Monthly Archives: August 2011

Ryan Asked, and I Said . . . “No!”

Friday, in a surprise to beat all surprises of my lifetime, Ryan asked me to marry him.

But, as mentioned in the title of this blog post, my response was “no.”  Sorry if I’ve disappointed you all!

Despite that, I don’t ever want to forget this past weekend – it truly was perfect.

Ryan had planned a weekend trip to a beautiful little cabin the mountains outside Charlottesville, VA.  He said we’d be shutting out technology for the duration of the trip – no phones, computers, etc.  I thought it was a great idea – we’ve had a crazy busy year, and Ryan deserves time with me where I’m not constantly on Twitter or blogging, etc.  No problemo.

Because Ryan took the initiative to plan the trip, I briefly wondered if he was planning to propose.  But no, I corrected myself, there as no way he seemed ready to do so.  Heck, I didn’t think he’d even bought a ring yet.  He didn’t give off any clues, either, so I thought “Oh, that was wishful thinking.”

I hadn’t been doing the impatient girl thing – you know, the “You need to put a ring on it” kinda thing.  (I can’t say the same for my mother, however!)  Nope, we’ve been happily living together for a little more than a year, and we’ve been dating for about 2.5 years.  Our life together is crazy good, and we’ve had serious conversations so I knew we were both in it for the long haul –  so I was happily going about life knowing that he would pop the question when he was ready.

We had a great Friday morning, driving to Charlottesville and taking our time to stop at antique stores along the way.  Ryan had also agreed to stop at the J. Crew sample sale in C-ville for some clothes shopping.  I’d heard about the sale from Jeannine, and after researching J. Crew’s labor practices, decided that I’d give them a shot.

Ryan gave up quickly, and went to wait in the car. I continued to rifle through the boxes of “good deals” for a while.  Suddenly I thought “what am I doing? Ryan’s planned this fabulous weekend escape and I’m shopping? ”  With that, I picked up my stuff, made my purchase, and left.

At the Cabin

We arrived at the Cottages at Chesley Creek Farm and found our secluded cabin, the Creek House.

It was a sweet two-person a-frame sort of nestled in the woods on a hill that tumbled down to a slightly burbling creek.  We set our bags inside and I started snapping photos for the blog, of course!  When I finally finished, Ryan said he wanted to check out the creek.  He was exuding a slightly more lovey-dovey vibe than in our usual day-to-day lives . . . but I figured it was just his happiness at having a weekend away.

We walked the overgrown path to the creek, with Ryan chivalrously taking the lead to break up the spiderwebs that stood in our way.  He seemed disappointed to find that the creek was more of a stream than a gushing, rushing river.  So back up the path we went.  Once inside the cabin, I started to unpack and get organized – because that’s what I like to do before I settle into having fun and relaxing anywhere.  Ryan gave me a hard time about being so uptight, telling me to relax and come sit on the porch.  I reluctantly agreed, but only because I appreciated that he’d gone to the trouble of planning the trip.

I walked out to the porch and looked out over the treetops.  Ryan came up behind me and hugged me, whispering in my ear “I love you.”   Right at that moment I got a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach.  :)

He took me by the shoulders and turned me around to face him, and continued to speak:

” . . . and I was wondering “

and he dropped down on one knee . . .

” . . . if you would marry me.”

Holy crap. Was he really proposing?

Thoughts rushed through my head like the water Ryan wished was rushing through the creek.  There was no way he was serious.  I mean, I’d thought the trip would be the perfect time for a proposal, but didn’t really believe he would actually do it.   And we always joke around, so maybe he was screwing with me.

“Stop it!”  I said.  “You’re joking!”

He said something about not joking, pulled a tiny box out of the pocket of his shorts, and popped it open to reveal a gorgeous, sparkly diamond ring.

For half a second I did a double-take, saying something classy and elegant like:


Ryan was still kneeling there, looking up at me, holding out the ring, tears running down his cheeks (yes, really).

Ryan: I shall not suffer such calumnies! The real reason I had tears in my eye was there was a rusty nail that wasn’t hammered down all the way and it was digging into my knee quite painfully. It’s also allergy season up in the mountains. And the sun was in my eyes. I think I was chopping onions before I went outside too. Oh and I was just really distraught because after suffering through all her photo taking and shopping I knew she was about to ruin my perfect proposal speech.


So what did I do?

I said no.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate.

“No. No.  No.  No.  You’re kidding me!”  came flying out of my mouth as I stomped around in a circle on the porch, coming to stand in front of Ryan again.

What was I doing at this magical moment?  I wasn’t really saying “no,” I was trying to calm my mind down because I was freaking out and totally flabbergasted by the surprise.  Ryan will tell you – I don’t handle surprises well.  Not even ones I’m really excited about.  Oh boy.

So many feelings were flooding my senses, and there I was acting like a fool and spoiling the romantic moment.  I

I looked at Ryan, and said:  “Of course!”

Ryan, still kneeling on the porch with all hopes of making a romantic speech gone, then said to me:

“Jane, will you take the Goddamn ring?!”

Oh!  I nervously looked towards the ring, and somehow managed to get the words out of my mouth to explain that I didn’t want to risk fumbling and dropping it between the boards of the porch.  Ryan finally stood up, rubbed his knee, and then led me into the cabin. I was still in shock.

And there, in the kitchen of the little cabin in the woods, standing in front of the refrigerator, Ryan slid the diamond ring on my finger. I just looked at it – utterly amazed that he had surprised me so completely, and stunned at how sparkly the ring was. :)

Following all this excitement, I dragged Ryan over to the couch and started hammering him with questions. :)  I just couldn’t believe he’d created such a great surprise, and wanted to hear all about it.  I must have interrupted him about every 5 seconds to say either “OMG, this ring is so beautiful!”  or “OMG, this was better than any proposal I ever imagined!”  or “I can’t believe you just popped the question!”

In between my exclamations, he managed to tell me about one more surprise.  At approximately 6 pm, his best friend was logging into the blog to post Ryan’s now-practically-infamous “What the Hell!?  The Proposed Abode!?” blog post.

Well let me tell you, just when I thought the proposal couldn’t get any better, that little fact made it even more awesome.   The fact that Ryan included the blog, as it’s most definitely been a part of our life together, just confirmed even more to me that he was right.

After all the excitement, and after I drilled him for hours with questions, he told me I could have my phone back – the “no phone weekend” rule had only been in effect so that I couldn’t see the blog post go up.  You know, just in case the proposal didn’t happen by 6 pm (like if he was still stuck at a . . . um . . . J. Crew Sample Sale).  :)  But given the fact that he’d just popped the question, I did what maybe no other girl has ever done  –

I decided to savor the moment with Ryan, and just Ryan.  I decided not to grab my phone and start calling friends and family; to keep the phone off for the weekend.   And I’m really glad I did – the entire weekend was perfect, filled with so much happiness and excitement and just generally good warm fuzzy feelings.  And on Sunday, once we started calling and texting and emailing and Facebooking, etc, I was quickly worn out from all the communication and excitement – and I wished so much that I could just run right back to that cabin with Ryan and lock out the world!!   Don’t get me wrong – I was thrilled to tell everyone – it was just surprisingly tiring to deal with so much excitement.

But this is where I must leave off for now.  We had some great adventures during the rest of the weekend – but I’m saving that, and a video where Ryan actually speaks(!) for tomorrow.

And as for the proposal, where Ryan asked and I said “no” – well now you have the whole story of how I freaked out and “spoiled” the romantic moment.  In retrospect, Ryan says he wouldn’t have had it any other way.   It reminds us of our first date . . . which went pretty much the same way.   Maybe someday I’ll tell you about it.


Cottages at Chesley Creek Farm: A perfect romantic mountain getaway

From the number of comments and emails I’ve received, I’m pretty sure every blog reader I’ve ever had now knows that Ryan whisked me away last weekend to pop the question.  And you all keep telling me you’re waiting to hear the story.

Well keep on waiting, ladies (and gents?), because I’m posting things in the order in which they occurred. :)

Kicking off this celebratory week of awesome is a tour of our borrowed vacation abode.  Why are we starting with a cabin tour, and not the proposal story?  Because before he could pop that big Q, I had to take photos for the blog, of course! :)

Ryan rented a sweet little cabin for two at the Cottages at Chesley Creek Farm.  It was more luxurious than any cabin I’ve ever stayed in before.  Located on the side of a mountain about 30 minutes outside of Charlottesville, VA, the 4 cottages are scattered amongst a farm property, each placed far enough apart that you totally feel like you’re on your own private vacation property.  And they’re set up so wonderfully inside, with cozy towels and bedding and sweet-smelling soap, it’s much like a bed & breakfast.

Ryan had booked the Creek house, which was on the hillside overlooking woods and a creek.

Though the cabin was small by most people’s standards,  it was the perfect size.  Heck, it was about the size of apartments I’ve had, only much nicer.  I could easily live in a space like this.

The cabin was essentially divided into two halves – the living room / dining room / kitchen half, and the bedroom/bathroom half. Continue reading

Introducing: The Week of Awesome at the Proposed Abode

Hi all!  The last 10 days have been such a whirlwind of excitement and travel!  When we last talked, I was heading out for a weekend in the mountains with Ryan – which you all know now included a surprise proposal – followed by a rather anticlimactic week-long business trip to Southern California.  It was anticlimatic simply because after the most perfect romantic weekend with Ryan, it really sucked to be away from him for 6 days.

Also, I spent Thursday evening trying not to think about the fact that my work trip was the reason I had to decline an invitation to a party held by Emily Henderson in New York City that night.  Oh, the horror!  She’s pretty much my favorite HGTV show host – I love how real she is on her blog – and I would have just loved to meet her.

But there was a silver lining to that cloud.  Because I was still in Cali, I was able to visit a fabulous coffee roaster and then shoot up to Beverly Hills for the Decorate book signing with Holly Becker, where I also got to met two more awesome bloggers in real life – Kelly from Ever Kelly and Kalani from Kalanicut!!

I stayed that night at a beautiful, luxurious hotel . . . only to have to leave at 3:30 in the morning to drive back to San Diego in an attempt to NOT get stuck at the airport and actually get home before the now infamous hurricane.

And when I arrived home, rather than still being grouchy for having to cut my California trip short, I was just overcome with joy at seeing Ryan and being in my home sweet home.

You know what? California was fabulous, but it just wasn’t fun without Ryan there to experience it with me.  And while the hotels had the most comfortable beds, not to mention maid service, they don’t hold a candle to our little Borrowed Abode, even with the shedding pets and the dishes piled up in the kitchen sink.

But enough sappiness.  I’ve scrapped my scheduled blog posts for the week, because I have a week of awesomeness to share with you – starting, of course, with the proposal and trip.   So if you’re looking for projects, you’ll have to come back next week.


Guest Post: Jen from Jen on the Edge

I feel a little guilty that I’m here in Cali getting ready for a day of fun, while Ryan is back home preparing for the hurricane, and I’m trying to  see if I can change my flight which is currently scheduled to land during the middle of the storm.

In the mean time, we’ve got one more fabulous guest post to cap off Jen Week! Jen from Jen on the Edge is here to talk about the super awesome eco-friendly house that she and her husband built!


Hi everyone. I’m Jen and I blog primarily at Jen on the Edge.  For over a year, though, I also blogged at EconoMod, which was the blog my husband Pete and I used to talk about the house we built three years ago.

We live in Charlottesville, Virginia, which is the home of Monticello and the University of Virginia.  Consequently, a lot of the architecture here in our town looks like these landmarks:



Those are lovely buildings, to be sure, but living amongst all that red brick can be boring. And, in fact, our last house was a lovely red brick Colonial. We admire classical architecture, but longed to see something different in a sea of red brick, white columns, and black doors and shutters. Continue reading