Hey y’all! So many things have happened since I last checked in. Honestly babe, grab a snack. This is going to be a long one. If you follow me on instagram you know that TWO major things have happened. 1. I moved to Arizona. 2. Chase and I are FREAKIN’ ENGAGED! We’ll get into all of the juicy details in a bit but I did an ask us anything on instagram and so I wanted to start at the beginning.
We always say we met through a mutual friend because it’s the easiest answer and honestly this story is so complicated to tell sometimes. But we sort of did meet through a mutual friend. My AMAZING mate Drew was working for an online dating company and needed some BETA testing done for a new feature. I’d worked with this company in the past so I did it. Plus I got paid to do it and living in the Tri-State area, who’s going to say no to basically free money?
The catch for this testing was that I had to use the feature for a few hours and I had to message ONE person. Long story short, that one person was Chase, and I kid you not, my opening line was “How’s the weather, and do you like pizza?” The rest as we know it is magical history in the making.
True story. I promise.
So for those that didn’t know, Chase and I were in a long distance relationship for quite a bit of time. I would say for about 70% of our relationship. When we met he worked in the pipeline industry traveling all over the country. He was only hope for about 30 days a year and so when we met he just happened to be working in NY State near my nanny job. That whole process and experience is a whole other blog post for another day.
In short, we were both looking for short term relationships, but then he was all magical and charming and I was all in love. So met him in the summer, the following January he left to his next assignment in Ohio and that really sucked. I went out to see him twice but scheduling that was always really hard because I’m always busy and he never knew where his next job was or what the schedule was like. I could buy a ticket to see him and find out hours before my flight that he had to go to Georgia or something like that.
After that he was far and then close and then far as hell and then super close. Now he’s still far but that’s only because I basically push him off of the bed. I’m used to sleeping diagonally. Serious talk though, the hardest part about this was the uncertainty. The not knowing. If there’s any advice I’d give for someone in a LDR it’s be patient and try not to stab anyone when they ask give you that piece of advice. It sucks and yes absence makes the heart grow fonder, but if you throw in anxiety, seasonal depression and human nature, absence makes you feel like a crazy person and that’s okay.
I can’t tell you how it came up, because the end of 2017 was so emotionally taxing for us that I’ve just suppressed most it and so it’s a blur. I do know that it took tons of conversations and a billion things to consider. I had an established and well known photography business in NYC. A strong list of clients I had spent years building. A portfolio that I worked incredibly hard on and opportunities I wasn’t going to get anywhere else but NYC. Leaving that was major, but that was surface stuff.
All of my family lives back East as do 98% of my friends. My nanny family is also back East and that was especially hard considering I basically became an adult in that house and learned SO MUCH. That’s also a whole other post that’s dropping sometime next week. My grandmother, my life, my people, bodegas, the culture. All of this stuff was taken into consideration. However, when we sat down and thought about it I realized that I can do what I do anywhere. I can build just like I built in NYC. I can visit my family and friends and they can also come visit me. It’s all as my great friend Ada would say, “Figure-out-able.”
Anyway, I live in Arizona as of last week. Hi from 110 degree weather.
This is the longer part of the post so go refill on some snacks if you need to. I’ll wait…
This was just as much as a surprise to me as it was to the most of the universe. But before I even get into that, let’s talk about my ring. You guys asked TONS of questions on Instagram and so I’ll do my best to answer most of them. As weird as it sounds with me having mentioned I had no idea this was happening, I actually picked my ring. Now for the longest time I wanted a marquise Emerald. However after tons of research, and TWO friends sharing their engagement ring horror stories, I decided I’d go in another direction. This was hard because first of all, I’ve never wanted to be married and so even when I didn’t need no man because I’m an independent black woman, I told myself I was going to buy myself an Emerald. Turns out they are super soft stones and break a lot more often than usual. I’ll pass.
I found THIS ring from Anna Sheffield and I fell in LOVE. Like never showed him another ring. Never mentioned another ring. I wanted this one. Well, not this one specifically because this one was 22 grand BUT this one. Here’s the other thing though, I had been following @IzandCo for a few years and I knew I wanted them to make my ring. Then upon further research and conversation I discovered that it is a minority owned business originating in NYC. This was a big factor to me because I wanted my ring to feel like home. You guys also know how I feel about supporting small businesses, people of color, etc. NOW, yes I did not pay for it. No I do not know how much my ring cost, but I do know that my ring is extra special because Iz and Co made it and they are basically our family now.
How gorgeous is this Marquise Champagne Diamond? I truly don’t know what those things mean except on my ring haha. But if you’re curious for details, here are some shots from Iz and Co’s Instagram Stories.
If you’d like to see more, check out Iz&Co’s instagram. As per the professional description I pulled off of Iz&Co’s instagram post (see below), this is a Marquise Shape Champagne Diamond surrounded by a halo of round brilliant diamonds, accented by Two Trillion diamonds all set in rose gold. I just know it’s gorgeous and it’s way better than what I could have ever imagined. Check out this amazing video our jeweler posted HERE.
Another favorite detail, you cant see this but I know it’s there. The inside of the ring is engraved with an inside joke that reads “Vegas Bagel.” I’ll tell you the quick story. On our first date we were walking around Nyack NY. It’s such a cute town and I worked there at the time. We were talking about something and he was talking about Vegas and Bagels. I can’t remember exactly what he said but I remember thinking “WTH is he saying to me?” When I asked, we went back and forth with that’s not how you say Bagel or Vegas. It became our thing. It’s still our thing. Silly but special.
I’d like to keep the details of the proposal to myself and my close mates, but know that this was what that man was holding when he got down on one knee. The most brilliant, unique and thoughtful thing I have ever seen in my life. This is a repurposed Canon lens ring box made by KĒLŌ Designs. Chase purchased the only one available in all of the world because this guy bought the prototype. Insane and I’m still speechless. I’m also so obsessed with my ring. Let’s stare at it some more!
All in all, it’s a crazy time in our lives right now but we are so incredibly happy. I’m especially happy I got to celebrate such a personal moment with my family and friends. What makes me happier is that I was surrounded by people who have always celebrated me, even before Chase and I were a thing. Marriage isn’t the end all be all but this is part of a new beginning for us and I’m so excited to experience it surrounded by people who love us.
It’s a beautiful day here in Arizona and we’re going to go see Beyonce, courtesy of one of my amazing clients. I hope you guys have an amazing day and don’t forget to check out Iz&Co. Buy all of the things because literally they are the very best.