Happy Sweetest Day! Will you be celebrating? Here’s how Fred Baby and I will be celebrating, plus in the spirit of love, our never-before-shared engagement story. I would LOVE to hear your story. Plus, there’s a chance your love story may be cast in a beautiful film! Details below…
But first, remember earlier this year for Valentine’s Day, DOVE Chocolate asked us to share the story of how we met? (You can read that here.) I loved walking down memory lane and sharing our story, and I also loved watching other people’s love stories in these Love Less Ordinary videos.
This one (below) reminded me of one of my all-time favorite movies, When Harry Met Sally, which we’ll be watching tonight in celebration of Sweetest Day. #teamnoraephron
I love the part at the end of When Harry Met Sally, when real couples sit side by side on the sofa telling their love stories. It always makes me laugh. And cry. I know, I’m such a sap. But I’ve always secretly wanted to be one of those couples. You too? Well, now here’s our chance!
Submit your love story here for a chance to be cast in a film of your own!
We’ll be submitting our story and you should submit yours too — and tell me if you get picked, so I can watch! A perfect way to celebrate Sweetest Day if you ask me – and what would make a better Valentine’s Day gift than to have a beautiful film of your own love story?
Seriously, I watched these videos over and over again – and in the last few weeks have fallen down the rabbit hole of YouTube where I’ve been watching Nora Ephron interviews constantly, so I feel like it’s a sign, right? Right.
Now, here’s our engagement story. It’s a doozy. Hope you enjoy…
It was the fall of 2002. I had recently moved back from Los Angeles to Austin, where my boyfriend of nearly three years, Fred Baby, was living. After a year of dating long-distance, we were excited to be together again and this time we had our sights set on a move to New York City together.
However, Fred Baby owned a house in Austin, the economy had tanked after the dotcom crash, and his company didn’t have any clients in New York.
His company did have clients in Detroit, however, so instead they offered to pay all of our moving costs and closing costs on the house if we moved to Detroit. Wait…what? I know. But Fred Baby was flying to Detroit every week to meet with clients, and it was a step in the right direction, even if it wasn’t exactly the destination my starry-eyes had in mind.
I had recently just started this little thing called a blog and had a few freelance writing gigs on the side, but Fred Baby had what I liked to call at the time a “real job” so when he asked me what I thought, I said I would make the move to Detroit for one year, but then I was off — hopefully with him! — to New York. (No offense, Motown. It just wasn’t what I had in mind when my dream – thanks in no small part to When Harry Met Sally, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Who’s the Boss — had always been to live in New York.)
With a move to a city that would have snowy roads ahead of us, and a slightly traumatic car accident behind me, Fred Baby wanted me to have a safer car than my swimmy hand-me-down. So one evening, a few weeks before Christmas, he told me had an early present for me.
On the couch in our living room, he presented me with two printouts and asked which I preferred: a zippy blue Mini Cooper or a gleaming black Mercedes C Class sedan. He’d wanted it to be a surprise, but since it was a big decision, he thought that we should make it together. (He’s the best, I know.)
I’d desperately wanted a Mini Cooper, but given that we were moving to a place with bad roads, big trucks, and actual weather, we both thought the sedan with 4WD might be safer. But he wanted me to choose. Feeling slightly like Holly Golightly profiting off of going to the powder room, I agreed (twist my arm) and chose the Mercedes.
Shortly after, he flew to New York to spend Christmas with his family in Connecticut, while I spent Christmas in Texas with mine.
The day after Christmas I flew to New York, where he met me at the airport. As we walked out to the parking lot, snow gently falling, there sat gleaming in the night a new shiny black car, Black Beauty, a giant red bow on top like the cherry on top of a German-engineered sundae.
After spending a few merry days with his family in Greenwich, we set out for a New England road trip in the new car.
First stop: Boston!
I’d never been and was excited to see if everyone knew my name, and was always glad I came.
We’d booked a hotel online, but when we checked in, it looked nothing like the photos. It didn’t help that Fred Baby cut his hand on the door trying to get into the room. We were tired and hungry, and possibly infected with tetanus, so headed out into the cold night for dinner, bundled up in bulky layers.
What I didn’t know was that before I arrived in New York, Fred Baby had been working away on another surprise. After months of stealth shopping when he was away on business trips, he’d picked out an engagement ring in New York City. He had also booked a room at the St. Regis New York for New Year’s Eve and was planning on proposing at Rockefeller Center.
But, when he returned to pick up the ring and drove by Rockefeller Center, he saw that it was mobbed by a sea of tourists, and started to rethink his plan.
Meanwhile, back in Boston, we made our way out of the cold and into a restaurant where we began to thaw out over cocktails and a warm meal. Since I like to sit with my back to the wall (#highmaintencewhothinkssheslowmaintence), my view was of the interior of the restaurant, while Fred Baby’s was of me with a large bay window behind me overlooking Newbury Street. As we talked and he watched the snow fall behind me, he began to fidget with the straw in his cocktail.
I didn’t really notice, as I was distracted by the TV screens at the bar playing sports and a few kids running around. But I snapped to attention when he said, “If I were to ask you to marry me, what would you say?”
Come again?! If you were to ask me, I thought, confusion beginning to bubble. Is he? No… Is he about to ask me to marry him? No. Not here. Not like this! I was wearing frayed jeans, a hand-me-down cashmere sweater with holes in it, and barely had on any makeup, my static-ridden hair tied into a messy ponytail.
Where was my pretty dress, freshly done hair and makeup, and impossibly charming demeanor?
Taken aback, I replied with something like, “I guess if you were to ask me to marry you, you’d have to ask me to find out?”
Why did he want to marry me?
I’ll never know.
I quickly changed the subject.
We uncomfortably finished our dinner, and then decided to take a snowy walk to another restaurant for dessert.
I was so thrown off guard by what had just (possibly almost?) happened, but we walked hand in hand in the frigid Boston night to a charming little Italian restaurant, where we ordered our favorite: tiramisu.
What is tiramisu?
Some woman is going to what me to do it to her and I’m not going to know what it is.
You’ll love it.
As we waited for our tiramisu, Fred Baby nervously started down the same line of questioning again.
“If I were to ask you…”
Is this happening, my heart started racing?!
He continued, “You know how much I love you…”
Suddenly, he dropped to one knee.
OMG! THIS IS HAPPENING!
He pulled out of his pocket the straw ring form the first restaurant and slid it onto my finger, as he asked, “Will you make me the luckiest guy in the world and marry me?”
Tears streamed down my face.
The waiter caught a peek of what was happening and rushed over with a bottle of champagne.
“Do we have something to celebrate”? he eagerly inquired.
“Well, she hasn’t said yes yet,” Fred Baby prompted.
“Oh! Yes! Yes!” I shouted, still in total disbelief.
Fred Baby reached into his pocket and pulled out a box, opening it to reveal a dazzling diamond. (I’d like the record to note that I said yes to a straw first!).
He slid it onto my finger, as tears streamed down both of our faces.
Overjoyed, we hugged and cried as the waiter popped open the bubbly and we were congratulated by the staff, the owners, and several other diners.
After recovering from the shock of it all, we cheerily stumbled out of the restaurant onto Newbury Street, our cheeks rosy from the champagne and the cold and the glee of what had just happened.
“You know the only thing that could make this better?” I teased as I gazed at my sparkling new finger candy.
“What?,” my newly betrothed asked, hesitantly.
“A chocolate donut!”
I have a one-track mind and that track is chocolate. We called our parents from the donut shop to tell them the good news.
Fred Baby later confessed that a friend had offhandedly made the comment that once you get the ring, it will burn a hole in your pocket. Once he heard that, and had the ring, he could not get that out of his head. So while he had no plans of proposing that night, he suddenly couldn’t wait. He also says that for some reason he never even considered proposing anywhere other than a restaurant. When I asked him why, he said “because that’s what you see in all the movies.” (He was clearly influenced by rom-coms too!)
We walked back into the snowy night — changing hotels along the way — and spent the night like two young fools in love, overlooking Copley Place from our suite, with our donuts and dreams for the future before us.
We spent the next few days driving around in Black Beauty, showing each other where we grew up. He showed me his elementary school in Bronxville, his beautiful old Angela Bower house, and his high school in New Hampshire. I showed him the Air Force Base I grew up on in New Jersey, the woods behind our house that I used to play make believe in, and we peered into the windows of my humble childhood home where I used to watch Who’s the Boss.
After, we hopped in the car and drove to New York City, where we spent New Year’s Eve at the St. Regis, celebrating our newly engaged status.
As for Detroit, in spite of having what turned out to be a pretty great year, on Day 364 we packed up our U-Haul and Black Beauty, and headed for New York, our future twinkling before us like a dazzling diamond ring. We’ve kept each other on our toes ever since, enjoying all the twists and turns along the way together.
This post is brought to you by Dove Chocolate. As always, all words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies who help make Kelly Golightly possible.