how we met
The first time I met Steph, I have to admit I didn’t give him much thought. To start, he was seventeen years old and I was twenty-two, working as a newly graduated hair stylist in my very first salon. If the age difference wasn’t enough to steer me off (not to mention the law), there was also the fact that he had a girlfriend, who happened to be my boss’s stepdaughter. Needless to say, there was not one of those magical epiphanies of “This is the man of my dreams.” On the contrary, the years passed and his high school girlfriend was no longer. He continued to come into the salon for haircuts and shameless flirtations with me, and my opinion on the subject still ran closer to ‘Ain’t touching that with a ten foot pole, kid. I cannot deny, however, that as time passed I found myself noticing what a handsome man that confident kid was turning into. A man with a smile that could turn your heart to mush. Perhaps it was just mine, but he was melting it nonetheless.
A couple years later I was attending an outdoor country music festival with friends and we needed an extra ticket. I happened to notice that Steph was trying to sell one on Facebook, so I sent him a message asking about the extra ticket. He responded, “I have an offer for $100, what are you offering?” I replied that I would pay asking price for the ticket (which was $50) and he boldly replied, “I’ll take the $50, but with a date!” Well played, Stephane, well played.
As it turned out, accepting his slyly earned night out was the smartest decision I have ever made. It was all it took and I was utterly and completely hooked on this funny, amazing, handsome, but most importantly, caring man. Within a few months, he had completely rocked my world and we had become inseparable. We had become a unit, without rhyme or reason to time, and my world became colored with the most incredible rose-colored glasses. It was easy to roll my eyes or brush aside the “cradle-robbing” comments from my friends when every fiber in my being knew that this was right.
Within a few months we were living together and later in the Summer of 2013 we welcomed into our world the perfect addition to our family: a three-pound alien-looking pup with ears that were larger than his whole head, a French bulldog named Stitch. While he is the greatest, most well-behaved and loving pup in the world, he has had more than his share of injuries and health problems and being his parents has been a roller coaster ride from day one. I truly believe that if our relationship can withstand everything this dog has put us through, we can take on the world as a perfect team. Puppies are practice. Somebody said that, right?
how they asked
In March of 2016, we set sail on a cruise with some of Steph’s family members and friends. We left Fort Lauderdale on a brilliant Sunday morning. The sun was shining in a perfect blue sky, the island music was pumping, the cocktails were flowing, and the laughter was endless. The days were filled with sunshine and laughter and coconut-scented sunscreen and the nights with family, fabulous food, and live entertainment. Tuesday night was the evening of our first formal dinner after our first full day at sea and we were dressing to impress. As we were getting ready for dinner, however, the seas became extremely rough and the boat started really rocking. Let’s just say, my sea legs were desperately wishing to be land legs. By the time I sat down at the table for dinner, I was a sickly shade of green. Forcing myself to sit through dinner became increasingly difficult as everyone happily ate their lobster bisques and smothered pork chops and creamy pastas, while my stomach churned and little beads of sweat popped up on my forehead. I could barely stand the sight of a dinner roll!
After dinner we congregated at the main stairwell for our formal night photoshoot and by the time the pictures were done, I was about ready to keel over. I knew I needed fresh air and I needed it quick! The next thing I knew, Steph and I were literally bolting across the ship’s decks until we made it outside so I could gulp in the salty, sea air. Unfortunately, it did little to settle my stomach, which currently felt like it was taking a spin on the Tilt-A-Whirl. Mercifully, Steph took me back to my room and settled me in, where I stayed for the remainder of the night.
I opened my eyes the following morning with abated breath, but I quickly noted the seas had calmed, the sun was creeping warmly through the curtain, and I felt like a million bucks! The ship had just docked in St.Thomas and everyone was in high spirits, bursting at the seams to start exploring the island. There was a sense of excitement and magic in the air that morning that blended perfectly with the flawless weather and breathtaking scenery.
Our first stop was Koki Beach, which was the most incredibly beautiful beach I have ever laid eyes on. I had the sun on my skin, the sounds of the waves crashing in my ears, the smell of the ocean in my nose, a frosty beer in my hand, and the greatest man alive by my side with an ear-splitting grin on his face. I was loving life. Steph’s stepdad decided to organize a group shot of the eight of us together down by this gorgeous cove on the beach. We gathered together and he even roped some strangers on the beach into taking pictures. As pictures wrapped up and everyone dispersed, Steph pulled me back to him and as I stood there, rocking a beer in hand, he asked me: “How much do you love me?” To which I replied, “More than anything in the world.” Then, to my utter disbelief, he dropped to his knee while asking “How much do you really love me?” With the waves crashing around him and my heart in my throat, he said, “Will you be my wife?’ Being clearly brilliant with words, my initial response was, “SHUT UP!”
Recovering quickly, I then said yes and he then pulled me into his arms and kissed me with an intensity and a joy that I could feel exploding through him as he slid the ring on my finger. Together we shared a happiness so overwhelming, I thought we might burst with it.
As it turns out, Steph had originally planned to propose on that formal night, but this proposal, on this incredible beach, under a happy blue sky, with so much love and support and good vibes being carried along the salty breeze, could not have been more perfect. We spent the rest of the cruise celebrating our engagement!
I cannot wait to marry this man and continue building a life with him. We are counting down the days until we celebrate our big day with our closest family and friends surrounding us. See you on 11/11/17!