How We Met
Randomly throwing an eight-day vacation together just a few weeks in advance, I went to Ocean City, MD with a few friends (some I hadn’t even met yet) over Labor Day weekend. Even more random and unplanned than my trip down to OCMD, Tony had received a text from a friend to make the eight-hour drive from Pittsburgh that evening, and he canceled plans with his parents to make the journey. About half-way through, he and his friend thought about turning around (it was the middle of the night), then they really almost went back when they arrived and weren’t finding a hotel. However, they finally found a tiny (and very expensive room) and slept for a few hours before coming over to meet up with our group.
That evening, as we were all doing our hair and makeup for the night over drinks, I saw this (beautiful) guy walk into our hotel room. I quickly shut the bedroom door where my friends and I were getting ready, and immediately asked a friend “Who is that guy?” about thirty minutes later I was out of the room, and he introduced himself as Tony. Over the next two days in Ocean City, I learned that Tony and I had SO much in common, we both worked in creative industries, loved life in the city, enjoyed cycling and had similar music (and dancing) tastes, and both constantly wanted to explore our city of Pittsburgh and beyond. We chatted for hours between the two days and he asked to take me out on a date when we were back in Pittsburgh. Tony left Ocean City several days before my vacation was over, but I was looking forward to seeing him again the entire time.
That evening when I returned to Pittsburgh, we had dinner at Lot 17 in Bloomfield; he knew I was a pescetarian at the time, but I don’t think he realized that meant it would be good to check the menu beforehand. Luckily I was able to eat a mushroom dish and some fries (thinking back this is all very funny to me because we’re now both vegan and our lives essentially revolve around eating at the best vegan restaurants). We continued to chat about work, dreams, and activities we enjoyed well into the night and made plans to see each other again. The following weekend, Tony took me to a gorgeous outdoor garden Thai restaurant, Pusadee’s Garden, where we shared a bottle of white wine and dined on pumpkin curry while surrounded by plants, fresh fall air, and sparkling lights. He told me that all his coworkers recommended this spot, and I could see why-this later would become a place we frequented thanks to that special night. I’ve always loved that he cared enough about our date to ask around for a good spot. Over the five years that followed that Labor Day weekend chance encounter, we’ve explored several cities and parks, adopted three incredible dogs, started our dream careers, and moved across the country. I couldn’t imagine having all this fun with anyone else!
how they asked
On the day of our Five Year Anniversary, Labor Day weekend 2017, Tony and I packed our bags and hit the road for an early celebration of his 30th birthday! We planned a road trip from our home in Los Angeles all the way up to Vancouver, BC over eight days. What I didn’t know was that Tony envisioned a beautiful proposal at whichever point in our journey stuck out to him–this happened to be our first day, in Yosemite National Park. I’ll admit I was a tiny bit crabby beforehand, from waking up at 3am to get into the park before other tourists, and because our hike started to get a bit challenging.
Once we got to the top of our first waterfall, Vernal Falls, all my bad thoughts were gone-this place was BEAUTIFUL. I was in awe of the sunlight peeking through the different types of trees, the rushing rapids, little animals, and general vast beauty. I remember Tony catching me just slowly spinning around as I looked up in wonder until I landed on his face, and he smirked, probably because he knew what he was going to ask me.
We walked down to the water where it was calm and dipped our fingers in, then headed over to a rock overlooking the water to sit for a moment. Looking back, I think he planned to do it there, but we moved on since other tourists wanted to see this view as well. A few seconds later, we sat down on a rock facing a second fall, where Tony said to sit down because he wanted to “give me my anniversary gift,” it was a super cute book of photos that we’ve taken over the five years. He hand-picked the photos and even used an exacto-knife to cut the images into squares. He told me this was the “five-year edition” of photo books, since he also created a book for our first anniversary. I flipped through several pages of photos of us and our dogs from our adventures from the last five years, and when I got to the last page he had a question for me. I looked up and he said “Ashley, I love you, will you marry me?” Of course I said “yes!” I really loved how he took all of our past and brought it to the present, and we couldn’t have been surrounded by anything more beautiful than Yosemite!
The next eight days were complete bliss as we drove from Yosemite, to Lake Tahoe, to Mendocino, CA, to a farm sanctuary in Medford, OR, then Portland, Mt. Rainer, Seattle, Port Townsend, Vancouver, BC., and Whistler, BC. At each spot, we celebrated our engagement over and over again and in different ways, making it a proposal and trip that I’ll remember for the rest of my life!