Friday, April 15, 2011

The Adventuring Couple: From Age "18" to Now at "25"

I met Laura through my younger brother. Laura met her now husband Ryan at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during college registration weekend 7 years ago. She was moving from a tiny town, describing herself as "naive, and not knowing anyone on campus." On a dorm tour, Laura - concerned about the cable TV situation - asked the guide if the BBC channel was provided. Her question peaked Ryan's interest and allowed him, in her words, to "see past her dumb haircut." 
Later, during a break from registration class, Ryan's friend - remembering Laura as the "BBC (British Broadcasting Channel) girl"- introduced her as such. In 2004, Ryan had long flowey hair, piercing blue eyes, a button down, thrifted paisley shirt, and a mouth full of braces. He said to Laura, "So you like BBC? Are you more into, like, BBC news or are you all about the Brit coms?" Although Laura had a high school boyfriend at the time, it only took her and Ryan two weeks of solid college friendship for her to break up with her old beau. One night, after a 12 hour soul baring conversation, Ryan - who had since gotten rid of the braces - pulled Laura close and kissed her. She describes it as, "fireworks, jello, puffy clouds. Peanut butter and jelly. It was everything that movies, poetry, and pop ballads made it out to be: only better because it was him."

Since then, Chicago residents Laura and Ryan have been on so many adventures. In her words, "we make guacamole, drink tallboys, travel to exotic lands like Canada and Indianapolis, make music videos, climb mountains, do fake karate, jump into frozen lakes, all that fun stuff that couples can do together. When Ryan proposed to me, he said he was excited to see all of the things that we could do, because we were together. We've been married for 7 months. And it's been rad."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Destined to Be Together: A Future Mr. and Mrs.

Kellie and Ryan, a Pennsylvanian couple, are actually the first pair on this blog that I do not know directly. My old work colleague is the maid of honor in their upcoming wedding. Meeting over 11 years ago at Kutztown University, Ryan and Kellie dated as freshmen in college. However, their roads would diverge, allowing them to pursue their careers. Reuniting a decade later as young professionals, they fell in love. The two of them went to celebrate their one year anniversary as a couple over dinner, exchanging gifts at the rustic, charming Joseph Ambler Inn in Pennsylvania.

Kellie gave Ryan his gift first, which were Eagles football tickets. Up next, Ryan was on a mission to hand her something: no bigger than a shoebox, wrapped in a bow. He bypassed reading the card that Kellie had written him, because he felt so eager.

Kellie opened the odd shaped box, which contained a book, "All About Us," which was the same book that they have written in together for the past year, to journal their relationship from past to present. Confused, Kellie opened to the bookmarked last page, with one single question..."Your next goal in life:" next to it written..."Will You Marry Me?". Kellie looked down at the page in amazement as just beyond the book, was Ryan on one knee, ring in hand, asking the same question, "Kellie, will you marry me?"

Kellie then fell to her knees with Ryan, tears of excitement, saying, "Yes, Absolutely, Yes!" as their future together as an engaged couple was cemented.

The picture above is one of my favorites. If you are interested in engagement photography in the London/L.A. areas, I recommend my friend Ashley Bradley whose Cardboard Sky photography studio can capture the most romantic of moments. 

Speaking of photos, I've also fallen in love with this colorful, romantic one: 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Second Time Around

I met Cindy, an advocate for suicide prevention, through volunteering at UCLA. Her story of how she met her husband Chuck is quite sweet :) During the summer of 2006, the two of them crossed paths at the Santa Barbara Wine Festival, where Cindy was with a bunch of her girlfriends. Cindy met Chuck, who was alongside his guy pals. Combining their groups together, Cindy and Chuck chatted for awhile, ate dinner together, networked and at the end of the day, exchanged telephone numbers with one another.

After a few months of correspondence, Cindy and Chuck went on a first date. One year later, as a couple, they wanted to elope. However, Cindy couldn't bear to keep the secret to herself, so she spilled the details to a handful of her BFFs. The next thing she knew, Cindy had matching outfits with Chuck, flowers, and a wedding party. Although it wasn't a "real elopment," Cindy acknowledged that it had the same shock effect as one. Cindy and Chuck decided to re-live their first meeting and get married on the same day as the wine festival, July 21st. The wedding was a very California-ish affair, involving the donning of t-shirts, shorts, and flipflops. The ceremony overlooked the harbor. Afterwards, they recreated the moment by drinking wine at the same festival in Santa Barbara with their closest friends.

To keep with tradition, Cindy and Chuck go to Santa Barbara every year to drink wine and celebrate their anniversary.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day! Special shout out to my single lady friends!!!

Dear readers,

Here's a few thoughts on this holiday all about love and all sorts of relationships, compliments of PostSecret:

So the one thing that worried me when I started this blog, was the ever nagging question: is this blog project inclusive enough for friends, family, and strangers that don't happen to be dating anyone special? Am I being thoughtful, or am I being obnoxious with the potential schmaltz?

I didn't ever want this blog to be a source of le sigh, sort of disappointment for any single individual, because life without a mate is still filled with loving companionship and in addition, can be extremely rewarding and life-affirming. It allows you to experience extensive adventures without worrying about a partner. Heck, for most of my own life I have very much been single and felt, for the most part, fulfilled in a myriad of other ways: through friendship, hobbies, travel, etc. Every Valentine's Day, I only really received flowers from my father and didn't really have that special someone to share the holiday with.

So where my girls at? "Put 'cha hands up!" as Beyonce so famously sings. Throughout the years, my plus ones have mostly been my female friends: a continuing, steady stream of support. We've hiked, danced, dined out on the town, and commiserated over mediocre dates and those that we have truly cared for that never seemed to have measured up.  In fact, I have attended all of my best friend's weddings without any real lover in the traditional sense of the word.

I think many of my readers out there are women. Specifically, I'd like to give a special shout-out to my nearest and dearest lady friends from coast to coast:
In NYC: Christina M, Kathleen B, and Michelle H.
In LA, Krupinski, Swallace, Liz Shimabukuro, and Kara M.
In Boston, Courtney G. and my roomie Leslie G.

After all,

"...I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous." ~ Carrie Bradshaw,  Sex and the City

Also, my feminist mantra for many years has been: "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" - Gloria Steinem (my mantra for years!)
I think the long term goal of my Plus One: the Love Project after my goal of featuring 365 romantic couples or so (gay and straight) is to expand the notion of love to more different types of relationships: best friends for years, sisters, teammates, brothers, and coaches/mentors, grandparents and grandchildren, etc.

Until then, I hope that everyone, no matter what their relationship status or feelings about romantic love at the time, will become a part of our inclusive reader community where you'll always be able to comment. We welcome anyone's perspective.

All my love,


Friday, February 11, 2011

As Fate Would Have It...

I'd like to introduce y'all to Mariel (see above) who was my predecessor who used to occupy my current job as business school academic advisor. Not only am I incredibly thankful that Mariel trained me extremely well, but I'm also thrilled she finds participating in this project meaningful. Let's welcome our first couple from Connecticut, both of whom are: age "27."

Mariel and Steven actually went to nursery school together, but their early memories from that long past era were rather fuzzy. Thus, their true " first meeting" in their collective remembrance really was during their senior year of high school. However, their flirtations were, as Mariel described, "nothing serious since we were never both single at the same time." 7 years ago, however, Mariel and Steve began to date and in 2005, became an official couple. They've been together ever since. In gushing about what she loves about Steve, Mariel says,

"I love his eyes and his smile and especially his sense of humor. I adore the fact that he's so laid back, mostly because if I flip my lid over nothing and regret it the next day, I know he'll never hold it against me."

A bright future is on the horizon for this steady couple :)

Also, how much do you like romantic restaurants? Check out this incredible link to the best places:!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Graduate School Sweethearts

I met my friend Meredith in college, as we lived on the same freshman dorm floor. Her and her now husband Jim met in criminal law class while at the University of Miami School of Law and fell for one another. While visiting her parents in Tampa, Meredith admired a ring at a store. Jim had to have Meredith's parents buy the ring and met him halfway to do the exchange. 

After Meredith returned home from a work trip, it was Valentine's Day, 2006. Lovesick Jim actually had the flu and was running a 100 degree fever, but that didn't stop him from proposing to Meredith at the Rusty Pelican on Biscayne Bay. They were made in the shade with a glass of lemonade! Their wedding took place on the north shore of Hawaii the following year. With their offices one office apart, Meredith and Jim are both prosecutors.

I present to you above a picture of Meredith and Jim outside the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin from a couple of years ago.


Monday, February 7, 2011

The San Francisco Lovebirds: Great Listening Pays Off!

Here's an amazing, awe-inspiring story of our first California couple, which really makes me smile. This "awww" inducing two-part story is from Kristina, who I have become friends with through the Santa Monica neighborhood group in Jr. League. Anyway, Kristina and Alan are so adorable together and this, my dear readers, is how it all began:

How They Met:

Kristina, Ms. Matchmaker, was giving a speech at her friend's rehearsal dinner, as she had just set him up with his wife to be 10 months earlier! Now good karma comes around. :) Up to this point, Kristina had met pretty much all of Dave's guy friends under the sun, EXCEPT for Alan, a thoughtful Stanford University and Harvard University alum. Alan noticed the very accomplished Kristina speaking to the rapt crowd, and thought she was really cute. In fact, harboring a crush, he kept coming up to her at various points throughout the weekend. At the Viceroy hotel pool, Kristina was telling Alan about her volunteer activities and the things she enjoyed doing, and he kissed her for the first time, leaving her heart racing.

Their Epic First Date:

The following Friday after their first kiss, Alan asked Kristina out for the first time, sweeping her up in a whirlwind romance on a first date that lasted 9 whole hours! Alan remembered Kristina enjoyed the beach, so he took her to the San Francisco version of the beach, Crissy Field overlooking the Golden Gate bridge. Afterwards, they strolled over to Sausalito. He remembered that she liked art and loved Pinot Grigio, so Alan took her to art galleries and a little wine bar! Afterwards, Alan pulled out all the stops overlooking the water during sunset! Kristina thought they were going home, but Alan took her to Union Square to browse around the stores, because from the wedding, he remembered that she said she liked shopping. To top it all off, Alan remembered from listening to her intently that Kristina likes musicals, so he took her to see one! Three days later, Alan told Kristina he was ready for a commitment, which was great, because as she puts it, she "had already fallen in love!"