Finding Joy in the Marital Routine

Have you ever heard someone say, “I love my job because no two days are the same.”?

They enjoy going to work because each day brings new and different challenges, and they never know what to expect when they walk through door.

I admire people like that because that is so not me.

I live for routine. I’m a creature of habit and I can turn into a pretty crabby creature if something interferes with my routine. I’m not lying when I tell you that I wake up at the same time every morning, eat the same breakfast (oatmeal with a lil’ cinnamon and honey), leave for work at 7:35 a.m. on the dot, park in the same parking spot every day, and the list goes on. Many people would grow bored with this routine, but I thrive on it and that’s something I learned at a young age.

My parents often tell of the time I was involved in several school sports during my middle and high school days. On the days I had practice, I was much more productive because I knew I had to wake up at a certain time, get a meal in me, and prepare my workout bag so that I had the right uniform and equipment when I got to the school gym. On the other hand, when my coach gave us a day or two off, I would stay up late, sleep in until noon or later (one time I woke up at 1 in the afternoon and was so mad that I had wasted half the day), and lay on the couch watching MTV reality shows (Parental Control or Room Raiders, anyone?). These behaviors are still true to this day. If I’m not careful, I can blow a whole evening on our couch watching The Office while eating boxed mac’ n cheese out of the pot. Which is exactly what happened last night.

Anyway, we’re getting off topic here!

Although I flourish on a routine and like to have plans in place, I realize there are many of you who consider yourself to be more spontaneous and like to take it one day at a time. There are times when I wish I was more like that. More flexible, easy-going, not so structured and rigid. But that’s why I married my husband who is the most easy going person in the world ūüôā

But I don’t think routine is a bad thing. And over time, I’ve come to realize that there is comfort in the routine and I think that can be true for anyone. During these past couple months of being married, Daniel and I have established some of our own routines that have helped us tremendously and that I think any married couple can adopt. For us, they serve as checkpoints throughout the week and times we can simply enjoy being together.

We encourage you and your spouse to start your own marriage routines. Here are a few of ours to help you get some ideas flowing:

  • Navigator’s Council

If you’ve ever watched TLC, you might know of a show called Little People, Big World. One of the twins on the show recently got married and he and his wife started a marriage blog called Beating 50 Percent. The blog inspires couples to have a better than average marriage by giving more than 50 percent to their spouse.¬†They also created a marriage journal called the Navigator’s Council, which is a weekly journal where you ask your spouse the same six questions every week and record the answers. There is a short devotional and a weekly calendar that you fill out too, so that you and your spouse are on the same page for the coming week.

I’d been eyeing this journal for a few months when Hannah (Daniel’s brother’s girlfriend) got it for us as a wedding gift! Although we very much enjoy and get plenty of use out of our new dishes and beautiful home decor from everyone who was so generous to think of us during our engagement, this journal was the best wedding gift we’d received. We sit down every Sunday (we’ve missed a couple Sundays due to varying work schedules) and read the devotional, fill out our weekly calendar, catch up on things to come in the next week, and ask each other those six questions. Some are easy and some are hard to answer. They get us thinking about the direction our marriage is headed and open up the floor for conversations that might not have taken place if we hadn’t taken the time to sit down and really listen to each other.

I can’t say enough good things about this journal and how much our marriage has benefited from it in just two short months. We highly encourage you to consider this resource for your own marriage.¬†Thank you, Hannah, for gifting this journal to us!

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  • Grocery shopping

This may seem like a chore to some, but Daniel and I get excited to go grocery shopping. Mostly because we just really enjoy food, eating and cooking, but also because we get to spend time together and plan out our meals for the week. We’ve recently discovered that we’re big fans of meal prepping for the whole week, rather than cooking a large meal every night after work (we’re big lazy babies).

My mom told me that she and my dad enjoyed grocery shopping together when they were first married too, and I hope it’s a routine that we don’t grow out of.

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  • Keeping up with the budget¬†

You probably aren’t surprised to know that finances is one of the biggest marital stresses (if not THE biggest). Many couples have gone their separate ways due to money stress. So if something like this is the cause of such stress and could potentially lead to the demise of your marriage, don’t you think we ought to be paying even MORE attention to it?¬†*Enter the Handy Dandy Budget Book*

I can’t take much credit here, since Daniel is the one who stays on top of our budget every week, but we do work together by writing down every penny we spend, categorizing it (rent, groceries, insurance, etc.), and tracking our progress, or lack thereof, from the previous month.

It’s easy to think you’re doing OK on your budget until you start keeping track of each expense and those numbers begin to stare back at you judgmentally. It’s as if they’re saying, “Wow, did you really need that pineapple print welcome mat you found at Target when you already have two others??”

However, by keeping track of where your money is going, you will start to see trends form. For example, you might notice that a big chunk of your paycheck is going toward eating out at your favorite pizza place or getting one too many brownie sundaes at that cute, old-timey pharmacy downtown. Now that you’ve identified you’re spending tendencies, and realize that you can live without¬†that brownie sundae, no matter how much it kills you inside,¬†you can create a plan to be more intentional with your spending. Daniel and I have some work to do ourselves in this area, but we might not have known that if we hadn’t started keeping track.

We record our spendings in a cheap notebook from the Dollar Store and I am sometimes hesitant to buy things because I know that when I get home, I’ll have to write it down in that pesky little blue spiral notebook. How’s that for a money saver?

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Your routine can be something as simple as going on an evening walk together once a week, going to the gym after work, or even watching a couple episodes of your favorite show (as long as you don’t waste the entire evening and eat the whole pot of mac’ n cheese). Setting aside specific times throughout the week allows you and your spouse to get on the same page for the upcoming week, simply be¬†in each other’s presence¬†and reflect on the progress you’ve made so far.

What are you favorite routines or little moments throughout the day that you get to spend with your spouse?

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A Thrifty Gal’s Guide to Knoxville’s Best Antique & Vintage Stores

What is it about old, rusty antiques that we find so endearing? Maybe it’s the stories that they carry with them from owner to owner. Or perhaps we think that the older something is, the more character it has. Whatever the reason, you can’t deny that feeling of excitement when you stumble upon a souvenir from yesteryear. Whether it’s an old red lantern or a mint green typewriter with delicate little keys, knowing that you can’t find that item at the local Hobby Lobby or Target thrills you even more.

Now that I’m an official Knoxvillian and because I don’t like to keep a juicy deal all to myself, I’ve decided to share with you several of my favorite antique/vintage/thrift/bargain (All fancy words for ‘old stuff’) stores in the area.

Before we jump in, I think it’s best that you know the back story. The reason for my fascination with things not from my time.

So, here’s where it all began:

Goodwill Industries РKnoxville, Kingston Pike 

Website: http://www.gwiktn.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GWIKTN/

A couple of years ago, while I was on my Goodwill kick (Let’s be honest, I’m still on my Goodwill kick), I was rummaging through the shelves at my favorite Goodwill location. As my eyes scanned the various knick knacks, they came to a screeching halt when I spotted a large, mint green object that was tossed haphazardly onto the middle shelf.

“Is that what I think it is?”, ¬†I thought to myself as I reached for it quickly.

I grabbed the cover handle and, with quite the effort, due to the unexpected weight of the thing, flipped it right side up so that I could get a better look at this forgotten treasure. As I lifted up the cover, rows and rows of square, mint green keys stared back at me. It WAS what I thought it was after all — a typewriter! I had been wanting one since high school, but could never bring myself to dish out the dollars for it when I knew I would find one for the right price at the right time. All of my waiting had finally paid off. For $30, I was able to take home my 1958 Hermes 3000. When I got home, I discovered that my thrifted¬†trinket would not only make a charming addition to my room, but it was also functional, and had the most delightful swirly girly font. Fast forward two years, Herman the Hermes has typed many letters to friends and family and was even displayed at our wedding this past March. My typewriter not only holds the history of its past owners, but now mine as well.

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If you’ve been searching endlessly for a particular item to embellish your home, like my hunt for a typewriter, these shops might just be your best bet.

Nostalgia

Website: http://www.nostalgiamarket.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NostalgiaKnoxville/

Nostalgia has some of the neatest little baubles I’ve ever seen, and many of them are in great condition, including some typewriters. However, be prepared to spend a little more on these items since they are in such great shape. They also have boxes of old postcards worth thumbing through and a great collection of reasonably priced records that are conveniently alphabetized if I’m remembering correctly. In addition to their plethora of vintage pieces, they carry handmade cards and coasters from local Knoxville artisans. Nostalgia is located in The District in Bearden off of Kingston Pike and I would definitely recommend carving out an hour during a rainy afternoon to make a visit.

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Knox Heritage Salvage Shop

Website: http://knoxheritage.org/salvage/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheKnoxHeritageSalvageRoom/?ref=br_rs

I cannot do this shop justice with my own words, so here’s what they have to say for themselves:

“The Salvage Shop¬†is a program of Knox Heritage, accepting donated historic building materials to prevent these valuable items from going to the landfill. These items are re-sold to¬†benefit Knox Heritage.¬†The Salvage Shop‚Äôs inventory is stocked with items to help restore historic homes or serve as the base materials for new projects. The shop‚Äôs Facebook page is constantly updated with new additions to the inventory, as well as inspiration for up-cycled projects and customers sharing their own work with the community. The shop also rents studio space to local artists”

WOW, how cool is that? It’s not every day that you find a group of people dedicated to preserving the bits and pieces that add character to an old home instead of trading it out for all things new. If you consider yourself a creative person who has vision and the ability to see the potential in an item even in its beginning stages,¬†start Salvaging! I stopped in this shop recently and they had some really unique pieces that could be HGTV worthy if the right person comes along and gives them a little time, effort and a fresh coat of paint!

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This piano was only selling for $150! *googly eyes*

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Tons of old wooden window panes and doors waiting for someone to pick them up for their next DIY project!

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Vintage Treasures

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vintage-Treasures-414928118714136/

Vintage Treasures is on Kingston Pike, located in the same strip mall as Four Seasons. I visited Vintage Treasures with my mom a couple of years ago when it went by a different name and was under different ownership, and to be honest, I wasn’t crazy about what they had to offer. However, I visited recently and they have new owners who are so sweet and friendly and have really done the place up right! It’s clean and organized and the store goes on for miles. They have an extensive collection of old books, super cheap records, and typewriters to boot! I got a Hall & Oates record for $3.50 which I would have gotten for five times that amount at another record store that I visit from time to time.

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Retrospect Vintage Store

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Retrospect-Vintage-Store-189142077953204/

If your taste is a bit old school like mine and 60s/70s era doodads strike your fancy (I’m talkin’ macrame plant hangers, plaid couches and matching Pyrex sets), this place is especially for you. Retrospect looks like a scene straight out of¬†That 70s Show. When I stopped in for the first time, it was a gorgeous sunny day and I could hear their 60s tunes spilling through the open doors. They have a large selection of vintage clothing and funky dishware that would make Austin Powers himself green with envy.

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If these mushroom cookie jars and baby blue tuxedo don’t make you want to visit the shop, I don’t know what will.

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Does anyone else remember these macrame owls hanging in your grandparent’s houses?

Tea & Treasures

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teatreasures/?ref=br_rs

Daniel, my mom and I passed by Tea & Treasures on our way back from a BBQ lunch in Maryville and we immediately turned the car around because we were intrigued by this big, white Victorian and what might be inside. We were greeted by a little red cart stacked high with books parked by the sidewalk that winds its way up to the front porch. Once inside, we grabbed some refreshments while we browsed the upstairs and downstairs of the old house. The shop sells mostly local artisan crafts such as the coasters I mentioned earlier, that are made by Set in Stone Sisters. The coasters feature historic buildings and landmarks in Knoxville such as the Tennessee Theater, the big JFG coffee sign in South Knoxville and the Sunsphere. We have two of them sitting on our own coffee table at home. The shop is located in Vestal off Martin Mill Pike.

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Bearden Antique Mall

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BeardenAntiques/

This is a great place for anyone who has a little extra dough to spend on big ticket items such as a dining room set, living room furniture or a solid wood headboard. However, they do have some smaller items for sale on the first floor like these two typewriters. Even if you’re just there to browse, the Bearden Antique Mall is worth checking out simply to walk on the creeky wooden floorboards on the second floor. Nostalgia and Vintage Treasures are just a short drive from here, so you can visit all three if you’ve got a free afternoon on your hands.

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You’ll want to follow these shops on Instagram as well so that you can see their most recent items for sale. The majority of these shops post new things every day and following them on social media will give you a good idea of what they each carry in store as well as some cool events that they take part in every year!

What are your favorite antique stores? If there are any I didn’t mentioned who should have been, recommend them in the comments below for future exploration!

Island Smilin’ // Honeymooning in the Dominican

Scavenging for coconuts on the beach, kayaking out to the reef, swimming alongside colorful sea critters and swooning hundreds of foreigners with the sweet melodies of Garth Brooks on karaoke night made for an unforgettable honeymoon and Daniel’s first time out of the country!

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We enjoyed eating all of our meals by the pool!

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I wouldn’t have minded a bigger cup ūüėČ

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My knight in shining orange!

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How can you be mad about frizzy beach hair when you’re in paradise?

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We had some luck at the casino a couple nights in a row and then it went all downhill after that…

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We’re all a little coconutty.

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We found the Magic Conch!img_4994img_4991img_4795img_4796img_4797img_4808img_4810img_4811img_4812img_4815img_4816img_4817img_4818img_4820img_4821img_4822img_4997img_4998img_4995img_5004img_5008img_5007

I felt it was only appropriate to eat my daily pound of pineapple while wearing my pineapple romper.17820917_10155268008196600_1575792020_n

Setting out on our Snuba / Snorkeling / Speedboat adventure!img_5011img_5010img_5012img_5013

It’s really hard to look cool when you’ve got a huge snorkel mask attached to your face!img_501417813921_10155268008226600_578108862_nDSC_1523

They strapped weights around our waists to keep us from floating to the surface!DSC_1513DSC_1510img_5017img_5016img_5015img_5025img_5024img_4910

Looking forward to many more trips with my favorite travel partner & this little book.img_5023

Our wedding photographer gave us this leather bound travel journal with lots of cool stamps to mark each place we’ve visited together and included several Polaroid pictures ¬†he took of us at our wedding.17797866_10155268008216600_2001390343_oWe’ll be back, Punta Cana!

Great Smoky Mountain Engagement Shoot

When your photographer hikes 8 miles in the cold, wind and rain while carrying all of his equipment and climbs up cliffs just to get the perfect shot of you and your fiancé, you know you picked the right person to share this sweet season of life with.

He not only conquered his fear of heights on our trip, but he also woke up at 4a.m. so we could start our hike by sunrise for good lighting. From the very beginning, he kept us laughing and made Daniel and I feel so at ease in front of the camera. He brought our vision to life and related our engagement photos back to something that is a huge part of Daniel’s and my relationship. We are absolutely blown away by the moments he captured and we cannot say enough good things about our talented friend and photographer, Derek Couts.

Here are just a few of our very favorite photos from this shoot. After scrolling through, please take some time to check out Derek’s work on his website and contact him for your wedding photography needs. I guarantee that he will exceed all of your expectations!

Photos: Derek Couts Nashville Wedding Photographer

Derek’s Website:¬† http://derekcouts.com/

Derek’s Blog:¬†Charlie’s Bunion Engagement: Jill & Daniel

Engagement Shoot Video:¬†Charlie’s Bunion: Jill and Daniel

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Mountain Top Engagement

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We cannot put our gratitude to Derek into words and we are still marveling over how he perfectly captured our relationship with each click of the shutter.

Rocky Top via Bote Mountain

Daniel and I decided to try a new hike in the Smokies this weekend.

While we were huffing and puffing up the never-ending incline of Bote Mountain, we were beginning to regret our decision to do a hike we knew little about. But once we reached Rocky Top on Thunderhead Mountain and were rewarded with 360 views, we were glad we persevered despite the laborious monotony of the 14 mile hike.12788704_10154028107701600_1550369188_oThe Anthony Creek trailhead is located in a picturesque picnic area in Cades Cove, settled  alongside the rolling river.12825617_10154028107886600_1284984492_nMy selfie stick came in handy and helped us to better capture the views on top.12803976_10154028107961600_72985719_n

To reach Rocky Top, we had to first hike up the Bote Mountain Trail and then connect with the Appalachian Trail. From there, it led us to Spence Field and then Rocky Top was another mile and a half past Spence Field.

We had never hiked to Rocky Top before, but when we reached the top, a nice gentleman informed us that the majority of the people who hike it take Lead Cove Trail, which is a mile shorter. If only we had known that beforehand!12823087_10154028108211600_1586057617_o12788195_10154028108461600_261538731_n12834559_10154028108521600_1474436991_nWe got to try out Daniel’s new trekking poles that I got him for Christmas, which helped us along the hike tremendously, especially once we reached the snow.12804264_10154028109386600_369675334_nWe weren’t expecting to see snow on the mountain, but it made for a beautiful hike and it felt good to walk in the cooler temperatures on top once we had taken off some of our sweat-soaked layers.¬†10609240_10154028109076600_435857968_n12834956_10154028109446600_1345433759_n1418212_10154028109191600_585555705_n1931966_10154028109741600_770497463_n12834593_10154028109866600_246384418_n-1We finally reached Spence Field and had just about a mile and a half left to Rocky Top.¬†12825158_10154028110716600_1279635968_n12804050_10154028111876600_1585281148_nWe made it! We were greeted on top by other friendly Tennessee fans.

One hiker said it best:¬†“The best part about this view is that you can’t drive to see it. You have to get outside and hike to get here.”1797050_10154028112296600_1684685392_n12822912_10154028111586600_1382121873_o10584494_10154028133511600_1997456603_n12788108_10154028133401600_2146723402_n12804202_10154028133261600_1739785794_n12833488_10154028133756600_883717035_n12825358_10154028133361600_922800079_nWhile we were making our way up the trail, Daniel told me that this hike might be a “one and done”, but after seeing that view from the top, we reconsidered, and agreed that we’d take the shorter route next time!

Found My Gown

Check and check! My wedding dress and veil are marked off of the wedding to-do list, and boy was it fun.

We are getting to the point where the style of our wedding is starting to take shape and I can actually envision what it might look like instead of browsing through Pinterest, pinning everything that catches my eye and forming a general idea of what we want.

I had planned on coming home this weekend, so I called my mom on Wednesday just to chat about some things we had in mind. She had made an appointment in March for me to try on dresses at a dress shop called Modern Trousseau in Nashville, but I have had my eye on this lovely consignment boutique called LVD Bridal (pronounced “loved”) located in Houston Station. I found The Dress Theory, the boutique from which LVD derives, on Instagram last year and found LVD through some of the pictures they had posted to their feed. I’ve been itching to make an appointment ever since I discovered them, but Daniel and I were not yet engaged, so I had to be patient!¬†I saw they had an appointment open on Friday, so we snatched it up and planned to go that afternoon.

I took this straight from Houston Station’s blog to give you a better idea of what LVD is all about:

“Perfect for¬†more eco-friendly or¬†budget-conscious brides, ¬†LVD by The Dress Theory Bridal Shop¬†(pronounced “loved”) was created¬†to make designer wedding gown consignment effortless and enjoyable. The boutique is filled with unique and stylish options, including former sample gowns by designers such as Sarah Seven, Lela Rose, and Houghton Bride. Other gowns come from past¬†brides (many of whom purchased from The Dress Theory) whose dresses meet LVD’s style and condition standards.”

I have a thing for second-hand, and that will definitely play a role in our wedding. Although by the looks of this little boutique, you’d never guess these dresses are second-hand. I know a lot of brides wouldn’t dream of wearing a dress that has already been worn by another bride, but I think it can be special. That dress has been a part of someone else’s special day and the fact that it has been lovingly worn by another beautiful bride gives it that much more character and personality.

Although my dress hasn’t been worn by another bride, it was taken from The Dress Theory as a sample gown they no longer had room for, so that they could rotate in newer dresses. This is one of the reasons The Dress Theory created LVD, to give all of those beautiful dresses another home and a place for past Dress Theory brides to consign their gowns.

  

When we arrived, we were greeted by the sweetest manager, Ila, and immediately sat down to talk about what exactly we were looking for and our vision for the wedding.

I highly suggest you book an appointment at this boutique if you are looking for an intimate and personal experience. I loved that Ila, my mom and I were the only people in the boutique and Ila’s attention wasn’t divided between helping me and ten other brides.

After talking for a few minutes, we began looking through and pulling dresses to try on, and let me tell you, it was wedding bliss.

I picked out eight or so gowns that captured my attention and we were off to the dressing room.

One thing I really liked about the boutique is that even though they had a smaller selection to choose from (There were only 40-50 gowns total), I knew they were selected carefully and picked to mimic The Dress Theory aesthetic. The boutique is more about quality than quantity, which is a good thing.

Ila told my mom and me that if you have too many options, it can cloud your vision of what you want to look like on your wedding day, which I wholeheartedly agree with.

Here’s a peep into the dressing room with some dresses I had picked to try on (None of which is the one that I chose).

I tried on two dresses before I found the one I wanted to marry Daniel in! The longer I wore it, the more I adored it. After Ila placed the veil on my head, my mom and I were sold! I felt so giddy and beautiful and I didn’t want to take it of! I know Daniel will love it too.

All the pretty headpieces! They really add something to your whole look.

Wood floors and exposed brick…*swoon*

*More swoon*

And here it is! Wrapped up in all its beauty, ready to be worn on our wedding day and given a personality all its own.

Click here to check out LVD’s Instagram for more beautiful pictures of their space and gowns.

Christmas Proposal

For those of you who don’t know, Daniel and I have been engaged for a little over a week now!

I’ll be honest, I knew it was coming soon, but I didn’t know it was going to be on Christmas Day.

These past five years dating Daniel have been nothing short of an adventure and that didn’t stop at his proposal.

A few days before Christmas, Daniel asked if I could go walk his family’s dogs in the afternoon on Christmas Day because they would be gone most of the day visiting family. I didn’t think anything of it because he has asked me to do this before and I have never missed a chance to play with the puppies.

Around 5pm on Christmas Day, Daniel called and asked if I could head over to his house to walk the dogs and also that there was a card from his mom in the wreath on the front door waiting for me when I got there. Little did I know that he was parked up at the golf club down the street, waiting for me to drive by so that he could rush to my house to get everything set up.

So, I drove over to his house and right before pulling in the driveway I noticed everyone’s car was there but Daniel’s. Obviously, everyone was home, so I didn’t know why he had asked me to walk the dogs. I walked up to the front door and there was an envelope taped to it with my name written on it in Daniel’s handwriting. Now I was suspicious. He wrote a sweet letter saying that he was happy to be celebrating our fifth Christmas together and that the next note would be upstairs taped to the window facing the high school. I walked into his house and was happily greeted by the dogs and his mom who asked about the letter. I told her that I had instructions to go upstairs to retrieve the second one.

I walked upstairs where some of his family were. His younger sister, Ellie, kept asking me what the letters were for and if it was just a part of my Christmas present. I thought she was just playing along with the proposal, but later I found out that she actually had no idea what was about to happen!

I went over to the window and got the letter. This one told me to look up at the high school and although it may not seem very special, it is an important place for us because it was where we first met. More instructions followed saying that the next letter would be out in the mailbox. I walked downstairs and outside and opened the mailbox and the third letter. This one told me to get my next letter on the front door of MY house and while I drove back home, to think about all of the fun times we’ve had together and memories we’ve made throughout the years.¬†I said goodbye to his mom and hopped in my car, eager for what was to come next!

I got home and saw Daniel’s car in the driveway, so I knew I was getting closer! I walked up the steps to the front porch and opened the fourth letter taped to the door, which told me to come inside and sit down at the chair with the final letter in it. I peeped inside, but there was no one to be seen. I opened the door and walked into the living room and saw the door to the bonus room was closed so I thought everyone was upstairs waiting for me. Then, I saw Daniel’s laptop sitting on the coffee table surrounded by pictures of us throughout the years, candles and flowers.¬†The chair with the letter in it was the very place Daniel sat when he first came to meet my parents right before our first winter formal together when we were in high school.

I opened the letter and he wrote that he chose this chair for a reason. He chose it because this was where it all began and we have grown up in this house. Next, the letter said to press the play button on his laptop. I pressed play, saw his sweet face on the screen and watched the sweetest video he made titled “50 Things I Love About You”. Throughout the video it showed Daniel holding up signs like #50, #49 and so on with things that he loves about me written on the signs. One of my favorites was “I love that you pick out the best avocados,” with the sign sitting in a bin of avocados and Daniel reaching down and grabbing one to hold up to the camera (We love making guacamole and Daniel tends to pick the really hard avocados!). There were scenes of Daniel at his apartment in Cookeville, at the laundromat, out on a run, and some of me spinning around the Christmas tree and hiking up Mt. LeConte. It was so special and unique and it made me both laugh and cry. I thought I was all alone downstairs, so I didn’t care that I was blubbering like a baby.

After the video ended there were no further instructions, so I was going to walk upstairs where I thought everyone was. Then, I heard footsteps and Daniel came walking out from behind me (I had no idea he was there watching me the whole time!). I stood up and he took my hands in his and said a lot of sweet things and then at the end of his little speech he said, “So……” with a big grin on his face. I knew what was coming, so I couldn’t help but jump up and down! He got down on one knee and asked if I’d marry him and I bent down and half yelled,”YEAH!!!” several times to answer his question. When he stood back up, I couldn’t control the water works and he kept telling me that I still had to put the ring on. He slipped it on my finger and I adored it’s classic, vintage design. No one else was around, no cameras– it was our moment and one that we will replay in our minds over and over.

That night, we celebrated with a huge, homemade meal my mom made for us all. I loved that Daniel involved our families in the proposal.

We are thrilled to see what this year holds for us and are ready to start our life together as a married couple!

You can also check out our wedding website on The Knot here for more details and photos! Our wedding website is incomplete as of now, but will be updated soon and often!