Getting engaged in the Adirondacks

Now that it’s Valentine’s Day, I realized that I never said much about how Jake and I got engaged. It’s just that, when it happened, I told the story so many times out loud that I got lazy about putting it into writing. But, it’s also one of my favorite memories of all time, and I’m feeling nostalgic. So here goes.

Jake and I started looking at rings in late 2015 / early 2016. I remember it being winter, and we were home in Connecticut, so it was probably around the holidays. We went one time to Dunstan Jewelers in Avon, CT (now permanently closed), tried on a few different shapes and sizes, and then left. And then Jake never said another word about it.

A few months came and went, and in May we planned a tenth anniversary, long-weekend trip to the Adirondacks. We had just taken a 9-day trip to Europe, which I had planned and book almost completely on my own, so allegedly “as a thank you” Jake insisted on doing all of the planning for the anniversary — down to researching different restaurants, hikes, and Airbnb options.

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This is me, before I knew what was coming.

I had hoped this meant a ring was coming — it was our tenth anniversary, after all. And, we would have seclusion and privacy, which was something I had expressed a preference towards if there would ever be a proposal. Not to mention the fact that we share a mutual love of being outside, and everything about the trip felt perfect. Until, within literally minutes of arriving at our Airbnb, we lost the keys.

Luckily, the owners had a spare set, but we spent a while searching the front walk and digging through our bags. At one point, I asked, “Hey babe, do you mind if I check your duffel one more time?” And Jake said, “No prob, go ahead.” Which meant there was not a ring in there. And that kind of freaked me out.

This freakout spiraled a bit, and by the end of the evening I was crying in a grocery store parking lot because Jake had so thoroughly convinced me that I had been terribly mistaken, and there was no ring coming after all. In fact, I believed this so thoroughly that I didn’t think twice when Jake gently nudged me to go on a hike the next morning even though I didn’t feel well. And I didn’t think twice when he wheezed his way up the mountain, lagging behind me and constantly stopping to pee even though he has much longer legs and is in much better shape. Nor did I think twice when he started waxing poetic at the peak, talking about “the last 10 years” and having a future together. Until he got down on one knee.

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I was absolutely stunned. Turns out, Jake had intentionally hidden the ring elsewhere and was thrilled when I asked to look through his bag. He knew that I’d be obsessing over where it was and that I’d think the worst when I didn’t see it, just like he knew I’d feel better after getting some fresh air and going on the hike regardless of my upset stomach. And it turns out that he was lagging so far behind because his heart was pounding so hard he could barely walk. I don’t know about you, but all of that that is extremely endearing to me.

Maybe the cutest part, though, was that he arranged for our parents to meet us at dinner that night. On the walk back down the mountain, after the proposal, I was raving about how I couldn’t wait to get home to Connecticut to tell everyone. He insisted we stay for dinner because “the restaurant had promised champagne.” Which, like…fine, you’ve convinced me. We’ll stay for the champagne.

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Of course, the champagne was just a very successful ruse and our families were in on the surprise. I walked into the restaurant thinking we’d be heading for a table for two and literally looked past where everyone was sitting. By the time I realized what was going on, my legs had given out from shock and I burst into tears. Then Jake’s dad started crying, my dad started crying, and we all sort of stood around hugging and wiping our faces for a few minutes. It was, quite frankly, the best. (And yes, you read that right; the men cried first).

Now here we are almost two years later, and I sort of can’t believe he knew me so well. He knew the kind of place I’d want to stay, my thought process on where the ring would be — the lost key was not part of the plan, by the way. It’s gone forever and we still don’t know what happened to it — and the fact that once it was official I would want us to be with our in-laws-to-be. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

So anyway, that’s my mushy Valentine’s Day post. I feel incredibly lucky to be married to someone so thoughtful and creative and kind, and I am so excited for him to come home this weekend after 5 weeks away.

Some more practical takeaways for those of you who are here for the recommendations rather than the romance: the two particular items of clothing I was wearing during the hike which made the whole thing much more enjoyable since it was quite chilly.

  1. My EMS puffer jacket, which I bought at Jake’s mother’s urging shortly before our trip (because she knows I hate being cold and that Jake was planning on proposing). I still wear it all the time and I think about that weekend every time I pull it out of the closet. Thanks, Cathleen!
  2. My hiking boots. I wear these much less frequently than the jacket, but I’ve been grateful that I have them every time I need them. This particular pair is comfortable, durable, and — maybe most importantly — waterproof. I love wading through streams and mud in them becuase I feel untouchable.

Also, please stay at that Airbnb if you’re in the area; it’s absolute perfection. And I’d recommend the restaurant, too, but apparently it closed a few months after our dinner there.

Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope all of you are doing something really special.

Love, me.

 

What I’m loving on rainy days

Rainy days get a nasty reputation, but I’ve never understood why. What could possibly be better than having no choice but to snuggle up, watch TV, and enjoy lots of warm coffee? Admittedly, I’d probably be enjoying it more if Jake were here — ICYMI: he’s away on clinical rotations at military hospitals — but I’m definitely making the most of it regardless. Here are my rainy day favorite things:

  1. Netflix. Surprise, surprise, binge-watching TV is fun and very worth the $10 per month or whatever it costs. Right now, I am loving Riverdale for it’s social commentary, scandal, and cringeworthy acting. Sometimes those shows just hit the spot.
  2. My LL Bean pullover. I first saw this sweater on Carly the Prepster and couldn’t resist picking one up for myself. Also, not sure if you heard the news, but LL Bean is sunsetting its lifetime return policy, so now is either the best or worst time to buy a bunch of their products. Not to mention the fact that sale is currently an addition 25% off.
  3. Rain coat from The North Face. It’s a lot easier to make myself run errands when I know I’m not going to get soaking wet, and this jacket has never let me down. Also, it’s really cute! And rain gear is not something I get to wear often, so I kind of look forward to the opportunity. Is that weird? Which brings me to…
  4. Jeffrey Cambell rain boots. Best $60 I ever spent on shoes. I bought these in black a million years ago and wear them all. the. time. At 5’1, I need the extra height, but the block heel makes them super comfortable, even for all-day wear. Not sure what the negative reviews are all about.
  5. New York Edition candle. For those of you who don’t know, we stayed at the New York Edition for my best friend’s wedding last May, and I could not get over how great the place smelled. I bought a candle to bring home, but the aforementioned best friend just sent two more for my birthday and it makes my whole apartment so much better. (Thank you, Ashley!)
  6. Oribe’s masque for beautiful color. Indulgent, yes. Amazing? Also yes. I didn’t have color in my hair until recently, but I’ve been using it as a deep conditioner for years because the formula is so moisturizing and great for curls. And the smell. Heaven. Curse my internship with Oribe that got me hooked on it to begin with.
  7. Equinox fitness classes. It is hard to drag myself out of the house when it’s crummy outside, but knowing I’m going to an awesome class in a beautiful facility really helps. My favorites are Stacked, Barre, and Best Butt Ever (which maybe needs a more creative name).
  8. New York Magazine crossword puzzles. Jake got me into them, and they’ve been so great for lazy days at home, long flights, or my commute. Also, they’re a great alternative to the New York Times which, frankly, is a little out of my league.

 

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What did I miss? What do you do on your rainy days off? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Love, me.

PS: Please forgive the extremely amateur product spread. I’m still learning!

The road to Da Adolfo

Da Adolfo is a beloved hidden gem on the Amalfi Coast — a favorite among locals and travel bloggers who seek fresh ingredients, exclusive beaches, and a story to tell. By some fluke in the universe, though, we got a table during our honeymoon. And this is how you can, too:

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First of all, the place basically never answers their phone, and rumor has it that they only pick up for local numbers, nor do they take online reservations. So your hotel has to call to book your table during a particular window of hours when they do answer the phone, as far in advance as possible, and it’s very competitive. Then, on the morning of your reservation, you take a boat from the main beach in Positano to the beach where Da Adolfo is located, which the restaurant shares only with Le Sirene hotel. Oh, and though the boat ride is free with restaurant reservations, the skippers on board the boat will make sure your name is on the list before letting you board. If — even by a fluke — it isn’t there, they will turn you away. Then, after an admittedly beautiful ride to the Da Adolfo beach, you rent lounge chairs (and umbrellas, if you don’t want to fry in the sun), and wait for your table to come available around lunchtime. That’s…three hoops just to make the call, a literal boat ride and the hope that they remembered to write your name down, money to rent space on the beach, and a few hours waiting.

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But none of that is necessary if you stay at Hotel Pellegrino. If you stay at Hotel Pellegrino, owners Luiggi and Sandra will refuse to call and book you a table because it’s “too hard” (something I initially doubted but now understand to be extremely true). They will, instead, cryptically drive you to a stretch of cliffside highway as early in the day as you’ll let them, point you to an incredibly inconspicuous set of stairs, and wave goodbye. And then down the cliff stairs you go.

So, basically, you have two options: go the insane phone call route and cross your fingers it works, or stay at Hotel Pellegrino and be dropped off at a secret cliffside staricase early enough in the day that it doesn’t matter you don’t have a formal reservation. Also, maybe don’t try to do the latter with a big group, since it’s easier for restaurants to accommodate two surprise guests rather than, say, four or five. Ask nicely if you can get on the waiting list for lunch that day, and then get comfortable with a good book, some sunscreen, and a bathing suit. Tip generously. If you’re lucky, you’ll get seated at a table next to a celebrity chef (hi, Thomas Carter and Danny Meyer) or just your average, run of the mill celebrity like Gwyneth Paltrow.

No matter what route you take to get there, it’s worth the trip. You can read about what (and how) we ordered here.

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I hope this helps at least some of you! Feel free to comment or ping me with any additional questions.

Love, me.