It was so romantic, so festive, and so perfect!

The rest of the weekend was spent in newly engaged bliss. There’s just something about walking down a busy, crowded street full of strangers while holding hands with the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with – your outlook on everything changes. It’s such an amazing feeling. Everything we did – eating breakfast across the table from each other at Rocco’s Cafe, taking pictures together at the Golden Gate Bridge, heading to the airport sitting side by side on the Bart – I couldn’t help but take little mental pictures along the way and really soak in the fact that I was experiencing it with the man I’m going to marry. Big deal.

So it begins…lots of planning and lots of excitement with a few tears of frustration and joy along the way! All of which I’m going to dare to keep you posted. xo. Alanna