Tag Archives: love

#39 Find my Soul Mate, Fall in Love and Get Married–Part 2

14 Oct

It happened! I met my soul mate, my match. I fell madly, deeply in love. And now I’m a married woman living my happily ever after.

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On September 22, 2018, in front of our closest family and friends, on a beautiful beach in Mexico, Mychael and I proclaimed our love for each other. It was such a special day, and really an unforgettable week.

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We decided early on in the wedding planning process that we wanted to do a destination wedding. A couple of years ago, we attended my cousin Ali’s wedding in Tulum and had the most incredible time. It wasn’t about the actual wedding day per say, although that was lovely, it was about all the quality time we got to spend with everyone. We loved so many things about that trip that we decided to do something really similar. Fortunately my cousin is really cool and was flattered, not upset, when I called to ask if we could model our wedding after hers.

We worked with an awesome travel agency out of Dallas called Legacy Travel. Our travel agent Lesley was super helpful from the get-go. She made venue recommendations and arranged for us to do a site check trip. We looked at 8 hotels in the Riviera Maya, specifically in Playa Mujeres, Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen. In the end, we decided on Dreams Riviera Cancun in Puerto Morelos. The hotel was tucked away and felt very private, but was still only a short distance to the airport, which was something we kept in mind for some of our older guests and those that were apprehensius about traveling out of the country. It is an all-inclusive resort, which looks expensive upfront, but when you factor in food and alcohol costs, it’s actually a great deal (especially considering how much our friends and family like to drink 🍻).

We worked with their in-house wedding planning staff to put together the event of our dreams (well, really just mine…I don’t think Mychael ever dreamed of his wedding 😆). They do a ton of weddings at this hotel, so I felt really confident in their ability to pull it off. We planned to have our ceremony right on the beach, no shoes required, the cocktail hour on a restaurant rooftop at sunset, and the reception on a deck on the beach.

You always hear people complain about wedding planning, but for me, it was really fun. It probably helps that event planning is a part of my job and both my parents are in marketing so they had great advice. I tried hard to think through every little detail to ensure the trip would be a memorable experience for all our guests. Our ultimate goal was to throw an amazing party so people would have a great time celebrating and getting to know each other.

When the week came, we were ready to go. We’d packed up several big suitcases of decorations and sent one with each of our parents (I’d ordered a lot of stuff…I wish Etsy had something equivalent to a frequent flyer program! They literally have anything you can think of for weddings and believe me, I put that site to the the test.)

My parents spoiled us and upgraded everything about our trip, so we were picked up by a car service and taken to the airport. Then hung at the lounge and flew first class.

When we changed planes in LA, they surprised us by booking the seats right across from us (we didn’t think they were coming until the next day!). I love surprises so much and it was so fun to travel with them to Cancun.

Once we got to the hotel, everything went by so quickly. The first couple of days were filled with wedding-related meetings to make sure everything was ready to go. And then before you know it, the wedding activities began!

We had a welcome karaoke party so everyone could get to know each other over a few (or 10 drinks).

The following night was the rehearsal dinner. It was a beautiful private dinner that felt like we were eating in the jungle. Following dinner, we had a surprise fire dancer show. It was pretty cool!

My girls and I did a fun photoshoot that morning.

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And then it was time to head to the spa to get ready. I invited the bridesmaids, flower girl, the moms and Mychael’s sister to all get ready together, so we completely took over the spa. It was so fun!

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We went back to my room to all get dressed, hang out and toast with some champagne.

And I found the sweetest card from Mychael.

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He’s not a mushy guy, so this meant so much to me. It talked about how people kept asking if he was nervous, but he wasn’t. He was sure. It resonated because I felt the exact same way. I wasn’t nervous about marrying him or spending the rest of my life with him. I was excited. This was the moment I’d been waiting for and I had found the man of my dreams.

And then it came and went in a flash.

Family is really important to both Mychael and I so our ceremony consisted of only family members. My dad was our officiant (and he nailed it…funny and sentimental at the same time), Mychael’s dad did a special Irish bell ringing ceremony to honor their family’s heritage, his sister did a sweet reading about love and my brother did a more light-hearted reading from The Wedding Singer. Our ceremony was heart-felt and there were some candid moments that I will treasure forever. It was perfect.

From there we took a million photos (Mychael’s personal nightmare) and our guests headed to the cocktail hour.

During the cocktail hour it started pouring. We knew this was coming and had planned earlier in the day to move the reception inside. Ideally it would have held off another 30 minutes, but the staff was really on top of it and moved everyone downstairs inside the restaurant just in time to avoid the rain and finish up the cocktail hour. It wasn’t my dream to have the reception in a ballroom, but in the end it wasn’t a big deal. Everyone had a great time and some people even said they liked it better because there was air conditioning.

Our wedding was an incredible day, but moreso than that, the week was an unforgettable celebration of love. And man, it was fun. All our friends and family meshed so well and we’ve even seen new friendships forming because of that trip. I had the best time ever and I wish we could do it all again. Maybe I can talk Mychael into inviting 75 of our closest family and friends on a trip to celebrate our first anniversary. 😉

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#38 Take an epic road trip

16 Sep

Being in a relationship means you have to make some compromises, and this becomes very apparent during the holidays. When I was single, I went home for every major holiday, but now with Mychael in the picture, he wants to spend some of them with his family as well…imagine that! So now it’s a trade-off and we spent Christmas 2017 in Indiana. We had a great time with his daughter and parents, and we even got some snow, which you don’t see in Sacramento.

Mychael, being the money-conscious adventurer he is, typically drives home for the holidays. He saves tons of money on flights and gets to stop and see new things on his way to Indiana. I’m usually more of a “let’s just get there” sort of girl, so I typically fly, but this last year my curiosity got to me and I decided to join Mychael for an epic road trip from Indiana to California.

I’d always loved the idea of a road trip, but that just wasn’t the way my family typically travelled. Fortunately, I had a pro taking me out on the road for this adventure.

The first day we drove and drove and drove. Most of the places we wanted to stop were a little further along the route, so we tried to knock out as many miles as possible that first day. We did make one pretty awesome stop at the largest truck stop in the world. It was actually impressive….they had everything, a doctor, a food court, and even a big rig INSIDE the building.

That day we made it all the way to Lincoln, Nebraska, but arrived in the middle of a snowstorm. We were driving at the same speed I run so we decided to call it a night and stay there. We found a cute restaurant for dinner and a nice little motel and once we weren’t driving in it we could appreciate how pretty the snow was.

The next day we got up early and hit the road for Wyoming. Neither of us had spent much time there, so we weren’t really sure what to expect. IMG_3222

We didn’t have time to go north to Jackson, so we ended up at the Terry Bison Ranch in Cheyenne. This place was so interesting. It felt a bit like a dude ranch mixed with a zoo of exotic animals. Not only did they have bison, but they also had camels, emus, lamas and ostriches, among other things. We rode a stuffed buffalo and jackalope, posed for photos in front of the western façade, met some animals and got some sweet t-shirts. We even saw a wedding. It was such a unique, fun stop.

Following that, we got back on the road and spent the night just outside Salt Lake City, Utah.

The next morning we were on a mission to find hot springs. Mychael is a hot springs expert so he already had one all planned out for us – Fifth Water Hot Springs. We could drive to the parking lot outside the hiking trail, hike two miles and get to a really beautiful springs. Well, when we arrived, part of the road was closed due to the snow, but we just went for it anyway…ended up being a six-mile hike each way. We didn’t really have the right shoes for such a long snow hike, and Mychael was of course in shorts, but we made it work.

And man, was it worth it. The hot springs were incredible. They were bright teal and turquoise and looked almost fake against the bright white snow. There were a surprising amount of people up there too, given how far the hike was. But hey, we all got our exercise for the day. We hung out for a while and made some new friends, then decided to make the trek back.

Following that, we had to make up some time so we did another long afternoon of driving to Nevada. That night we stayed at the scariest hotel I’ve ever been to in Wells. To be fair, it’s a really small town and there just aren’t a lot of options, but this was a run-down hotel that I’m pretty sure was used in a horror movie. We were so tired though that we just didn’t think about it and went to sleep.

The next morning we drove just out of town to the 12-Mile Hot Springs. This place was so cool that it was worth the creepy hotel stay. We drove down a deserted road, past a ghost town, out into the middle of nowhere.

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At one point the road got so bad that we couldn’t drive anymore, so we parked our car just randomly in the middle of a field and covered the rest on foot (Mychael, still in shorts of course).

The hike was nothing compared to the other day and when we got to the hot spring, there were only two people there who were leaving. This one was so different than what we had seen the day prior. It was in beautiful valley with nothing else around. We ended up having the springs all to ourselves for quite a while until we decided to get back on the road.

 

From there, we wrapped up our trip with a stop by my parents’ house in Sacramento to celebrate my dad’s birthday/New Year’s Eve.

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We had the best time on our road trip. Even the time we spent just driving in the car was a blast. Together, we have so much fun no matter what we’re doing. And I’m sold on this road trip thing. Can’t wait for the next one!

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#39 Find my Soul Mate, Fall in Love and Get Married–Part 1

16 Jan

Well obviously I can’t completely check this one off the list yet, but I’ve made a ton of progress. This is actually a really lofty, three-part goal, of which I’m two thirds of the way done, so I figured it was worth a shout out. As probably the most important item on the list (or perhaps tied with #40, but I’ll let you know about that when I get there), needless to say it has taken a lot of time. This is perhaps the reason I took a four-year hiatus from this whole blogging thing.

You may remember the cute trainer that was introduced while I was checking #4 off the list (run a 10K). Well, I bought a Groupon for bootcamp classes, set out to get in shape and run a fun little race, but ended up joining a triathlon team, finding my soul mate and switching some things up that would completely change the trajectory of my life.

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(Best triathlon coach award…yeah, I ordered that trophy)

Mind you, I didn’t know how to swim and only owned a beach cruiser, but that didn’t stop me. Workout all the time? Sure, trainer Mychael. Join a triathlon team and nearly drown on the first day of swim practice? No biggie, Mychael. Dedicate all my free time to a sport I’d never really heard of before? Whatever you say, Mychael. Love is weird like that…it makes you do crazy things and at the time they make total sense.

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I knew instantly that he was the one. My roommate at the time, Beatrice Guapo, can attest to that. We watched a video of Mychael online the day before my first bootcamp class and I told her I was going to date him (I obviously couldn’t have done this blog post back then…crazy girl alert!!).

Now on his end, it wasn’t so quick. It took a long, painful year for me to wear him down and convince him it was ok to date a client. That people wouldn’t think he was a sleazy trainer because well, everyone already thought we were dating anyway!

Separate from the love element though, meeting Mychael really was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I started really enjoying working out and built a strong professional interest in sports and fitness that has shaped both my career and personal life.

Fast forward five years and here we are. I’m happier than I ever dreamed I could be. It’s something that’s incredibly difficult to put into words, but Mychael makes every day a little bit better. He’s the only one that can make me smile in any situation…and he does.

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On Mychael’s 40th birthday, we went up to Tahoe with a group of his friends to celebrate. At the end of dinner one night he started giving a speech. I was so confused because that is really out of character. As he kept talking, he started describing the first time he said “I love you.” Giving a speech was odd, but now publicly speaking about mushy emotional stuff made me wonder who this stunt double was in Mychael’s place. It finally dawned on me (not until the ring was in my hand), that he was proposing. It was such an incredible moment…unforgettable.

I’ve always aspired to have a relationship like my parents…married over 40 years and still madly in love…grab a quick kiss in the kitchen sort of love (something I thought was so gross when I was a kid). My mom always told me that their love grew over the years and I shouldn’t expect to be that close to someone right away. Well, after a year as Mychael’s client and best friend, 5 years as his girlfriend and a few months as his fiancé, I have a good idea what she was talking about. I can’t wait to become Mrs. Shannon.

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To be continued…

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