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A Proposal.

July 31, 2013

The Proposal 13

It’s incredibly difficult to put into words the thoughts that have been running through my mind over the past 48 hours. Not just the thoughts, but the feelings and anxiousness mixed with a lack of sleep have been over powering. I have yet to cry but I know it is just on the horizon.

The Proposal 18

I must preface this story by telling Josh and I’s history with Big Sur, California. On our very first long vacation together, we decided to drive down Highway 1 from San Francisco to San Diego; to hug the Pacific Ocean all the way. When in San Francisco in the beginning of our trip, there was a landslide that took out about a quarter of a mile of Highway 1 going into Big Sur from the north. Our route had collapsed. We spent the evening in silence while heading inland to the 101 and not cutting back over to the ocean until Cambria, 75 miles south. I was almost in tears. By almost, I mean anger had welled in my soul. 

Josh promised he would take me back.

The Proposal

Last Wednesday, we met for lunch. Josh asked if I thought I could go away for the weekend and take Monday off. He “had a ton of AmEx points he needed to use…” I said I would talk to my boss but yes, I did have vacation days. Allie approved my time off but I still had no clue where we were going. My hints came far and few in between — “You may want a bathing suit…” “Definitely tennis shoes…” “Sweaters, lots of sweaters…” “We’ve never been there…”

To be clear, this was not out of the ordinary. Josh has surprised me with a few trips before but he would never take me camping and that is what it felt like.

At the airport is when I found out where the plane was headed: San Francisco. Lots of hills, lots of walking and fall weather; I thought everything made sense. Except that he said we hadn’t been there before. Because we have. When we landed and had to go get a car, my mind shifted, slowly realized that we were not headed to the city, but south to Big Sur, where the mountains collide with the ocean.

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The Proposal 9

While driving down the coast, with the sun setting to the west of us, nothing could be better. We were headed to a place I had only dreamed about and I could hardly contain myself. When we pulled into the Post Ranch Inn, we could barely see a thing. The fog was dense and dark but I could tell the cliffs were near. As we fell asleep to the fire on Friday, all I could think was when I woke up, the ocean would be out our wood cabin window, 900 feet below us.

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The Proposal 1

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The Proposal 2

It wasn’t meant to be. The fog had fully blanketed itself over the hills of the ranch. While it didn’t seem that big of a deal to me, Josh seemed to take offense to the magical fog that enwrapped our cabin. We hiked the grounds, praying for the sun and when it came in one area, it seemed it never came in the right area. After a hike, we went for a drive down the coast, into the sunshine, to relax with some massages. My mind was weaving between work and the waves crashing against the rocks right outside our open air hut. Saturday night, we had an amazing and relaxing dinner at Sierra Mar,  with fresh ingredients from the garden we had visited earlier that day.

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The Proposal 7

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The Proposal 4

Sunday morning, the fog had still not lifted. We decided to head down the coast again to do some hikes, take pictures and relax. Josh had “found” a tripod in our room that I was eager to use. Our first hike had three different paths and we took each one. I couldn’t believe the wonder that California really had to offer until this hike. We could stand and listen to the ocean for hours and be perfectly content in the coves of the rocks. We climbed high to get better views and eventually found the most beautiful spot to take it all in.

Beauty. Beauty. Beauty.

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The Proposal 12

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The Proposal 16

We travelled a bit further down the coast to the Pacific Rim Trail which was a valley that opened up into a flower covered prairie before a short drop-off to two beaches. We followed the trails, one after the other trying to find the best way to get down to the water. As we walked, we watched the surfers miss wave after wave in the freezing water. There was a large boulder separating the two, one beach with the surfers and their families, the other beach empty. Josh made his way down the rocks towards the vacant side and I stumbled after, being so careful with my camera I could hardly trust myself to take a step. We slipped off our shoes, laid out something to sit on and Josh set up the tripod.

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This beach was the type of place you need to take pictures of. The boulders burst out of the water, one after the other, covered with birds and white caps. I snapped picture after picture trying to capture it all and take it home. Then Josh distracted me…

The Proposal 20

He told me he had a gift and pulled out an old Nikon film camera. I, obviously, freaked out being I had wanted a film camera for a while. He set it up on the tripod and began to teach me how to use it. When I asked where he got it and why, he said he was walking around this past week and wandered into a vintage camera store. He simply couldn’t pass it up. I was so excited to use it and to own it, I thought of nothing beyond that camera. The last thing he said to me was, “OK, take a picture.” And, as I excitedly peered through the tiny view finder…


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The Proposal 21

My reaction was not what I expected. I simply could not believe it. I looked at him, said something completely repulsive like, “Is this for real?” and looked in the view finder again.  He had already slipped into his backpack and pulled out the ring when I looked back over to him and told me yes, it’s for real, Al. He was on a knee, for real, and asking me to spend the rest of my life with him.

I said yes four times.



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The Proposal 25

Now stand up and kiss me.

Nothing had to be said. He incorporated every detail that I love: California, photography and exclusivity. Everything is perfectly engrained in my memory and will last forever.

I’ve heard that being proposed to is anti-climatic to some people. But this adrenaline has yet to release me. And if you asked if I knew, I knew it would happen one day. But I’ve known that for 4 years. I can barely sleep through the night because of pure joy. My heart is so full and so incredibly happy to spend the rest of my life with Josh.

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And, admittedly, I was even excited to hear the planning that went into this proposal. Because this was not some spontaneous trip that he asked me on; he had planned it for months. And while he had wanted to ask me on Saturday at Post Ranch Inn, the fog was just too dense to see the incredible views (until our last day, which you can see above). Our beach was impromptu; our beach is now “our beach” and we can always go back. The tripod, as I found out later, was not “found” in our room, he had bought it for this reason. The camera was planned as well and he worked with an expert to write in the viewfinder (which is quite complicated). He had asked my boss before I knew to give me the day off work. He told both of our families to be by their computers to Facetime/Skype/chat. He found the ring right after we went to see it months ago. As he was telling me about it, he started saying things he wanted: our parents to be there, my favorite photographer to capture it all. But nothing could even compare to the way it happened. He thought of every, creative detail and I could not be more thankful for that. He didn’t have to but he did.

This guy knows how to make this girl incredibly happy and I am blessed for that.

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{Psst… my ring is part of the Anna Sheffield Engagement Collection; the color of the diamond is Fancy Yellow Brown; and yes, I’m obsessed.}      

37 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen johansen permalink
    July 31, 2013 9:10 am

    So romantic!!!!

  2. July 31, 2013 9:41 am

    You may not have cried yet, but I am after reading this. Way to go Josh.

  3. July 31, 2013 9:52 am

    And this is just the beginning – love to you both Gg

  4. Chelsea Kertesz permalink
    July 31, 2013 2:28 pm

    This is such a beautiful story, and I love the pictures. I’m really happy for you, Alex. I remember how nice you were in high school, and you deserve to be happy. I can’t wait to see pictures of your wedding in the future.

  5. July 31, 2013 3:44 pm

    Beyond words…again…

  6. Karen permalink
    July 31, 2013 3:59 pm

    What a good guy–you’re lucky, Al.

  7. July 31, 2013 6:12 pm

    This was your best read yet!!!!

  8. Joyce Macek permalink
    July 31, 2013 9:04 pm

    So happy for you and Josh.

  9. Anna Gilboy permalink
    August 1, 2013 9:12 am

    I literally read this five times now. Too perfect. 🙂

  10. October 9, 2013 4:22 pm

    OH MY GOODNESS!! This is SO amazing!! Such a beautiful and gorgeous proposal!! I LOVE the Big Sur, Hwy 1 area! If you ever get the chance, go WAY WAY WAY North of SF on Hwy 1! Into the redwoods… it is seriously magical!!

  11. shannonrosan permalink
    October 10, 2013 3:07 am

    What a beautiful story!

  12. Deborah permalink
    April 22, 2014 11:56 am

    I love your ring! Can you tell me is your setting vintage or by a certain designer?

    • Deborah permalink
      April 22, 2014 11:59 am

      I just realized it is Anna Sheffield!

      • April 23, 2014 10:02 am

        Glad you figured it out — did you see the link at the bottom as well? She has an amazing collection — and not just engagement rings!

  13. Juli permalink
    July 24, 2014 7:12 am

    I stumbled upon your blog and I LOVED reading this story ❤ I've been in love with her bridal collection, too. What is the weight of your center stone?
    Good luck to you, I can't wait for it to happen to me 🙂


    p.s. you're pretty!


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